During last year’s growing season, there was much hype and circulation over a new method of garden mulching now commonly known as Back to Eden gardening. I shared in the excitement and like many other gardeners got my hands on as many wood chips as I could find and eagerly spread them over my garden.
This year, coincidentally, was our year of rest for the garden which turned out to be a blessing since the time and financial investment would have been futile as we ended up moving across the state. The wood chips I laid in my garden never had a chance to prove themselves or not and since I have done some rethinking on mulch gardening, will never have the chance to.
Ultimately, the origin of the Back to Eden method was an appeal to God’s word and created order- where every Christian agrarian should begin to serve the Lord through their gardening efforts- and the method was born after observing the abundance of life in forest soils and their ability to retain water. However, the logic is somewhat flawed in that we are attempting to grow sun-loving annuals in our vegetable patches which one simply doesn’t find growing in a forest understory. That to me was reason enough to abandon the project, despite other’s success stories, and seek a mulching method that is more like one would find occurring naturally. While some might say the video simply advocates lasagna gardening and mulching of any type, that was not made clear and the magic seemed to be in the wood chips. If the video left out such vital information that can only be found on youtube, then it was a poorly made video at best, outright deceptive at worst.
Well, as the saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and for many others who jumped on the bandwagon with me, they have had almost a full first season’s worth of experience by now.
One gardener recently reached out and shared their experience and with her permission I am able to share it with you and others curious about whether Back to Eden gardening would work for them.
Im fairly new here, and I know you are in the middle of your big move, but I had to write about our back to Eden experiment.
We live in SE Indiana if that makes a difference. The oddest part of this is that our family and 2 friends all used the BTE method. One family have always used tilling and chemical fertilizer. I thought their outcome would be the best, but it is actually worse than ours! The other family planted a new garden on a patch of ground that had tobacco growing on it for the last 30 yrs- her yield has been off the charts wonderful! She used the chips differently though-she tilled the soil, planted the seed and then mulched with the chips when her plants began to emerge. I don’t know what made the difference for her-the tobacco, tilling first, or just what but she feels her BTE was a complete success. We all live within a half hour of each other. -Kim (all emphasis mine)
By now, I’m sure that there are several other gardeners out there who also have experimented with The back to Eden method of garden mulching. We’d love to hear from you! Whether a wonderful success or abysmal failure please leave a comment below and share your thoughts so that others might learn from your experience.