• Manisha Lath Gupta

Soil Management in Permaculture: Wood Chip Farming

Updated: Apr 12

It was time to plant the peanuts/groundnut - and I had read so much about wood chip farming. Specially watching the film Back to Eden really inspired me to experiment with wood chip farming, just the way its done in the movie. I decided to run a large scale (and expensive) experiment to demonstrate to the farm help that crops can be grown this way. We already had a large stash of wood chips which had been ordered to mulch the tree saplings. All we needed was old newspapers and some vermi compost. I guess any manure would have done, but we had access to good vermi compost, so decided to order that instead.

On the field where we were planning to plant the groundnut, we spread out the newspaper first. A couple of sheets and immediately poured vermi compost onto it, so that the newspapers won't fly away. With a rake we spread the compost all over, making a fine layer.

newspaper for farming

Then we added the wood chips on top of this compost. Again with a rake, we spread it evenly all over the surface. About 4-5 inches in thickness.

wood chip farming

Took us 2-3 days to complete the entire patch - which was about 1000 square yards in size.

wood chip farming

In the photo below, you can see the contrast between the bare soil, and the wood chip field we had now built. It was almost like applying a band aid on the surface of the exposed damaged soil.

wood chip mulching

With the help of a rope, we marked out a straight line, and with a rake made furrows on the wood chips.

planting groundnut

Into this furrow we dropped the seeds of groundnuts. And then covered them up with the wood chips.

planting groundnut

Then we gently watered the field. Okay so the advantage of planting like this is as follows: