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Wood chips??? what to do with these?

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Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 10:43

I just picked up eleven 5 gal buckets of  what looks like fresh wood chips. (image attached)
I could get more if I would use them,
All are from local tree cuttings, cut and chipped in these powerful machines.
I have two  4 X 4 ft compost piles going, 1 will be ready soon, the other I'm still putting together.
I have a bunch of raised beds that will be used this spring..

After hearing al about these chips I would like to take advantage of them while available and ground is still frozen.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 13:13

Any suggestions, ? I just picked up 13 more buckets.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  sanderson on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 13:55

If I were you, I would run back to my good produce source. stop by Starbucks, beg for some manure, use some of my stored browns, and try a Berkeley hot compost. First pick out the largest sticks. Screen after resting, saving the chunkies for my next pile.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  camprn on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 14:06

Pile it and save it for mulch in the pathways. That's what I would do.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 14:59

@camprn wrote:Pile it and save it for mulch in the pathways. That's what I would do.
I cannot see myself using this for pathways, I use cedar chips in the large size for that.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 15:02

Sanderson
The pile I am starting is 1'2 fill of produce veggies, I have lots of coffee from Starbucks, next week getting horse and cow manure, fortunately I dont need to beg, al available here in our small town.
No sticks in it, picked out the small stuff, I have lots of leaves ready to go.
Berkley sounds very interesting, only thing is I'll wait for the ground to dry up a bit.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  sanderson on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 16:52

Do you have a 4 x 4 sheet of plywood to cover with plastic? Get it off the ground?

I just ran out of batch 2 of compost. Batch 3 can be screened, thank goodness. But I am going to have to do a Berkeley batch the minute DH gets the frames built, 3 x 3. Forget 4 x 4 in my back tiny yard!! Can I borrow some of your Horse manure?  Very Happy  I'm going to have to hit the year around Farmer's Market to see what I can scrounge. The summer ones have a lot of over ripe and wilted produce to donate.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 17:37

Sanderson
are there no horse stables in your area. I have one that has a mountain of old manure. Takes a truck to get to it, I use the recent stuff.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  camprn on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 17:49

I cannot imagine the west without horses.
Fresno horse stables.
http://www.yellowpages.com/fresno-ca/horse-stables

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  meatburner on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 17:58

jimmy cee, what are you thinking you might want to do with it?  Mulch, pathways, maybe a back to eden bed somewhere?

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  Marc Iverson on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 18:48

I would compost it over the winter, to whatever extent it wanted to compost, and use it as mulch over the garden beds in the spring once plants are well-established. Where I live, though, we just had the hottest, driest summer in over 20 years -- actually, ever recorded, if I recall correctly. So saving water via mulching makes huge sense to me. If you don't have that kind or degree of problem, you might not value its use as garden mulch nearly so much.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  sanderson on Thu 16 Jan 2014 - 22:14

@camprn wrote:I cannot imagine the west without horses.
Fresno horse stables.
http://www.yellowpages.com/fresno-ca/horse-stables

I was just making a joke.  What a Face  May try CSU Fresno Ag Dept. Anyone know anything about Bot fly intestinal larva. I know horses accidentally ingest the eggs.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  southern gardener on Fri 17 Jan 2014 - 8:05

Jimmy, are they plain wood chips or do they have fresh leaves in them? Hard to tell in the pic, if there are LOTS of fresh leaves, hop on over the the Back to Eden thread and see if that interests you. We are having really good results with it. If they are just wood chips, I'd do what others recommend and get them composting. Looks like a good source of carbon........ Good luck!!

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Fri 17 Jan 2014 - 18:58

SG
Thanks, I see no leaves. fresh or otherwise in it. I am going to do the Berkley method as soon as I gather all the manures. In the mean time I'll just keep getting the chips.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Sat 18 Jan 2014 - 12:44

All I could get my for first batch of woodchips was pretty much pure wood.  I didn't pick it up, a paid helper did and they even had a lot of chipped up construction debris lumber.  I went ahead and used them, putting down 2 inches of compost and composted manure mixed together and 4 inches of the woodchips.  I moved it all aside to plant and replaced as the plants grew.  By keeping things moist, in just months they had composted in place around my SFG.  The chips mixed with greenery are best - but it worked amazingly well even with the "wrong" product.  

I created new beds in previously uncultivated, really awful areas of my garden by doing the same, 2 inches of good compost and composted manure, (under it all would have been newspaper if it was a weedy area, but it wasn't) and then put 4-6 inches of woodchips and watered it consistently to begin the break down process.  After a couple of months, I planted 4-6" pot sized seedlings in the beds.  They went nuts and I had great crops from everything I planted in them.  

For spring I'll add more manure on top of the chips and water it in well.  If the chips are getting thin I'll add another layer.  Eventually new chips will only be needed every few years.  

I have a good sized mountain of chips now in my pasture.  I use them for my browns when needed in my compost tumbler or when I'm doing a Berkeley method hot compost.  Freshly chipped from my chipper shredder works amazingly well for B method hot composting.  

The BTE thread in "non-SFG Gardening" has a lot of pictures, ideas and results if you have the time to go read it.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 4:46

Need to make sure I can use these to cover MM around my plants ?
Maybe 2-3 inches I'm planning

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  camprn on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 5:08

Jimmy, what is your reason for using a mulch? My answer may be different depending your reasoning.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/715.html

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  H_TX_2 on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 8:06

@camprn wrote:Jimmy, what is your reason for using a mulch? My answer may be different depending your reasoning.

