Basic Independance

This Page is for sharing practical ways to live out freedom in your own life.

My sister, Hannah, planted my vegetables in pots
  this year as I was unable to get the garden ready.
Next year I hope to try the ideas given here.

A Back to Eden Garden

In this first post I'd like to introduce a method of gardening that could really change the traditional methods we all grew up with.  It is the Back to Eden gardening method.
The Back to Eden garden method has been popularized by a man named Paul Gautschi.  He lives in the state Washington  where there is very little well water.  He started praying about his situation and then thought of  how God made things to work in nature.  What occurred to him was that everything in nature has been given a covering (fish have scales, animals have fur, people have skin).  Looking at the woods in his back yard he thought of how all the twigs and leaves made a covering and kept the soil moist and soft.  The trees stay green without any irrigation.  He started collecting this mulch that was under the trees and to import lots of wood chips. He found that he could keep moisture in his soil without ever watering, that weeds could not grow well in the mulch, and pests were kept at bay.

The importance of mulching has been practiced for a long time and has been proven to be successful.  The unque thing in this garden practice is that you don't till the soil at all, but keep adding more organic matter.  Instead of spending your energy on tilling and weeding, your effort is largely spent keeping fresh organic matter on the garden.  This reduces the need of many tools that are considered essential for the garden.  The primary tool Paul uses in his garden is a rake.  Unlike the standard practices that see the value of the soil deminish, by adding the wood chips and organic matter there is a continuely source of nutrients being added to the soil.  This is like capital that builds interest in the bank.  Over time it gets better and better.  This type of garden is the type that would be especially helpful for those with a multigenerational vision because of the way it will only get better with time.

So, how does one begin it practically?  First a place must be found that gets sunlight and is well drained.  The large types of weeds must be eradicated (things like bindweed, dock, and burdock).  Layers of wet newspaper are laid down in area planned for planting.  This will eventually suffocate the smaller weeds and grass under it. This is covered with a thin layer of compost.  The compost will give the garden a slow release of  nutrients the plants need.  On top of this a thick layer of wood chips is placed that should be between three and four inches thick.  Where the plants are wanted the wood chips are pushed aside and the seeds or plants are planted in the soil (not the wood chips).

    The ideas here could prove especially helpful for those that don't have the ability to irrigate or use heavy equipment.  A real benefit to gardening this way is that it is a long term investment that gets better as time goes on.


1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth L. Johnson said,
    I've gradually incorporated wood chip mulch into my garden, until this year it is completely covered. It is important the mulch is never tilled into the soil. You should begin with 4 to 6 inches thick. Have your garden covered before winter. With winter rains, by spring and most of summer there will be no need to water plantings. During the summer, since mulch is deteriorating, you must continue to apply mulch to a depth of 3 inch minimum. This has saved me tens of hours of weeding! Wonderful! I does take some labor to pull this mulch covering to the side to make furrows to sow or to plant. Be sure and keep furrows of seed uncovered of wood chip mulch until they've sprouted and are well on their way up. The seeds must have the warmth of the sun in the ground in order to come up. Afterward, recover rows with mulch right up to the plant stem/trunk. Watch the that lasts an hour. Pay close attention. It has worked very well for me for years now!


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