I have fixed my garden up with compost in the rows garden clawed in, wood chips on the walkway surrounding the rows. And I am super satisfied. I am wondering why this isn't the standard for all gardens. I have had some squash plants die and while replacing them, within one crop rotation, I can't believe how this hard, clay N.C. soil turned into such a loamy soil with worms just by a decent layer of compost. I have a truck and buy both woodchips and compost by the truckload rather than bags(I'm sure something is lossed by both being bagged up). I am no expert but I highly recommend this system. I've been on the feed the soil, not the plants mindset and have been very happy with the results.
I'm thinking woodships help with weeds, splashback, water retention, naturally degrade and fix up soil. The compost does wonders, and a truckload of both was under 20$ each. I'm pretty sure that's a lot cheaper than fertilizer and does a lot more. And it looks great.
I'm just trying to spread the word of my recent success. My hard clay soil turned into quality loamy soil within months, and is only getting better.