Full Member
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:19 pm
Location: North Carolina 7B

Compost and wood chips, great results

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.

Greener Thumb
Posts: 933
Joined: Tue Feb 16, 2016 2:21 pm
Location: Zone 7A - Philadelphia, PA

Re: Compost and wood chips, great results

Glad to hear of your success.
A lot of folks are doing what you have done.

My new standard has been,
1) nothing is removed from the beds during the growing season, within reason, all trimmings are dropped where they are cut. This includes leaves, grass clippings and trimmings from my shrubs
2) Inter cropping with other veggies and cover crops like clover.
3) weeds are allowed to grow, then chopped and dropped before they go to seed.
4) Veggies that go to seed are allowed to flower then chopped and dropped.
5) Trench composting during the growing season also seems to be working well.
6) End of season, chop and drop plants, add compost, plant cover crops.
7) No till
EIGHT) no store bought fertilizers in the raised beds.
9) source amendments locally or make on site, do not purchase bagged materials. I make potash, compost and Bio-char. I also recycle cardboard by running through a shredder for mulch during the growing season.

then come spring, compost is added and we start all over again

The only thing I do outside of this is with a few of my potted plants and aquaponics veggies, is I add a bit of 10-10-10 or osmocote twice a season.

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25303
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

Re: Compost and wood chips, great results

My kind of gardener, SQWIB.

Since I have such relatively small amount of garden space, mostly all in 4x8' beds, I have never done cover crops, just keep everything well mulched.
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: Facebook page I manage for them: Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7480
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: Northern Utah Zone 5

Re: Compost and wood chips, great results

Brettmm92. Thank you for sharing your story. It is always interesting to see what is working for others.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Posts: 11275
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Compost and wood chips, great results

Thanks Brettmn92 and SQWIB for the helpful tips.
I have done trench composting in the past. We are trench composting now. It will be about 5-6 month before we will be able to plant the bed. Our first trench composted bed took 5 months to mature. We grew chard and lettuce and everything looked great.

The second bed was smaller and did not decompose as quickly. We are still waiting to plant. However there were squash and papaya seeds in the compost as well as a few sweet potatoes. They all started growing on top of the compost so they were chopped and added to the compost pile. Except the sweet potatoes, they were attacked by wire worms.

I have done green manures of cowpeas, sun hemp, and buckwheat. The buckwheat and quinoa can only be grown in the early months of the year. They don't like it when it is warmer. Cowpeas and sunhemp can be grown later and sunhemp can be grown almost anytime of the year. Sunhemp and pigeon peas though are hard to dig out unless you are doing no till.

I do till in crop residues but I don't leave too many leaves on the ground. If I have good leaves then, I do trench compost them instead or feed them to the worms. I usually cannot save weeds because they have gone to seed and a few of them will come back from a slip or piece of root that is left behind. I even had bougainvillea grow from a cut off stump rolling on the ground.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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