Question about wood chips in vegetable garden.

Asked November 5, 2018, 12:10 AM EST

Hi! I recently had a few pine tree stumps ground down so we can replant grass. This produced a fair amount of pine wood chips, and lots of dirt with some wood chips mixed in the dirt. I have sorted out the majority of the wood chips, and burned them. But the wood chips that are mixed in with the dirt are impossible to sort out. This mixture is mostly dirt by far, but there are a fair amount of pine wood chips scattered throughout the dirt. I am thinking of spreading this dirt/chip mixture out on our vegetable garden and tilling it in. We live in the Red River Valley, south of Glyndon MN. Our garden is large (75 X 75 feet) and is very nice, soft, and fertile. I don't want to do anything that would damage the garden. Do you think it would damage our garden to have these pine wood chips decaying in the garden for a few years? I would appreciate your thoughts and expertise. Thank you. --

Clay County Minnesota

1 Response

Nitrogen depletion will be a temporary problem is fresh wood chips are incorporated into the soil. Fresh chips as a surface mulch cause nitrogen depletion at the soil surface. Because of this, and the general coarseness of wood chips, they probably are best not used around vegetables. Although wood mulches aren’t used much in vegetable gardens, they can be used around perennial vegetables such as asparagus or rhubarb.