Mulching Your Garden: The Back To Eden Way
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 method. The 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 the 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.
Purchased V.s Free Mulch
We made the decision to go with purchased mulch for many reasons. The main one being when you have free chips delivered you don't know what you're getting. Often times the trees are diseased or covered in pesticides.
Spread Out the Mulch
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 Start a Back to Eden Garden
- For an ideal Back to Eden garden, apply 3-4 sheets of newspaper.
- Then apply 3-4 inches of organic compost or composted manure.
- Then an additional 2-4 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.
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 doesn't need to water any of his plants, even in the summer. And his garden yields plenty of large, well-formed, juicy fruits, berries, and vegetables.