plain dirt in garden back to eden gardening method, back to eden gardening steps, back to eden gardening testimonial

My Experience with Back To Eden (Plus Everything You Need to Know)

back to eden gardening

What Exactly Is the Back to Eden Gardening Method?

Back to Eden gardening is a method that is meant to change the game. Coming out as a film you can pull up on YouTube, we are walked through exactly how this works over the course of a little under two hours. Of course, if you search “Back to Eden Gardening Method,” you will have endless content to sift through, most testimonials for or against this method. Back to Eden is meant to revert the way we garden back to how the earth naturally grows. There is the promise of the simple life: no weeding, no watering, no tilling, and incredibly delicious yield. Many gardeners swear by it to be the end all, be all of your gardening woes.

No matter the climate, this method is said to work magic on your garden. The primary way to use this method is by recreating the environment that plants were initially made to thrive in. This idea comes from observing nature. There is no human tending to these plants, yet they grow. No one to water them, but they are hydrated. No one to weed them, yet they flourish. No one to till the ground, yet the soil is healthy. It is indeed a miraculous event only God could orchestrate, and that is precisely the point of this method. What if we let God care for our gardens as he does the rest of nature?

As you can imagine, this method comes with an endless amount of questions. If this simple way of gardening was possible all along, why in the world have we followed the hard way of gardening up until this point? Why is this method just now emerging and where has it been all this time? Is this just the easy way out of doing the work? Later on, I will give you the rundown on how it worked for me as well as a testimonial from another gardener. But there are endless gardeners online who will tell you in detail exactly what they did to tweak the method, which organic veggies they grew, and how it worked for them. Doing your research with the click of a button will give you all the information you’ll ever need.

How Does the Back to Eden Gardening Method Work?

This method works best as a process that is split up into steps. Remember, everything is done as organically as possible. You will see a common theme here, where if there is a more natural route, the Back to Eden gardening method takes that one.

  1. First things first, you will want to figure out exactly where you will be placing this garden bed. If you already have a garden bed setup, that’s great. If you do not, you can use a patch of grass that is free of things like rocks, dirt, grass. Remember, you can clear an area that already has these things.
  2. For the second step, you will need some newspapers to put down on the ground. You need to be certain that there are no holes or gaps because you don’t want anything getting through. Cover it up with about three newspapers. If you are trying to figure out where to get newspapers from, there are tons of ways to get them. You can begin by contacting the newspaper company that is local to you, you can contact the recycling center near you, you can get local free newspapers, and if it comes down to it, ask friends and neighbors for their old newspaper copies.
  3. Next up, you will need to purchase compost and cover up the makeshift bed area with a few inches of the stuff. If you want your yield to be high quality and fresh, make sure your compost only has ingredients that fit these criteria in it.
  4. Cover the area you laid compost on with about 6 inches of… wood chips! Wood chips are the key when it comes to this method. Picking out the correct wood chips is vital. You will need to find the most organic wood chips possible. That means it needs to be tree bark, along with the branches and leaves that are chipped into pieces using the machinery. Funnily enough, you can find these at the city dump most times.
  5. This step is when Back to Eden begins to get fun. You get to start planting! Begin this part by scraping back the top few inches of wood chips. The timing of this is a personal preference. If you want to prepare the beds a season earlier in order to have fertile soil prepared to be planted in, this is a great way to go. But it is also up to you if you would rather do it the same day you complete the previous steps. Neither is life changing for this method.

Here are a few pointers on this method:

  • Complete the beds promptly. A few days time is best. So much can happen to your newspaper and compost in the period of time you leave it, so do whatever you need to do, even if that is a small space, to get the job done in a timely fashion.
  • It does not have to be perfect. Don’t obsess over measuring the inches. If it’s a bit off, that is not the end of the world.
  • Keep a watchful eye on the weather channel and be on the lookout for rain. If you can prepare this bed before heavy rain, that is the best case scenario for growth!

What Are the Benefits of the Back to Eden Gardening Method?

The main benefit of this method is growing entirely organic produce. Many people wish to grow organically for a variety of different reasons. These consist of wanting to raise the price of their products with the label “organic,” wanting to treat the earth well, or wanting to stay away from pesticides for their own health. Whatever the reason for wanting to grow organic, there is no doubt this method is used by people who desire it.

The second benefit is an obvious one. Back to Eden means a hands-off approach to gardening, and that equates to less work for you! Ultimately, that gives you more time spent elsewhere while letting nature take its course, yet still receiving the reward in the end.

My Testimonial of Back to Eden Gardening

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 opportunity to.

Ultimately, the origin of the Back to Eden gardening 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 technique 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.

Another Back to Eden Testimonial

One gardener recently reached out and shared their experience, and with her permission, I can share it with you and others curious about whether Back to Eden gardening would work for them.

“I’m 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 gardening experiment.

