I came across this film online and I think a lot of people here would find it helpful.  If is a bit heavy on religion but the gardening style is very interesting.  This guy uses a large amount of wood chips and compost to cover his garden and never has to water.  It is basically mulching to an extreme.  Check it out when you get time.  Back to Eden Film

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Hey Craig,


I put in an Eden garden for the first time this year. So far it rocks! We have another garden behind this one and the plants are not nearly as happy. I wasn't expecting much this year because it is a first year garden but...WOW!

Melody

Melody,

Thanks for your reply.   I am planning on getting some wood chips delivered soon so they can start decomposing.  I want to plant some grains into it next spring.  Do you have any hints beyond what the video said?  Is there anything you would do differently?  Post some pics if you can.  I would love to see how you set yours up. 

Craig

I love this film.  It explains things so well, and makes so much sense.  We have not found a cheap (or free) source of wood chips yet, but we have been using the used bedding from the chicken coops.  It is amazing what a difference that makes in the soil texture.  In areas where we have added a lot the weeds just pull right out easily.  We haven't had veggies that look as good as his, but they do get better every year.  Well, not this year, but that was because of the drought, we had no rain for most of the summer. 

Andrea G

I started a Back to Eden garden and orchard earlier this year.  I have been enjoying the lack of weeding, low watering needs and being able to walk through the garden without worrying about compaction.  Not only that my garden is much lower maintenance and looks much nicer and neater than the local community gardens.  Ironically, once the mulch was laid out, there's been practically no work other than planting.  In contrast, I see people slaving away constantly at the community garden and as soon as they stop, the garden becomes an overgrown weed patch.

 

Melody, go on youtube and search for Paul Gautschi and you will find some additional interviews that someone did when they went to visit his garden/orchard.  I do recall him saying in one of the videos that he is going to grow rice this/next year to prove that it can be done using the Back to Eden approach.

 

If you want to see some pics of my setup, check out my blog:  http://www.sunrainearth.com  .  I have pictures of my orchard lot as well as my backyard garden.

 

I've watched the movie several times now and I think one thing that's misleading and which might lead to disappointment is that while Paul is using wood chips in the orchard and recommends it for people's garden that's not really what he's doing in his garden.  You can clearly see a distinct difference in the covering when you see videos of the area where his garden and orchard meet.  His garden mulch is really a mixture of very aged, finely screened, composed wood waste combined with what he brings in from his chicken area.  I think this makes a big difference.  He alludes to this at one point stating that results will be poor at the beginning and will improve year after year.

 

One thing I've learned is to get mulch whenever it becomes available.  With this method, especially if you lay your mulch on thick, decomposition will occur quickly and you will need to replenish year after year.  So better to just always have piles of mulch accumulated even if you have already fully covered your plots.  Also, this way the mulch will also be well aged by the time you need it rather than waiting to get fresh mulch when you need it an then having to wait for it to age.

 

Chen

 

Thank you Chen,

I am reading through your blog now.  You have so much information there.  Thank you for all the pictures.  I am now in the process of getting some mulch to my land.  It will still be about 8 more months before we will be moving there but I hope to get as much delivered as possible.  Thanks again! I look forward to seeing the progress on your blog. 

Craig



sunrainearth said:

I started a Back to Eden garden and orchard earlier this year.  I have been enjoying the lack of weeding, low watering needs and being able to walk through the garden without worrying about compaction.  Not only that my garden is much lower maintenance and looks much nicer and neater than the local community gardens.  Ironically, once the mulch was laid out, there's been practically no work other than planting.  In contrast, I see people slaving away constantly at the community garden and as soon as they stop, the garden becomes an overgrown weed patch.

 

Melody, go on youtube and search for Paul Gautschi and you will find some additional interviews that someone did when they went to visit his garden/orchard.  I do recall him saying in one of the videos that he is going to grow rice this/next year to prove that it can be done using the Back to Eden approach.

 

If you want to see some pics of my setup, check out my blog:  http://www.sunrainearth.com  .  I have pictures of my orchard lot as well as my backyard garden.

