In our permaculture garden, we are adopting natural, eco-friendly techniques to help our plants thrive. Vegetables and shrubs need well-hydrated, nutrient-rich soil, but bare soil can get damaged by a number of factors, such as persistent weeds, direct sunlight and drying winds. Organic mulch made from wood chips is a great solution, safe for the environment and easy to make at home.
Why should I use mulch in my garden?
Mulch is a thick layer of material placed over the soil and around plants. This extra layer of protection will suppress weeds and lock-in moisture, whilst reducing erosion from the natural elements. Organic mulches also contain natural nutrients, which plants will benefit from, and while they’re breaking down they attract beetles, worms and other soil invertebrates, which provides food for birds.
What’s more, making your own mulch from wood chips is a great way to use up discarded branches, fallen trees and other pieces of wooden material that has fallen in and around the garden. Although it may seem like a big job to begin with, applying mulch can save time in the long run by reducing time spent weeding, watering, fertilising, and controlling pests. Use wood chip mulch in the vegetable garden, around spring bulbs, under fruit trees as an attractive top dressing.
How do I make it?
Making wood chip mulch takes just a couple of hours, here’s how:
Find your wood source or gather loose pieces of wood into small piles and be sure to remove any rocks as you go. Recently we’ve been mulching a tree that fell down a couple of years ago– the wood inside has started to rot, which means its full of nutrients and perfect for the vegetable garden.
You’ll need a wood chipper, or if you don’t have one you can usually rent one from a hardware store (or borrow from a friend).
After reading the instructions, and putting on the safety glasses, feed in the wood to start mulching.
When your mulch is ready, prepare the plant beds by clearing away any weeds, sticks, and other debris from the soil and smoothing it out with a rake.
Now add an even layer of around 2 to 3 inches below your plants, using a rake to distribute evenly. Spray with a thin layer of water to help it stay in place.
Tip: Beneficial times to mulch are spring and autumn, topping up in-between if needed
How does it help the Planet?
Creating organic mulch from materials in your garden, as opposed to buying inorganic mulch, will create a healthier ecosystem that is more beneficial for your garden. Some types of inorganic mulch can disintegrate into the soil, heat up the planting area and potentially leak harmful chemicals into the soil.
Our vegetables are thriving and have really benefited from the wood chip mulch we applied in the Spring. This season, our guests will enjoy carrots, potatoes, nuts and preserved fruits, all grown in our permaculture garden.
Join us on our sustainability journey as we step up our efforts to counter the climate emergency. You’ll find us at home, in the garden, in our chalets and just about everywhere behind the scenes as we get our hands dirty and get practical about saving the planet. As we hone our skills on sustainable living, we will be sharing what we learn on our Instagram/Facebook feed and here on our blog.