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Using woodchip for compost / no dig.

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  • Using woodchip for compost / no dig.

    Afternoon,

    I took on a plot last year with the aim of converting it to no dig over time. I didn't have the materials to do it straight away but since then have collected piles of all sorts. 4 year old donkey manure (a full tipper truck full), horse manure and made about a cubic meter of compost. I also got an absolute huge pile of woodchip with leaves in it at the beginning of summer. It got so hot that smoke (well maybe steam) was coming off it. I've used a fair bit for paths but have had a big pile sat there for about 6 months.
    Can I use this as is for my no dig beds? Or add it to make compost with all the greens I have from the crops though there is way too much for this, i would need alot more greens. Could collect leaves I guess and mix with loads of that.

    Ta,
    Si

  • #2
    Hi Si,
    Are you doing no-dig by adding a layer of compost over the top or creating a no-dig lasagne bed?
    Woodchip on it's own can be a cause of nitrogen depletion if not well composted down, and I doubt it will be after 6 months (although steam means it was composting well), you are best placed to tell, does it look like compost or wood chips
    If composted well then it would be fine as the covering on a no-dig bed.
    If not then it would be Ok as one of the lower layers in a lasagne bed. Or you could add to an existing compost heap or leave as is for another 6 months or so to break down further.
    Leaves are usually kept separate as they break down in a different way.

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    • #3
      It's defo still kinda wood chip in the middle. It was defo very hot, far too hot to put your hand in. My plan was a normal 6 inch layer of mulch on each bed. Probably the top 2 inches being compost or well rotted manure.

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      • #4
        If it were me I would do it the other way round, manure grows weeds and wood chip doesn’t. It will break down over time.
        Gardening requires a lot of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. Lou Erickson, critic and poet

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        • #5
          I think wood chip needs 2 years in contact with soil to break down enough not to be a nitrogen sink. Keep the pile and maybe throw grass cuttings over it as and when to add nitrogen. Perhaps by the end of next year or spring 2021 it will be lovely.

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          • #6
            My woodchip goes under hedges as a mulch it ends up working with the leaf mold into compost, but it takes a couple of years.
            If I'm not on here, I'm probably fishing.

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            • #7
              I'll leave it another year then. Can certainly add vast quantities of grass cuttings if needed.

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