Posted: 06/12/2014 at 15:46
Absolutely true Verdun which is why you would scatter inorganic fertiliser before covering the ground with wood chips, shavings, sawdust, none of which I would use. Tried it all over the years found it wanting and use only home made compost now, it tidies the bed up feeds the plants in a light more controlled way and the little Jack Russell from next door keeps my garden free of cats. We all have our own experience and mine tells me wood in any form does nothing for my patch. When my Son started to bed the horses down with sawdust instead of straw he wondered why I spent time separating the muck from the wood and then added it slowly to the compost heaps, the straw is now back and the wood in chips is burned in the furnace that heats the farm, best place for it.
Hester had you lost a lot of seedlings to damp off you would know fine grit is the answer, it keeps the seedling dry adds to the drainage allowing excess water to drain off and is not really just for pot decoration. I dress all my seed trays with it and the fresh young seedlings push through it, like babies they are tougher than we think as long as we keep them warm and dry. Sand Gravel and Rock have been quarried for thousands of years, I cannot see what difference we would make not using it after all they banned the gardeners friend Peat and yet we can still import it from the old eastern block of Europe after taking the living away from our own peat diggers? The mix of soil and grit from all the trays and pots after use is spread on the garden to lighten the soil and give better drainage, it does work after many years of doing that.