 

I've watched the movie several times now and I think one thing that's misleading and which might lead to disappointment is that while Paul is using wood chips in the orchard and recommends it for people's garden that's not really what he's doing in his garden.  You can clearly see a distinct difference in the covering when you see videos of the area where his garden and orchard meet.  His garden mulch is really a mixture of very aged, finely screened, composed wood waste combined with what he brings in from his chicken area.  I think this makes a big difference.  He alludes to this at one point stating that results will be poor at the beginning and will improve year after year.

 

One thing I've learned is to get mulch whenever it becomes available.  With this method, especially if you lay your mulch on thick, decomposition will occur quickly and you will need to replenish year after year.  So better to just always have piles of mulch accumulated even if you have already fully covered your plots.  Also, this way the mulch will also be well aged by the time you need it rather than waiting to get fresh mulch when you need it an then having to wait for it to age.

 

Chen

 

My husband and I have also watched that movie and were inspired by it! We would love to try a Back to Eden garden when we get some land. Good luck with yours, and keep us updated on the progress!

Just saw this over winter and LOVE it.

The plan is to get these gardens in and finish planting No Mow Grass in our lawn and I'm good to go!

I'm wondering how cedar tree mulch will work and if we should mulch all the greenery of the tree or just the main trunk?  We have alot of cedars we are cutting down on our farm and I know I want to mulch the smaller trees but save the larger ones for fench posts, and split rail fencing. 

Always chip the whole tree.  Just wood or "bark" wont work, you need the greenery in there too.

Delanie Trusty said:

I'm wondering how cedar tree mulch will work and if we should mulch all the greenery of the tree or just the main trunk?  We have alot of cedars we are cutting down on our farm and I know I want to mulch the smaller trees but save the larger ones for fench posts, and split rail fencing. 

Delanie,

I too have tons of ceder trees that I will be mulching soon but I don't think that I will use it as mulch on my garden.  From what I have read it is not the best for a back to eden style of garden because it won't break down for a long time.   Many people choose ceder for fence posts because it won't decompose as quickly as other types of wood.  This spring will be my first attempt at this so if anyone else has used ceder mulch and has had success with it please let us know.  RachelSey is also correct that you want to get as much of the GREEN leaves as you can into the mulch as possible.  It will break down much faster this way and feed you plants.

I am super excited to start my garden this spring using this method.  I live in Oklahoma and the past few years of extreme drought has really opened my eyes to the importance of conserving water any way possible.  In the middle of August with temperatures around 105-110 and having had no rain in months I was able to dig into wood chips at a playground and get to moisture at about 6 inches.  Very exciting Thanks for all the replies to this post.  

Craig 

We are using the back to eden gardening method as well. The first year most things grew pretty slow, we didn't add enough nitrogen on top. This year we aren't making the same mistake and are anticipating a good year. The wood chips have started to break down and our perennials are doing great. We'll be posting pictures, success stories and challenges at www.wellingtonfamilyfarm.com/garden

James

Wellington Family Farm

In this clip from the movie he talks about cedar:

http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/faqs/covering.html

He uses it all through his garden and it does fine.  Eucapytus is what he recommends against, because it has an oil that is hard to grow in.  Otherwise cedar should be ok.  But watch the clip and decide for yourself what you are comfortable doing.


Okie said:

Delanie,

I too have tons of ceder trees that I will be mulching soon but I don't think that I will use it as mulch on my garden.  From what I have read it is not the best for a back to eden style of garden because it won't break down for a long time.   Many people choose ceder for fence posts because it won't decompose as quickly as other types of wood.  This spring will be my first attempt at this so if anyone else has used ceder mulch and has had success with it please let us know.  RachelSey is also correct that you want to get as much of the GREEN leaves as you can into the mulch as possible.  It will break down much faster this way and feed you plants.

I am super excited to start my garden this spring using this method.  I live in Oklahoma and the past few years of extreme drought has really opened my eyes to the importance of conserving water any way possible.  In the middle of August with temperatures around 105-110 and having had no rain in months I was able to dig into wood chips at a playground and get to moisture at about 6 inches.  Very exciting Thanks for all the replies to this post.  

Craig 

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