I already told you we are giving this backyard here at the rental a makeover since we will be here for awhile. We brought in a little shed that we will sell when we leave. And we uncovered some limestones from an old bank here in our town. Which are now incorporated into our sidewalk. And we added a fire pit ALL on a budget. (We are at $29, so far) Part of the back yard makeover involves a vegetable garden. I absolutely love being able to walk outside and grab things for meals. We ALWAYS plant tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and all different types of peppers.
For the last several years, we have canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, salsa, sweet and dill pickles, etc. Deb isn’t a fond lover of canning, but she sure loves eating it throughout the winter. Last year, our house sold right before canning season, so we weren’t able to do anything, but we still had several cans from the prior year. We are getting low. So… this may be a summer of canning again.
I’m not going to go into all of the science of how Back to Eden works. There are so many articles on the internet and so many great videos all over YouTube. If you are interested or have any questions, watch them. It is very interesting. It has something to do with microbes, bacteria, layering, blah, blah, blah. ???? I’m not a science guru. Some people love the method and some people don’t. I have had SO MUCH LUCK with it so I’m only going to tell you OUR experience with it, HOW we do it, and WHY it’s the only thing we do.
Note: I’m not an expert at this method and I do things my own way.
Every time we have started a new Back to Eden Garden, we have started in a grassy area of our yard in the SPRING. Most everyone thinks they need to remove the grass and till a garden. I used to do it that way. Again, the science of the Back to Eden Garden Method has to do with layers. So, since we start in the Spring, we lay down a layer of newspapers which helps kill the grass, and it composts into the garden. We choose to use newspapers because they are easy to cut through when we add our plants later. If you prepare your garden in the Fall, which is what I think the method actually recommends, cardboard would work terrific. We’ve done it both ways.
After we add the layer of newspapers to the land, we add a layer of wood chips about 5-6″ deep. I do want to say that wood chips and mulch are two different things. Mulch is typically treated with a coloring agent, which you don’t want for your vegetable garden. Wood chips are simply that. Trees and branches that are run through a chipper. We get ours here in our own community at the city’s compost site. The YouTube videos will suggest all different guidelines which have a bunch of no-nos regarding certain types of wood, etc. I don’t pay any attention to that…. I just throw down my free wood chips. ????????♀️
When it’s time to plant, we simply scoot the wood chips to the side, dig a hole through the newspaper, plant the plants, give it a good drink of water, and move wood chips back around it. That is the only time I water my garden all summer.
The first reason I love the Back to Eden Garden method is NO WEEDING, due to the thick layer of wood chips. If they do pop up through the wood chips, they are very easy to remove. And, there is NO WATERING. I have only watered the gardens throughout the years ONE TIME and that was because we had a drought that summer. Basically I plant my garden in the Spring and do nothing else but watch it grow.
Water the newspapers first so they don’t blow all over the yard. We figured this out real quick. ????
We started this gardening method and planted all in the same day a few years back. Deb cut the grass in that area really short. I then watered that area making sure the land was very wet. Added the plants right in the grass, laid down the newspapers around the plants, and then added the wood chips. I didn’t water the garden at all that entire summer.
After the first year, we don’t add newspapers anymore unless we had a bunch of weeds pop up over the Winter. We simply add more wood chips around all of the plants.
Let me know any questions that you have in the comments and I will try to answer them. But like I said, there are so many articles out there that explains the entire method. I will be updating this post and adding photos as the summer goes on so you can see the progress of the garden. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this years Back to Eden Garden.