Going Back For More Wood Chips - Late Summer 2020
Back in April, I posted about how I had started to go over to the Downers "mulch pit" with some buckets and my pitchfork and bringing home about 1/3rd of a yard of arborist wood chips a couple of times per week. At that time, I was mostly stuck at home due to COVID, so I had the time. And, I had a huge part of our far backyard that I had never mulched. These wood chips seemed like a good idea to cover some of that soil, provide a little bit of mulch and potentially create a base upon which I could cover with higher quality mulch.
I ended up doing a big section across the back of my yard, but after getting that *mostly* done, Spring had arrived and I switched my attention to other parts of the yard. I also had 12 yards of hardwood fines premium mulch delivered that covered the rest of my yard. (Note to self: 12 yards wasn't enough for my yard.)
Well...guess what? COVID is still here. And I'm still *mostly* stuck around the house with time. For me, August and September are gardening months that are mostly about survival, watering and starting to clean up.
So, that means that my thoughts drifted back to wood chips. I came across the Gardening Channel with James Prigioni on YouTube and watched his wood chips videos. This one, below, is what made me put the buckets back in the car and head back to the "mulch pit".
The dude is fun to watch. I've watched a bunch of his other videos and they're all interesting. He's a wood chip guy for his "food forest" - but I don't have one of those. Also, he's since moved to raised beds instead of directly in chips. But, his advice still applies for me. I'm not looking to grow food on the beds that I'm covering in wood chips. Rather, I'm just looking to lay down some mulch to layer over the bare dirt, get a little bit of beneficial fungus to enrich my soil or to provide some protection for some of my wood perennials as we head into Winter.
Here, below is my haul. This is what I'm able to bring home each time I go and equates to nine cubic feet - or about 1/3rd of a yard. I don't fill the big garbage can up all the way because it gets too heavy for me to lift.
The arborist chips that you can pick up (for free) are a blend of wood, leaves, needles and twigs. In the Spring, I was trying to avoid the piles that had a lot of non wood chips (like...they had needles and leaves present). According to James Prigioni, it turns out that you really WANT that stuff in there. A nice blend of carbons and nitrogens will help speed breakdown.
I'm still not going to put this stuff down in my front yard. But, I'm going to finish up the parts of my hard that are still bare dirt. And, I'm going to build a little stockpile of these wood chips so when Fall comes and I want to mulch-in some things, I'll have enough on hand to protect some young trees and shrubs.