Added by on 2016-12-24

What is “back to Eden” Gardening and why should you do it? There are a lot of misconceptions about this practice and some things people just don’t understand. In this video I hope to offer my experience on how well parts of this method have worked for us and what the “reality” is with using it. Garden of Eden was a popular documentary that explains a way of gardening without using a bunch of unsustainable fertilizers and other gardening practices; mainly with the use of wood chips or deep mulching. The practice sounds amazing and it surely does work, but it might not be exactly what some people think. Wood chips are awesome, free, sustainable, waste material that have a number of uses around the homestead. We use them for all of our landscaping and also in our garden paths. But, the best use is actually as a ground cover in your gardens or orchards. The idea is that over time the wood chips break down and add much needed nutrients to the soils, this is 100% true and works extremely well. However, it takes years of decay before the bulk of the benefits of the decaying wood chips are realized. After two years the nutrients are becoming more soluble and can permeate the soil and get down to the roots of the plants each time it rains. But, don’t think you can just pile up some wood chips and start growing! There are some immediate benefits though. First, the wood chips do help the soil retain moisture. This is probably one of the number one benefits of this method. Less watering and less evaporation. It also helps keep the soil cooler which can help as well. The wood chips can also help prevent and keep down weeds. And, if […]

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37 Comments

  • Benja's Uber 1337 Hobby 10 months ago

    At my local park the county has a free mulch pick up site. I like to get the top or bottom of the pile depending on what i need. The bottom is much more broken down and the top normally has whole chips that take much longer to break down.

  • Phil Lowman 10 months ago

    I know the said on the original video to not disturb the ground. I have a manure spreader that I spread fresh chicken litter in the fall and turn it under soon after its spread. That way it gets fresh nitrogen deep in the ground and has all winter to do its thing. I've wandered shocking the same to the ground before adding the cardboard and wood chips. Wood chips take a lot of nitrogen to break down , so having the high nitrogen content already in the ground it seems in my mind that it was be a better start than doing nothing. Am I wrong or missing something besides some people just not wanting the ground worked for any reason? I plow under loads of chicken crap about every 2 years with no bad luck and plenty of worms in it as well. the weeds are the problem.

  • lee4642009 10 months ago

    Yes, it is all that and a bag of chips. Wood chip mulch rocks big time. I've been using them exclusively for 6 years now, and my soil is very very rich and loamy now, where before my soil ( if you could call it that) was pure sand. A big thing that most people don't understand about it is, the number one thing about mulch, is it really is food for the soil micro organisms. It is the soil organisms that feed the plant. It's very simple no mulch, no soil life – no soil life then you have to use chemical fertilizers to get a crop. That's why it's called Back to Eden , or how plants were designed to thrive before mankind thought they could do it better. Feed and water the soil not the plants!!

  • chevy6299 10 months ago

    Paul G is very open about raw wood chips taking 3 years to be 100% beneficial to the garden. Paul uses composted wood chips in his garden from his chicken pin.

  • Faisal Kiani 10 months ago

    excellent guide, thank you

  • Mario Greco 10 months ago

    I have a some questions.

    1st, Can the B2E be done at first with a layer of wood chips over the grass to build the soil over the fall?

    2nd, Do you apply fresh wood chops yearly?

    3rd, What if you do not have access to animal manure, will the B2E be successful?

    4th, For those who have a short growing season, if seedlings are grown what do you suggest the soil mix be.

    5th, For nitrogen, can grass clippings be placed around the base of the plant on top of the mulch, even though the grass clippings contain weeds? Can you give a listing of things that can be placed in the B2E garden for Nitrogen that does not cost and is around the house?

    Thank you.

  • I've grown pumpkins for 1st time and was glad to see a pumkin about the size of a small ball hiding under a leaf but ive noticed something is constantly chewing at the skin whatever it is its not penetrated into the pumkin yet but is there something you can recommend to rub on my pumkin to protect it from whatever it is?

  • Even in the desert :)

  • Joshua Smith-Homesteader 10 months ago

    I agree. A lot of people believe you can just throw down an inch of woodchips and magical bean stalk will grow to the sky. I have been using chips for around 4 years now in raised beds about 8 inches high. But i started with 5 year old natural composted soil i had piling up. With the help of manure, compost tea and chips each year, I am now at the relaxed stage. I don't have to water, fertilize or weed, as the garden is doing all the work. This year we are in a drought, very dry. My garlic came out basball size, No watering or fertilizer. Great video, and yes folks it works well and works for you, but you do need to work for it the first few years.
    It's not a new concept. Ruth Stout wrote a book on it in 1955- How to have a green thumb, without an aching back. Cheers!!!

