cmonkey wrote:The key here is not to plant IN the wood chips, plant in the soil underneath them.
I felt the key was to make sure you used plenty of compost/manure. Note the failures where compost/manure was NOT used. The wood chips do their part in moderating moisture which makes the soil soft, controlling weeds, and eventually
breaking down, but breaking down won't happen for many years as you could see by the guy who tilled playground wood chips into the ground.
There is also a difference between "wood chips" (all manner of living material put through a chipper/grinder and then allowed to compost) and "wood chips" (forestry waste). The former is usually what you will find for sale as compost, sometimes augmented with manure and often with a black dye added, and the latter is only suitable for ground cover. A weak version of the former, unaugmented and uncomposted, is what you get when the tree service dumps a load of chips and the chips are going to be largish because they haven't been run through a swing-hammer tub grinder which helps randomize & reduce the chip size.
Compost augmented with manure, about 4" applied in two stages, is what I use tilled into the soil to quickly improve soil texture. Then annual 1/4"-1/2" compost applied in succeeding years.