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Alternative to wood chip

Hi guys,

For the past 2 seasons Ive had wood chip around my raised veg beds (at the time my neighbour was a tress surgeon!). However I cant seem to get any wood chip free (Ive asked various local tree surgeons but so far Ive not got anywhere) and I refuse to buy expensive woodchip in bags from B&Q etc...

As you can see, its now decomposed wood chip, mud and weeds.

Is there an alternative to woodchip I coud use? Or should I just leave it as it is?



  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 2,944
    I think it will depend on you........if you want a clean surface where you need to walk on to tend your raised beds, then perhaps some decent weed membrane and gravel over it.
    If you only want access at certain points, use the membrane to put the odd paving slab/stepping stone where needed. Strategically placed pots of flowers would perhaps brighten it up a bit.
    If you aren't too worried about direct access and are prepared to step/walk over vegetation, use it as a border for perennials or annuals..
  • Hmm. If I leave it as an inevitable mass of weeds, will that then mean more weeds in my veg beds? (thats probably a silly question).
    Perhaps Ill look for some cheap bags of gravel. I see them quite often discounted at B&Q etc
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,134
    A bulk bag from a builder's merchant would be cheaper than any DIY outlet, I should think.  :)
    The odd bag is ok from them, but they tend to be very expensive by comparison. 
    Bark might be another solution. You can often get that in bulk, although it will also break down over time. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,186
    I think gravel is probably your best option. Buy the cheapest when it's on special offer and apply it thickly.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • I suppose putting weed killer down is a no-no? Even though it wouldnt be in contact with the veg beds?
  • Probably, it's not the best choice, but you can be a tree surgeon yourself. How far do you live from the forest? Are there any branches and wood waste? It’s easy to grind them up with a splitting axe or maul like this and get what you needed

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,149
    We have found it much cheaper to buy by the small truck load.  Chappy delivers it and pours the pile out the back for us to spread as needed.  If you go for larger grade bark chips they will break down much more slowly than the whole wood chippings you get from a tree surgeon's shredder. 

    The alternative is to fit a weed-proof membrane and put on a decent layer of smooth gravel as and when you can afford it.   Again, it's cheaper in bulk from a builders' supplier than in bags from a DIY or GC.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
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