  • Organic Gardening in North Carolina 10 months ago

    thanks for that! I have been using wood chips for I think two…maybe three years now. it does just keep getting better and better. when I first put the chips down, I pulled them back and used the square foot gardening recipe (Mel's mix) where I wanted to grow. that way, I got the benefits of the mulch right away and could still give my plants a good soil to grow in.
    a lot of people forget that Paul and a lot of BTE and permaculture people use animal matures for the nitrogen. another thing to be careful of is to make sure you don't bury the wood chips in the soil because they will rob the nitrogen from the soil for a long while if burried.

  • maimouna itambo 10 months ago

    hey fantastic keep it going…tell me am in the process of starting Eden gardening..one problem I have is termites what advice would you give am in kenya

  • Mark Spain 10 months ago

    I rely don't not love what I love about what I do Love About What I love About My Garden?

  • Mark Spain 10 months ago

    this guy is an oxymoron? what is his point?

  • Petals on the Paving Slabs 10 months ago

    I thought this was great, thank you very much for showing us.

  • feltingme 10 months ago

    Great video, thank you for sharing. I experimented with wood chips mixed with soil (about a third of chips) in potted plants and they are doing great. However I soaked chips in urine (high nitrogen) prior to mixing them with soil, and added more a few weeks later. After 2 months or so, wood chips start out giving nutrients instead of using, when mixed into the soil. If I would have enough wood chips, I would mix them into my beds as well – for now I just use them on the surface. Chips are free, if you have a driveway, but I garden in the community garden plot in the city.

  • Huffster 10 months ago

    If you want to improve it further, you can scatter small quantities of coffee grounds, shredded leaves, spent brewery grains, crushed eggshells, compost, manures, etc…. I do this multiple times a year and a little heavier just prior to winter. The chips work like a filter. Big chips stay on top while the wind and rain moves small stuff down.

  • Zeldabug24 10 months ago

    So don't add then to my raised beds in the fall as a mulch? I just got some deliver and thought when I redo my beds in the fall I would add all my compact and then a lay of wood chips to each bed and let it sit till spring? I have a lot of moisture issues this year using just straw mulch.

  • The Self Sufficient Life 10 months ago

    Good video. When I first heard of BTE about 5 years ago I watched the documentary film and dug into the back pages of the site, which, for some reason is no longer around. I spent a couple of weeks watching the main video and the other smaller vids on the back pages a number of times. I was trying to find the secret that everyone was frothing at the mouth about and it finally hit me. Mulch! Nothing but mulch (and compost). I just sat there mouth hanging open and thinking "my God in heaven, when did people forget about mulching and now they think this is something new?" My Grandparents mulched, my parents mulched and now 40 years later I returned to my gardening "roots" and immediately mulched. We did it primarily for the weed suppression and water retention. I am grateful for the BTE craze because if not for that I may never have dug deeper and discovered the ability of it to fertilize the garden over time as well. 3 years ago I heard about that and decided not to fertilize my garden that year. Garden did fantastic. Except for compost I have used very little fertilizer since them. Occasionally certain plants may need a bit of extra calcium and/or magnesium but not much and I do water everything once they are established but still young with fermented nettle tea fertilizer for the extra nitrogen. Also has calcium and magnesium in it. Our area is over run with nettles and I now take my trailer out and collect the nettles to shred into my compost. Takes me about 15 minutes to pack my trailer tightly. Since I started doing that I hardly have to ad calcium or magnesium.

  • John Patyu 10 months ago

    Awesome explanation thank you very much!!
    What do you recommend Kelp Meal, Powder Extract or Liquid? What's the purest form?
    Thanks

  • Kurt Wilkinson 10 months ago

    Seaweed and kelp soil amendments are marketed brilliantly and its subsequent popularity is massive. I think you have made many good arguments. I work in horticulture and have many private clients who do or have used these products for years. I have seen no benefit with its application. The same plant nutritional deficiencies and health problems appear to exist with or without their application and I therefore cannot justify the extra cost. In my experience people use it like they would asprin thinking it is some silver bullet and a cure all. Vermicompost, compost, covercrops, green manures,mulches and the micro flora and fauna they produce/support, are by far, more effective garden amendments.

  • MattThermer 10 months ago

    I've been giving some thought into saving eurassian watermilfoil for the compost bin when it gets snagged on my fishing line. Not only is it a free and local resource, but it's also an invasive species so it's not damaging the ecosystem to take out of the water. I would imagine it adds a benefit similar to kelp.

