It’s been a few weeks since the first seeds where planted after the wood chips went down so here’s an update.
Planting in wood chips in not easy. You cannot plant in the chips directly so they have to be pushed aside to reveal the dirt underneath. Seeds like squash and pumpkin will be easy to plant as you only need one seed every few feet so taking up the wood chips for that is little effort. However, for most seeds that are laid in a trench (carrots, beets and greens for example), it’s a different story. After a few months the chips will have compacted a little, especially if you don’t have paths laid out to walk on, and have been walking on the chips instead. Digging up those trenches is tough. I did the best I could to scoop out the chips, then used some wooden boxes I’d built to help shape the trenches for the seeds. Once they were planted, the boxes were removed and the chips held their shape fairly well, not falling back over the seeds.
I’ve since read that this problem is not as bad if you put down already composted chips. That’s great if you have the room to house a mulch pile, but on my East Nashville plot, I don’t so this will have to do. Over time as the chips composts and a new thinner layer is spread on top every year or so, it should get easier.
Despite the difficulty with planting at the moment, I don’t for one minute regret putting it down. The extra effort is far outweighed by the lack of weeding. Everything that grew well in the unmulched soil is doing equally well in the mulch – so far. I did wonder how the strawberries would fair since they transplant themselves but they all look healthier than ever.