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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have You Made This Common Garden Mistake?

I added wood chips to my food forest garden as mulch.

I thought they would build up the soil and keep in moisture.

My friend Rebecca who has a really wonderful food garden told me I had made a common garden mistake.

The wood chips would leach valuable nutrients from my soil and stop the plants being adequately feed.

What to do?

Rebecca gave me a plan.

First I was to saturate the soil with seaweed emulsion.

I headed down to the local garden store and found that seaweed emulsion in the containers you attach to your hose was not expensive.

The garden was given a good soaking with this container attached to my hose connection.

Next I put compost on top of the garden areas covered in wood chips.

Another watering to activate the compost and and then banana leaves from Rebecca's own tree were placed on top of the compost areas to protect while my soil was strengthened.

Finally I added a bag of leaves from Rebecca's garden on top of the banana leaves to make them more stable and hosed everything one last time.

My neat garden has gone but lots of rich soil is underway to nourish and feed my wonderful food plants. 


Yael Ben-Ari said...

You are so right about nutrients being leached. Actually, it is mostly nitrogen. Almost anything rich in nitrogen could counteract the effects of the wood chips. I have used alfalfa meal or pellets in the past over the leaves I let lay in fall to counteract this effect. But the seaweed emulsion sounds like a good idea too and it is liquid. Still those wood chips make a nice, attractive mulch. In a way, you can have your cake and eat it too, by counteracting the effects of the high carbon content of the chips with the seaweed emulsion.

Yael from Home Garden Diggers

Autumn Belle said...

Good tips and valuable information about soil enrichment.