My guest this week is Ben Raskin, the Soil Association’s Head of Horticulture and Agroforestry. Ben is the author of several books on gardening, including Zero-Waste Garden and The Community Gardening Handbook. His latest book is ‘The Woodchip Handbook’, which I was very excited to read and even more excited to speak with Ben about, because I’ve long been a fan of using wood chip in the garden. 

In the interview, we cover the many uses for woodchip in the garden, how it can help with plant and soil health, what sort of wood makes good chip and the do’s and don’ts of using it.

Dr Ian Bedford’s Bug of the Week: The Syrphids

What We Talk About 

Sourcing woodchip

Making your own

Different species of tree woodchip

Runoff when storing woodchip

Do we need to store or compost woodchip before we use it?

The uses for woodchip in the garden

What is ramial chipped wood and what can it be used for? 

The benefits of using woodchip as a mulch

Avoiding suppressing self-seeders

Woodchip and carbon retention

What happens to woodchip if treated as ‘waste’? 

About Ben Raskin

Ben Raskin has worked in horticulture for more than 25 years, developing a wide range of experience both in practical commercial growing and wider policy and advocacy work.

As the Soil Association’s Head of Horticulture and Agroforestry, he provides growers at all levels of production with technical, marketing, policy, supply chain and networking support. He is currently implementing a 200-acre silvopastural agroforestry planting in Wiltshire.

Ben is the author of several previous books on gardening, including Zero-Waste Gardening (2021), The Community Gardening Handbook (2017) and three volumes of the Grow Together Guides aimed at families with young children: Compost, Grow, and Bees, Bugs, and Butterflies.

Additionally, Ben co-chairs the Defra Edibles Horticulture Roundtable and sits on the boards of the Organic Growers Alliance and Community Supported Agriculture Network UK.


The Woodchip Handbook by Ben Raskin


Innovative Farmers Field Lab – willow woodchip for apple scab (with Glynn Percival)

Innovative Farmers Field Lab  – peat free woodchip propagation substrate (with Iain Tolhurst)

Other episodes if you liked this one:

Dr Glynn Percival’s episode where he talks about tree health and the various uses of different mulches in terms of suppressing diseases

A recording of Iain Tolhurst, where he talks about his use of ramial woodchip


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