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/715.html

That site says:
Do not use wood or bark chips in the growing beds since they will interfere with future seedbed preparation.  It takes several years for chips to decompose in the soil. 

When placed on the soil surface as mulch, wood/bark chips do not tie-up soil nitrogen.



It would seem like they are talking about putting down the wood chips and then leaving them in place. The wood mulch will not tie up nitrogen like some people claim. I would think you can use these in your raised beds as a mulch if you plan on removing them before each planting. My plan is to use large pine bark chips for mulch and at the end of the season remove the wood chips to add to the MM and then add the wood chips back to the bed. I think they went a little overboard buy saying "Do not use wood or bark chips in the growing beds." Maybe they are talking about larger row type gardens and in that case it would be a hassle to add, remove and then add the chips back to the planting area. For SFG purposes only I would say they are giving bad advice. Please let me know if I am not thinking about this correctly or if I am missing something.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  Yardslave on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 8:31

I have used wood chips for years as a top mulch in my beds to retain moisture. They don't seem to leach out any nutrients and do break down. The only chips I wouldn't use are walnut, redwood, and eucalyptus, as they have a chemical in them that suppress growth in other plants. I have used those chips in areas I don't want to bother weeding, and they work well for that purpose.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  camprn on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 8:51

Certainly everyone is entitled to their opinion. Then there are scientific facts.

Jimmy, what are you trying to achieve with using the mulch in the SFG beds?
http://www.ext.colostate.edu/mg/gardennotes/245.html

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 11:16

Mainly for cover, heat prevention, water retention, etc.
I wasn't planning on mixing the MM with the chips, will remove what I can before adding any compost or after season's over.
I used shredded newspaper last year and it worked fine.... Rolling Eyes ...I suppose I got the chips kick from watching
back to eden, after all I think it was a very powerful program.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 19:19

When using wood chips in a BTE style garden (or as mulch in the SFG) it's important that they are defined accurately.  They are not bark chips or wood ground up from tree trunks or branches over 3 inches.  It is the Ramiel branches (young branches less than 3 inches in diameter and including the leaves).  These chips break down much more rapidly and have a different chemical structure to them.

I use them on my SFG table tops as water retention and keeping them cooler in the summer.  It's not hard to remove the chips in a square before mixing in the compost and planting.  I have a bucket under the TT just for this purpose.  If I'm planting seeds in place I leave those chips in the bucket and add them as the seedlings get started.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  jimmy cee on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 19:34

Audrey
I really don't know anything about these wood chips other than they were easily accessible, I had permission to take what I wanted. and they looked nice.
Your telling me , if they come from the tree trunk their no good to use as mulch on my SFG beds ?
Using them on top for only a cover seems ok to me...
Well then how about using them in my compost pile ?
They gotta be good for something..

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 19:57

@jimmy cee wrote:Audrey
I really don't know anything about these wood chips other than they were easily accessible, I had permission to take what I wanted. and they looked nice.
Your telling me , if they come from the tree trunk their no good to use as mulch on my SFG beds ?
Using them on top for only a cover seems ok to me...
Well then how about using them in my compost pile ?
They gotta be good for something..
I'm sorry, I didn't make myself clear. Had a tough day with my dad in the hospital for a quadruple bypass.

I didn't mean you couldn't use them for the purpose you're wanting them for. It isn't that they're "no good" just that they are different than the other wood that is recommended for the BTE style gardening. Wood bark breaks down really slowly (which could be a benefit depending on what you're wanting to accomplish with it) and isn't recommended when you're considering using it as part of your organic matter that will be slowly incorporated into your garden.

Almost anything will eventually break down into compost. It's just how long it takes. My first load that I used for mulch was bought by someone else who wasn't very careful. I could tell that it had chipped 2x4s in it. Amazingly however, it broke down very quickly in my bed and I actually needed to add some more mulch by the end of the summer.

I'm sure what you have will very adequately do the job for you.

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Re: Wood chips??? what to do with these?

Post  FamilyGardening on Tue 25 Feb 2014 - 20:31

Jimmy....could you pour some of those woodchips out of the bucket and onto the ground or cement? to get a good look at what the mixture of your woodchips is  Very Happy give us a close up look  Very Happy 

with the BTE method a lot of things can be used as a cover over the soil/MM  You can use it the same way as you did shredded paper.....you can also use leaves. woodchips, grass and even stones....the purpose of covering is to help with retaining water, keeping the soil cool or warm and keeping it from blowing away.....

most of those covering I listed above will decompose, but at different rates

using woodchips like audery suggested "young branches less than 3 inches in diameter and including the leaves" will break down faster and the green material like leaves and pine needles will break down even faster feeding the soil.....just like leaves and cut grass....they break down and feed the soil, but you do have to keep applying it to the garden.....

BTE method is more like laying down the covering but not removing it....its layering over layering.....

but...woodchips work well for mulching too and you can remove them to plant and then add them again.....I just don't see this type of method....the same as the BTE method....just happens for us that the woodchips we use in our BTE garden is great to use as  mulch in our other beds....

hope that helps
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