We’ve had something of a breakthrough in the vegetable garden this season thanks to a friend who visited in the Spring expounding the virtues of mulching with fresh wood chip.
We soon managed to track down a local arborist who could supply us with a truckload of shredded willow and cherry prunings.
Used as a deep mulch, sometimes with a sprinkling of blood and bone, or some old sheep manure underneath, the wood chips seem to have kept they plants warm and protected earlier in the season, and they are certainly helping to keep the soil moist through the summer.
Everything is thriving. My previous attempts at melons have yielded a few tennis-ball-sized fruits. The plant photographed has eight melons, the largest is almost the size of a rugby ball, and still not ripe!
Here’s an interesting article on using wood chip for mulching.