Permaculture, a philosophy rooted in sustainability and working with nature, often involves utilizing the resources readily available in your environment. In the world of market gardening and sustainable agriculture, wood plays a significant role, serving as a valuable resource for various applications.
Wood Chips as a Valuable Resource
The principles of permaculture emphasize the creation of fertility and resources using what’s naturally available. For many growers, wood is an abundant resource that can be found right on their properties. Once transformed into wood chips, you end up with a high-carbon value mulch. Use it for a crop or for your aisles and you’ll build soil while preventing weeds and soil humidity loss!
Wood Chips as a Permaculture Amendment
The wood chips aren’t just any chips; they are Ramial wood chips. They serve as lignin-rich carbon material, creating a fertile environment for fungi. Fungi, in turn, contribute to the enhancement of the soil’s overall health and vitality.
The Wood Harvest Cycle
To understand the significance of this approach, it’s crucial to consider the timing of wood harvest. In our case, we have an abundance of aspen trees and these fast-growing pioneer trees produce small three-inch shreds of wood that can be harvested annually. We recommend cutting hardwood trees in the spring when they are actively growing and putting energy into the top branches and leaves. This is the ideal time to make renewable wood chips. This process is not only sustainable but also aligns perfectly with the permaculture principle of working with nature’s cycles. The magic happens when these wood shreds are transformed into wood chips using a chipper.
Closing the Sustainability Loop
What makes this approach truly remarkable is its integration with a low-tech machine—the BCS walk-behind tractor. The BCS, combined with a wood chipper attachment, allows for the efficient transformation of local resources into valuable soil amendments. This aligns with the overarching permaculture goal of self-sufficiency and closing the sustainability loop.
Check out JM Fortier using his woodchipper
A Holistic Approach to Agriculture
While the use of wood chips in the market garden is undoubtedly beneficial, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. In permaculture and sustainable agriculture, success comes from a holistic approach that includes efficient nursery practices, greenhouse management, seeding, cultivating, and marketing. Wood chips, in this context, are the cherry on top—an opportunity to enhance soil health and productivity further.
The story of harnessing wood chips and wood splitters in permaculture highlights the ingenuity of permaculturists in utilizing local resources for sustainable and regenerative agriculture. It serves as a powerful reminder that our connection to the land and the resources it offers can be not only economically and ecologically sound but also emotionally enriching. As permaculturists continue to explore innovative ways to work with nature, the possibilities for sustainable agriculture are endless.