  • enscribe 10 months ago

    Kelp is free and local to me. I don't use it as primary source but I have a much bigger amount of compost to generate than your backyard garden. Anything that helps is good to me, and everything in moderation is usually best IMO. Thanks for sharing. Your channel is an interesting contrast to most of the gardening channels here.

  • matanuska high 10 months ago

    north Atlantic kelp vs pacific kelp found off BC..did you separate and test those?

  • john doe 10 months ago

    Is this a channel where you "debunk" everything gardeners have been doing/using for years and years and years? I'm confused as you don't suggest anything beneficial or alternative. You buy a 1.5lpm air pump and try to make AACT, which is laughable – I'm not saying it does or doesn't work, and not just based on that air pump, I'm just saying that just made me laugh.
    I've come across several channels today saying "compost tea doesn't work" and "kelp doesn't work". They then say "where's the studies, university this, university that". Where are the studies saying it doesn't work? And what does work mean? When your own evaluation of if it "worked" is literally looking at the plant with the naked eye and saying "it doesn't look any bigger"…any bigger?? Are you joking? Where's your scientific evidence then? Brix level? Pathogen, pest, and disease resistence? Extreme environmental change tolerance? Cell wall thickness or flexibility/resilience of the plants structure? Root system health? Terpenes, flavinoids (flavors and smells)? Essential oils (if applicable)? The list goes on.
    I appreciate ANYtime someone goes through the trouble of trying to do one such a test or experiment – THANK YOU big time, all of you, for doing this. I too would love to throw out the idea, for example, of brewing this or that, or using this or that.
    What is your end goal here? What is your overall suspision? What are you suggesting gardeners, organic or not, DO USE?
    You're flippin my world upside down – lol.

    Thank you sir.

  • Mark Thieme 10 months ago

    love my comfrey!

  • AmeriJam Acres 10 months ago

    The question I have is how good is seaweed when added to compost. For people like myself we have access to seaweed in large quantities that are as you say "free and local" I'm less than 2 miles from a beach with large quantities of seaweed. I'm having a really hard time finding information on how to put this "free and local" resource to work for me. I've started doing experiments with composting and using it as a mulch but I'm hoping to find some information on uses of seaweed. 

  • Robert Seviour 10 months ago

    "If your" Correction "if you're" Repeat offence! Don't blame your iPod again 🙂 Leaving the matter of correct English aside, this was an interesting episode. I was unaware that kelp has little to recommend it. I used to live at the seaside and after a storm would collect seaweed by the wheelbarrow load. Now I know better.

  • pfalconology 10 months ago

    I'm really enjoying your videos. Thank you for taking the time and being pleasant

  • brad mayeux 10 months ago

    Is Kelp high in sodium ?
    It seems my papaya plants do not like it, or i used too much.
    the kelp i used was made for human consumption, so maybe its different ?
    it tasted salty.

    ive used spirulina instead to good effect.
    spirulina is often grown in lakes of fresh water
    it is a darker green than kelp, and i think may be higher in mineral content.

  • Madam Smellypits 10 months ago

    Thanks Mr. Calgary, I'm new to gardening and you are helping me to avoid buying stupid stuff! Leaves! Leaves! Leaves!

  • Food For life 10 months ago

    Like your videos, very useful information. what I would like to know is do you know the best way to make a diy seaweed fertilizer. A way to keep most if not all the beneficial properties.. That would make for a awesome video. 

  • upplsuckimcool16 10 months ago

    in un-potted gardens you're proly correct.

    Kelp is great for potted plants.

  • MORNING GARDENER'S SHOW. 10 months ago

    I am doing good .Hope all is well with you.  My Garden is doing great .All i am using is wood chips And leaves .For the past 3 years I add wood chips and leaves  each year. I all so use compost tea.  And I only use rain water. I never dig in my Soil. I keep it simple.

  • Ellofez 10 months ago

    You have just become my favorite person ever . Yes! , using organic and local products pay off in the long run and most of hthe times they are close to nothing in costs or even FREE …! Yes! Peeps for FREE!
    

  • Stan The Man! 10 months ago

    i live on the ocean and there is an abundance of bubble kelp, since its free and only infront of my house i was wondering how you would use it in your garden as a raw source? ive added it bit by bit to my worm bins but wasnt to sure on how to actually use the raw kelp in the garden

  • Anastassio Balcorta 10 months ago

    So can you use comfrey mill in a compost tea?

  • Adam Shiminski 10 months ago

    Awesome and informative video. You saved me a lot of reading. I recently purchased a 4lb bag of kelp for $17 plus tax I've been believing the hype and now am glad to have been enlightened..