back to eden gardening
Back to Eden Movie with Paul Gautschi
Getting Started with Wood Chips
Order a large load of wood chips with a good mix of bark, twigs, and green waste mixed in. Some contractors will supply this for free but it is definitely at worst far cheaper to order this way than ordering from a garden centre. To get started I ordered 7 metres which was enough for most of our section. The cost of this was $150.00. I have since ordered another 7 metres which finished off the areas I didn't get done initially and I have approximately 1/3 of the load left over for other projects.
Layer newspaper (about 6 sheets down and overlap so weeds do not come through. Lay the newspaper straight over the area you are intending to use for a garden.
Throw on top of the newspaper any green waste, grass clippings, leaves and compost. Also layer any soil you may have but do not dig out existing gardens. Go straight over the top of them starting with the newspaper.
On top of the soil - place a good amount of manure. This is normally available free or for low cost from a farmer or someone who has horses.
For my Back to Eden Garden - I then put a layer of pea straw overtop.
Finally place about 16cm of wood chips. Water regularly for approximately eight weeks and then plant seedlings into the soil. You won't need to dig down very far and you will be surprised how moist and broken down everything is. This will also turn your clay or soil base into good soil for planting. I found initially it is a good idea to move the too move the wood chips aside until the plants have grown a little.
Water your new seedlings and leave your plants to grow. I found that the soil hadn't quite broken down enough for seeds other than bigger ones like beans. By the time you are ready to harvest your first vegetables - direct sowing should be fine.
Remember you don't need to water to often. Check the moisture content and if the soil is dry - water.
Keep layering and do not dig the soil over. The following season you would place more compost, manure and woodchips on top. Weed as necessary - they should pull out easily as the soil is light, airy and not compacted. I also sprinkle any grass clipping onto the wood chips as we mow the lawns. This keeps a good supply of nitrogen going into the soil as the rain will wash this down through the wood chips.
Pests should be minimal - if you have them it will be because the plants are not hydrated enough, too hydrated, do not have enough sun. Pests are natures police force ... they are designed to clean up unhealthy plants.