Yesterday we finally got to plant our vigorous tomato plants.
One trick that we have learned in the past is to plant them as deep in the ground as you can, it triggers the plant to produce more roots which helps the plant thrive. After all the tomatoes were in the soil we were thrilled. What made them look so good was the thick layer of wood chips on top of the beds that we planted them in. We finally took the leap and said forget it with the straw mulch that we had been using prior to the chips and used some extra energy to haul hardwood wood chips over to the garden from the Christmas tree farm.
Let me tell you why I love wood chips so much. First, it’s the very first method we learned to garden with a few years ago, so it made a huge impact on us. After using the wood chip method, we could compare with everything else. Wood chips actually are so great — they retain water when there isn’t enough, and expels water when there is excess. There’s no other mulch that I’ve tried can do. Chips are heavy enough that they don’t blow away in light breezes or wind storms. This is especially useful here on this farm which sits on the top of a hill, creating high winds almost everyday. Yet, chips are not so heavy that they create any compaction at all on the soil. For most common weeds, wood chips seem to be heavy enough to discourage growth and have been the best use of natural weed management we have used so far. Wood chips create such an amazing matted layer on top of the soil that it never dries out under them, therefore the need for water diminishes significantly. The matted layer also provides earthworms and a huge number of different microorganisms to thrive in the safe moist soil where they can be of huge benefit to the garden.