Winter Mulching

My neighbor tells me winter is the time to rest, but all this warm weather has me itching to get out and get my hands in the dirt.

We recently got a notice from Duke that they needed to repair a pole on the edge of our property, which would require some brush cutting to access. I immediately asked my husband to call and request they leave the wood chips. I was so excited to come home to a big heap of fresh, untreated chips.

About half the pile left after mulching my front bed paths

I love fresh wood chips because all that’s in them is wood – no worry of weird chemicals or weed seeds. They work wonderfully for mulching pathways.

The last two weekends I’ve been chugging away at the task of lining pathways with cardboard (check your local appliance seller for a dumpster full of huge boxes!) then topping with chips. This is a perfect winter task to help head off spring weeds.

I’m also working on lining my growing beds with straw. I wish I’d done this in the fall to keep the soil covered all winter but I didn’t. Better late than never, right?

I have one section at the back of the garden, by the railroad, that’s pretty shaded by the trees growing on the RR berm and also has a lot of rock debris that has slid down into it. I decided to just give this over to non-growing spaces since nothing ever does well here. I designated one spot for a table to enjoy meals in the garden and another for a rabbit hutch to collect fertilizing pellets – more on that later!

If you’re looking for a source for free wood chips in your area, I just heard about a site where you can register and local arborists will let you know when they are in the area and have chips to drop. Most people get a load delivered in a week or less!

What does your garden look like now? What projects do you save for winter?

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