Answer: While it is possible that a soil made 75% of year old wood chips could have caused some problems, the fact that they have made fruit leads me to believe that the ripening/flavor problem is possibly weather related rather than soil related especially in view of the unusually dry summer we have had. However, when using wood chips it is best to let them age for at least a year before using them as mulch and to wait longer so that they are at least partially composted before using them as a planting medium. You might also consider using a fertilizer containing "minors" along with additional rich compost and some garden soil in the mix to assure that all the necessary nutrients are present. Finally, you might also run some basic soil tests for factors such as pH and nitrogen to make sure nothing is too far out of balance before using it again next year. Your County Extension (240-6500) should be able to help you with the soil tests and interpreting the results.
Q&A Library Searching Tips