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I'm in the (free) chips!

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I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby littleguns » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:02 pm

The power-line company hires a tree crew to come through the neighborhood every few years to clear trees and branches away from the lines. I got a load of chips dumped at my place Monday and another load today. Two loads will provide me with about five years of mulch if I keep the piles tarped. I usually put down newspaper, etc., on the ground, then cover it a few inches deep with chips. The chips pretty much eliminate weeding around tomatoes, squash, eggplants, peppers, peonies, cannas, etc., and they prevent having to walk around in mud between rows after it rains. They also are handy for keeping foot paths through the gardens free of mud and weeds. Chips are easy to till into the soil each spring. Yes, chips will take a little nitrogen out of the soil, but adding fertilizer is minor compared with fighting weeds spring through fall ;) .

What do you use, if anything, for mulch?
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby smugpug » Wed Jan 13, 2021 3:33 pm

Great! Had that done for me a couple of years ago.
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby mowmud » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:47 pm

Wood chips are good for what you describe. Do your best to make sure there is no Black Walnut chips in the load. They are not very conducive to growing things. Foot paths... great. Gardens... not so much. I agree with you about weeding.

I use carpeting. I started out just using the whole room sized piece with holes cut into it where I wanted to plant. I found out that the carpeting gets to heavy to manage after about two seasons. Now I cut strips about 16 inches wide. Easy to roll up and move with a wheelbarrow. I put it down with the bottom side up. Very limited weeds and during harvest you can walk around the garden in barefeet and not get your feet all mudded up.

The 16" widths let me use them in different ways besides having one big dedicated piece.
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby Alias » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:59 pm

I always use wood chips for mulching my garden. Twenty years ago I would use about 4 or 5 truckloads per year. But, that was when my garden was about 10 times larger than my current, pitifully small plot. So, now I usually go to the county dump and buy 3 standard 8 foot pickup loads of ideal compost at a cost of $10.00 per load. I'm sure each load is, at least, 1-1/2 cubic yards. For, the guys at the dump always heap it up to the top of my rear window. What I've found is the wood chip compost has been sufficiently aged and processed to the point it does not take hardly any nitrogen from the soil.

Happy gardening...........gfp
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby Randy » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:01 am

I go to my friends' horse farm and get his old manure/wood shavings mix.
Customers like it and it breaks down nicely.
Still a coup!e other customers have me get the bags of brown cedar mulch.
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby littleguns » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:30 am

Randy wrote:I go to my friends' horse farm and get his old manure/wood shavings mix.
Customers like it and it breaks down nicely.


I miss horse manure. I used to have plenty of horse, pony and goat manure, but I had to give up those pleasures when I moved from Iowa to Minnesota in the '80s. I found horses in particular to be a lot of work; I did my own hoof trimming, botting, etc. I sometimes consider getting goats again, and maybe a couple of donkeys and a few chickens, but then sanity kicks in and I move on :D .
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby littleguns » Thu Jan 14, 2021 6:43 am

mowmud wrote: Do your best to make sure there is no Black Walnut chips in the load. They are not very conducive to growing things. Foot paths... great. Gardens... not so much.


You're absolutely right about the toxicity of walnuts on some other plant species. The juglone is a killer for tomatoes, apples and who knows what else? I have quite a few black walnuts on my property and don't plant anything near them. (I lost a few trees and shrubs before I learned my lesson many years ago :( .) I do like to trim off a few three- or four-inch branches to set aside to dry for a year or two so I can turn them into long-gun forearms and handgun grips. I cut them into two-foot chunks and use candle wax on the cut ends to help prevent cracking as the chunks dry.

Unfortunately, when it comes to free chips I have to take what the tree-chipping guys deliver. I use it and take my chances. So far I haven't had a problem :) .
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Re: I'm in the (free) chips!

Postby Bamabear » Thu Jan 14, 2021 9:02 am

I wish I could find someone to dump several loads on my gardens,
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