The basic method of the Back to Eden garden is layering. The main ingredient is wood chips. It is not recommended to start your Back to Eden garden in the spring, because the wood chips need time to break down. However, with some compost/manure, we were able to do it this spring.
What we did was start with our old garden plot. The plot had only been plowed the year before and there were no special treatments done to it. We laid newspapers down on the ground and covered that with an inch or two of compost manure, then added a 4 to 6 inches of wood chips. We planted right in the compost material. Next year we will repeat the process, making a thicker and more healthy soil bed for our plants.
The wood chips hold moisture when it rains and then release it when the soil beneath needs water. They continually break down, adding nutrients for the microorganisms. And the best thing about the wood chips is that they are waste and most companies will give you all you want for free.
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, we can replenish the nutrients naturally without the use of chemical fertilizers. What maintains and maximizes soil health is actually the microorganisms living in the soil. This includes bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and microscopic roundworms called nematodes.
These microorganisms are an essential necessity for optimized plant growth. The cooperation between these microorganisms, the soil’s biome, and the plants’ roots, called rhizosphere is responsible for allowing the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil in which it’s grown. Thereby producing a healthy, self-sustaining garden.
We use absolutely no fertilizers or pesticides on our property. By using this method we benefit by having more productive garden, healthier produce, no tilling, fewer weeds, less watering (none so far) and fertile soil.