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Re: Garden paths

  • Subject: Re: [cg] Garden paths
  • From: Alliums <garlicgrower@snip.net>
  • Date: Fri, 11 Jan 2002 09:18:56 -0500

Elmer wrote:

>Be aware that wood chips do require considerable nitrogen in their biological 
>deterioration. Some are reluctant to use inorganic nitrogen sources to 
>supplement this need and therefore this may not be a viable alternative. 

In our experience, as long as you aren't putting the wood chips on a growing
plant area, life will be just fine.  Placing cardboard or newspaper under
the wood chip area prevents weeds if you're gardening in a place that was
abandoned and well-filled with those nice ragweed and lamb's quarter's seeds
that are viable for 20+ years (seriously!).

You can add nitrogen by adding manure to be tilled in when you plow,
encouraging gardeners to pour "household liquid activator" (ie, human urine)
on their wood chip paths (the human kidney filters out everything but
viruses and if your gardeners are meat eaters, not only do they add
nitrogen, but they "scent mark" their territory which keeps other mammals
out of their plots) or by cover cropping after fall tillage.

There can be *nasty* inorganic things in carpet and they seem to attrach
mice/voles.  I'd use the wood chips which may take up some nitrogen when
they break down, but do ultimately give it back to the garden.  If you get
older wood chips, much of the nitrogen debt has already been taken care of
and won't interfere with your plants.  OTOH, fresh wood chips release
tannins that are harmful to slugs -- if you have a slug problem and add
nitrogen under the wood chips in planting areas, it might be worth the effort.

Organic gardening is all about options! ;-D

Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John's United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden

A mission of 
St. John's United Church of Christ, 315 Gay Street, Phoenixville, PA  19460

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