Question Woodchip ground cover for veggie patch.

kaltemrix

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Hey all!

My fiance and are starting a project soon to transform one side of our house to into a full veggie patch. We have been stocking cardboard for ages to use as weed mat, and am planning on contacting some local tree loppers to see if they will dump a bunch of wood chip on my drive way to put on top of the cardboard.

My question is: Is there anything I should look out for when using woodchip as ground cover? Or is it likely going to no issue whatever it is? I don't really plan on using it in any raised garden bed we'll have in the area, it's basically just something instead of grass to walk on, with maybe a few stepping stones.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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The biggest issue here is that we struggle with termites. The more wood, the bigger an issue.
I've also heard that woodchip can deplete the nitrogen in soil as it decomposes.

Then again... if it's ised as a footpath rather than in a garden it shouldn't pose too much of an issue - I think.
I haven't ever used wood myself.
 

kaltemrix

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Good call on the termites! I think if I leave a buffer, say 6 inches between the mulch and the house I might be ok. Might use some recycled plastic garden edging to help enforce that buffer too, and use some dirt to fill in that gap.
 

AndrewB

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You need a non soil barrier between the grass & house, concrete ideally. Termites will go underground, then make mud tunnels up into the floor/walls.

It was something a building inspector told me to consider when looking for a house. He said that you end up with termite, moisture & mould issues if there is a garden up against the wall.

Woodchips work great as a walkway though, excellent at keeping weeds & grasses down if you use a nice thick layer. You also don't get muddy after a big downpour!
 

DThille

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Wood chip has spawned a movement in gardening - if I recall the name correctly, Back to Eden is a short film based around the gardening of Paul Gautschi using a thick wood chip mulch in his orchard and vegetable plot.

Regarding nitrogen depletion, I’d heard it occurs at a very thin layer at the soil / wood chip transition - in other words that it isn’t really an issue.

If you can get a thick enough layer of wood chip, cardboard doesn’t matter and some horticulturists recommend staying away from it. It may relate to the nature of a given climate - for cardboard to break down, moisture is required so in a drier environment it remains more of a barrier for longer.

If you are replacing lawn with garden, one good method is to rent a sod cutter to be able to lift the sod, then turn it over (green side down) and for the most part the grass will be smothered. If you mulch over top of that, you can have good success with killing the grass without chemical.

Good luck.
 

kaltemrix

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Did you end up using woodchips @kaltemrix ? And if so, what kind?
I'd love to see what it looks like if you did it! :D
Unfortunately not yet. The few tree lopping places near us wanted around $60 per m3 for the woodchip, which is on the cheaper end, but more than what I was expecting for something they're taking to the tip anyway. Maybe I need to rethink the value of it, I could be undervaluing it.

We have laid the cardboard down over the area to start the supression of grass and weeds. I'll reply with some photos when we get around to mulching. Still need to apply garden edging to the side of the house and fill with stones.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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Oh wow! much? I have to google..

We can buy a 70L pine bark mulch bag for less than $17 at Bunnings. They also do 1m3 for a $110 for landscapers or garden mulch, or $83 for black mulch. Kind of seems like you have a good deal up there now...
 

DThille

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In North America, there's a site / app called Chip Drop, which matches people looking for wood chip and arborists looking for places to drop it off...it's usually free as it saves the arborists the fees to dump. Perhaps there's something similar in Australia (he typed hopefully).
 
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