I want to shout this from the roof tops – I love Back to Eden Gardening!!
Have you seen the free documentary on this miracle method? If you haven’t … dude … go watch it HERE!
If you don’t have time to watch it, make time. But for now here’s a quick overview of our experience with the Back to Eden method.
This is a method that seeks to mimic nature by building up your garden soil with natural green and brown compost, and then covering it in a deep layer of woodchips. This is a no-till method of gardening and the idea is that these woodchips will slowly decompose over time, mimicking the natural cycle of a fertile forest floor.
It’s an incredible method and, have I mentioned that I love it?? Because I do. When we switched to this method we had way more gardening success.
That being said, there are pros and cons to the Back to Eden method, just like anything else. Here’s what I’ve found in our experience of using this method for the last 3 years.
- Very low maintenance – once this is up and running, it really takes very little up keep. Which is great is you want to go out of town for a weekend 😉
- Low/no weeding – the woodchips create a barrier that keeps weeds from growing, and if they do, they are very very easy to pull
- No tilling – this is one of my favorites. We don’t have to buy or rent or borrow a tiller every spring. Nature takes care of making a beautiful soil for us.
- Less watering – this is a big deal in Florida especially. We get so much sun, watering is vital. But the woodchips keep the soil moist and don’t allow much evaporation. They also soak up any extra water and naturally release it as the soil needs it, keeping over watering from big rain storms from becoming a problem as well.
- Less fertilizing – once established, the woodchips are doing most of the fertilizing for you!
- Builds soil – here in Florida with our sandy soils, the woodchips are a wonderful way to build up a healthy soil naturally.
- Can be TOUGH to find woodchips – this will depend on your area, but I know in some places trees aren’t abundant and finding woodchips may be a big challenge. So look into the availability in your area before you dive into this method.
- Can be difficult to get woodchips delivered – this will depend on your area as well. Our friends in the neighboring larger city can get woodchips delivered very easily and conviently by the city maintenance crews. Out here in the country we’ve found it difficult to get a tree removal company to actually bother delivering the woodchips to us.
- Can be expensive to get woodchips (if you can’t find them for free) – we’ve been able to always get woodchips for free, but I know some people have to pay for them to be delivered if they can’t find a company or municipality to deliver it for free. That can be pricey.
- Lots of work to get set up – for all it’s low maintenance in the long run, it does require quite a bit of muscle to get it set up. Especially if you have a large garden and no heavy equipment. We had to shovel a 6 inch layer of manure, and then another 6 inch layer of woodchips into our 36’x15′ garden. That took a lot of sweat equity.
- Takes time to breakdown to build soil – We found that this method takes time to build the soil up, so in the beginning we did need some fertilizers to supplement the soil, and it was best to wait a month or two to let the soil compost a bit before we planted, if possible.
Over all, we’ve found the challenges in Back to Eden gardening to be well worth the rewards. And once we get the initial set up done, all we’ve needed to do is keep adding woodchips to the top soil as the previous woodchips have decomposed. It’s incredible to watch the garden thrive as it mimics the patterns of nature.