The Back to Eden garden method, also known as the “wood chip method,” is a sustainable gardening technique. It utilizes natural coverings to provide soil with the nutrients it needs to grow healthy plants without the use of harmful synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The technique is based on the concept called God’s Garden, which postulates that nature already knows how to grow plants, and therefore, we should allow it to do the job.
The method involves layering moist materials on top of soil. This creates a natural mulch cover that provides organic matter and nutrients to the soil. The moist materials used are usually wood chips, straw, leaves, grass, or other organic materials that naturally breakdown over time. Thus, feeding the soil with the compost matter that provides the nutrients needed for plants to grow. The approach has been successful in producing healthy crops, reducing garden needs, and providing farmers with healthier and more abundant yields.
Nowadays, perhaps more than ever before, people are more conscious of their food choices and are opting for a healthier and sustainable lifestyle. Gardening is an excellent way of producing organic foods, but sadly, traditional gardening methods often require the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides that do extensive harm to our environment. The Back to Eden garden method, on the other hand, is more sustainable. It requires less maintenance, and provides a healthier growing environment for plants.
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you implement the Back to Eden garden method:
1. Select a Location
Choose a location for your garden that will receive full sun and have proper drainage. It’s also essential to ensure that the location is easily accessible for watering and other maintenance activities.
2. Prep the Area
Clear the area where you will be gardening. This often involves removing any grass, weeds, or other debris from the garden. You can, but don’t really need to, use a tiller or garden fork to break up the soil to loosen its structure. Make sure the soil is evenly distributed in the garden area.
3. Add a Layer of Newspaper or Cardboard
Next, use newspapers, cardboard, or any other biodegradable paper-based material that would break down quickly. It’s important to make sure the layer of organic paper is thick enough to hinder weed growth but does not obstruct water and nutrient transfer.
4. Add Composted Manure
Spread a layer of composted manure over the garden area, at least 3 inches deep. The manure provides the soil with necessary nutrients that help plants grow. The use of retail compost is not recommended for this method due to chemical treatments in it.
5. Layer the Area with Wood Chips
On top of the newspapers, add a thick layer of wood chips to cover the garden area to the required thickness. Make sure the chips do not cover the plant stems. The thickness of the layer should range from 2 to 3 inches deep, depending on the trees from which you get the chips. Be sure to use hardwood tree chips and avoid softwoods that contain resin and turpentine. To get free wood chips click here.
6. Water the Wood Chips
After laying the layer of mulch cover, moisten it adequately to launch the breakdown process. Use a garden hose and water lightly, soaking the mulch layer and the manure compost. Ensure that the water seeps through the hoe gently into the soil beneath the mulch layer.
7. Plant the Plants
The soil is now ready for planting. Use a trowel or cultivator to dig a small hole on the location of each plant. Place the plant in the hole and pack the soil neatly around the plant’s base to avoid exposing the root system. The plants usually get access to the manure compost and other nutrients in soil via the mulch layer.
8. Repeat the Process
Repeat the process every year, adding additional compost as needed or until the layer of mulch cover deteriorates. The mulch decomposes over time and produces new soil material ready for cultivation.
The Back to Eden garden method relies on nature’s ability to grow plants without human intervention. Therefore, providing a backyard with a balanced and healthy ecosystem that nurtures various plant species. By following the above mentioned step-by-step guide, you too can implement this method and achieve a sustainable, low-maintenance garden that produces healthy crops. It’s also an excellent way of preserving the environment by reducing soil erosion, conserving water, and eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.