One of the hallmarks of any healthy organic garden is the effective use of mulches. Defined as materials used to cover the soil’s surface, mulches help control weeds, prevent disease, conserve moisture, maintain consistent soil temperatures, enrich the soil with organic matter and just make the garden look good. According to Texas A&M University, a well-mulched garden can yield 50 percent more vegetables than an un-mulched garden space, thanks in part to mulches’ ability to reduce foliage and fruit diseases.
In our garden we are following the Back to Eden Gardening method, or BTE for short. The featured documentary, Back to Eden, reveals a simple organic gardening method that will transform your personal garden.
Far from being life sustaining, our modern, large-scale, chemical-dependent farming methods strip soil of nutrients, destroy critical soil microbes, contribute to the creation of deserts where nothing will grow, and saturate farmlands with toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers that then migrate into groundwater, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
This film really inspired me and immediately after watching it I called my local tree cutting service and was able to get several truckloads of wood-chips dropped on my driveway for free and wheel barreled them on my landscape. The great thing about the wood chips is that they are waste and most companies will give you all you want. I plan on adding more every year.
We are even using them in our flower pots, around trees, and even in landscaping around the house to divert the water and keep the foundation from cracking! Wood chips are truly amazing!
The wood chip pile can decompose rather rapidly if you don’t spread it on your landscape right away. So it is best to spread the chips over a few days and not leave it in a pile. Otherwise you will wind up needing to wear a mask when you use a pitchfork to move the chips into your wheelbarrow to avoid inhaling the dust.
HOW TO COVER A BACK TO EDEN GARDEN:
- For an ideal Back to Eden garden, apply a few layers cardboard, butcher paper, or even newspaper
- Then apply 3-4 inches of organic compost or composted manure.
- Then an additional 6-8 inches of wood chips or alternative covering on top.
- If you are implementing the methods in the Spring or Summer, additionally apply a dusting of composted manure for organic fertilizer.
TIP: Make sure to get tree mulch. The tree mulch is more desirable because it incorporates large and small pieces. This allows the chips to fit together like a puzzle making them more both more absorbent and insulating.
As discussed in the featured film, nature is self-sustaining. When left alone, the ground becomes covered with leaves and organic materials that then turn into lush compost and adds nutrients back to the soil. This top layer of organic material also shields the soil and helps retain moisture.By imitating nature and simply covering his garden with wood chips, Paul Gautschi rarely needs to water any of his plants, even in the summer. And his garden yields plenty of large, well-formed, juicy fruits, berries, and vegetables.
I encourage you to check out the film. You can watch the Back to Eden film for free on their website. Check it out!