Apparently, woodchips seem to be the big thing for gardeners and growers these days. We started out with a small garden grinder that only accepted twigs and quickly found out that it was not sufficient for a garden our size. It took us several days to produce a small heap of woodchips that barely covered a small piece of ground.
Discovering our needs
A neighbour lent us his wood chipper, which did a much better job, and we were impressed by how fast it produced a huge pile. The woodchips were perfect and I declared I wanted something similar. However, Frank wanted a machine he could attach to the tractor, and we ended up ordering a woodchipper from Poland. It is a powerful machine that can chew thick branches. To begin with I thought the wood chips were too big, but the number of trees it can chew through in a matter of hours is impressing.
We have laid out a grid for the vegetable patch, which is separated by wide paths that we have chosen to cover in wood chips. In addition to that, we use woodchips to cover the ground around trees and shrubs. Moreover, since runner grass is a big challenge and almost impossible to get rid of, we have found out that covering the ground with cardboard topped with woodchips helps supress grass and weed growth, and prepare the ground for growing vegetables. All in all, that means that we need a huge amount of woodchips.
The Benefit of Good Neighbours
Although half of our plot is forest and many of the trees are mature enough for harvesting, we’ve decided to leave the trees standing. That means we don’t have enough material for wood chips in our own forests. Luckily for us, many of our neighbours have taken down their trees and allowed us to use the tops and branches for wood chips. They’ve also permitted us to take out deciduous trees to allow more light into the spruce forests.
Our huge need for woodchips means we have to spend time in the forest, cutting trees and grinding wood chips. As long as we don’t get too much snow, it is a fine autumn and winter activity. However, it is hard also work and is great whenever friends can come and help us out.