Last year we put half our garden into raised beds that were double dug per the book Mini Farming, Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre. After 4 of the 12 beds, it occurred to me that I was turning my lovely topsoil under & bringing up pure clay to plant in! We forked the others. Our garden was amazing, in spite of the drought, incredible yields even with the clay issues.

Then I watched the BTE movie…. We brought in 6 pickups full of 2 yr old, composted chips. Backbreaking work! We planted all the boxes and waited in anticipation. The other half of our garden didn’t get chips-I ran out of time and had to plant. Most everything sprouted, but by late May I knew we were in trouble. Everything I planted-seeds or transplants- was very pale green and stunted. The peppers were actually almost white! We brought a truckload of 8 year old manure in & spread it over the chips, working it in. Things greened up  but remained stunted. Our yield this year will be a fraction of last year. The weeds have been mostly non-existent, but other than that it is a total failure in my book.

I searched the net for other people’s experiences. Most of what I found were folks planning to use the method because of the results in the movie. There were a few people with wonderful results though. I read the Teaming With Microbes after reading your post and now realize I have likely killed, or nearly so, my soil food web. We will be raking the remaining chips off after our pitiful harvest.

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)

Give Your Testimony of This Method

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 glean from your experience.

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  1. You are off base, mam, honestly. I see doubt, fear and other things here, and you simply are not hearing wisdom. I hope you pray on this, because you are doubting something which in fact does work,but you doubt it from the start since ” vegetables do not geow on the forest dloor” or how ever you spoke that. In the. Bible, God tells us that those that doubt, ars double minded will not receive any thing from the Lord. So if you doubt using chips and insist on othet things, fine just do that , but pleasedo not run down this method, when you are not following it as it has been shown, not believed init from the beginning.
    If i was you i would pray for the truth here, because i see there is errors in the things you speakand the attitude i hear as well.
    Your mind is set. Again, doubt from the start. That is your thinking, not from God. Please pray onthis. I speak this in a spirit of help and kindness as a help to you !

  2. The problem is alkaline versus acidic soil. Vegetables like alkaline soil, trees like acidic soil. Tree waste makes acidic soil (initially) and kitchen waste makes alkaline soil. It’s OK to use wood chips in the garden but they have to be decomposed at least where the plants roots are. Better to use wheat straw for the garden, and then put some wood chips on top of that once the plants are larger. Could use as a cover crop as well. Paul is firstly grows an orchid and is why wood chips make sense but because his soil is so good and he has a constant supply of compost and nitrogen so he can grow the permaculture guilds. The reason he had so much success is he probably had plenty of nitrogen from the chicken and needed heavy carbon as the offset. Ideally you would use more perennial food though for yhe veggies as well. I think it would be an amazing way to start your own orchard and berry patch, and then start to integrate veggies later as the soil improved. Notice he doesn’t leave a thick layer on his kitchen garden, just a thin sparse layer but mostly compost which makes sense for delicate plants. I find that tomatoes peppers and even root veggies do well with heavy mulch, it is just the lettuces that do better with bare top soil, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have heavy mulch underneath that is well composted

  3. I love the BTE film, but he is more relating his experience and what God has told him. I love that he asks God questions related to gardening, but God doesn’t tell everyone that same thing. We moved close to the BTE farm and plan to use his wood mulching system on our orchard like he does, because we inherited a large wood chip pile. I probably will stick with hay for mulching the garden, because hay is easier where we are. Maybe the real message of the film should be to ask God what to do on your farm.

    1. I understand your point, but what God was “saying” to him was ultimately a understanding that he should be appealing to created order for answers on how to manage his farm. While there is diversity in habitat, climates, even micro climates that we need to take into consideration as we steward the land we are responsible for under God, He’s not going to tell us to care for it outside of His order when we ask for His guidance. It’s the diversity that makes it so there is no uniform “Biblical” way to garden on the one hand, but on the other we are bound by the limits of the systems God puts into place. (Such as tomatoes won’t grow in a deep shaded forest, or I can’t plant a banana tree in my orchard here in Ohio. )

  4. There is a lot more to the back to eden then the wood chips and I would agree he dosnt explain to well. The thing he dosnt mention in the documentary but in videos on the you tube channel L2Survive is the wood chips were laid in the area of his orchids and his vegatable was chicken manure. Why the wood chips work in the orchids is because there us always a living root in the ground from his trees. And yes he does plant under his trees even plants where full sun is required like strawberries and they thrived in the shade if his trees. So watch the you tube channel L2Survive where he tapes yours and also q and a with Mr Paul and will learn a little more. Another great channel us I am organic gardening where he dies a lot of research and has become very educated in the back to eden method he explains things a lot better then Mr Paul.

  5. I used a very similar method in a new hone we lived in, in Southern California. The area had been citrus groves, was degenerated granite, very dry and little rainfall. We had some mowcurb put in and the area around our little grass lawn was all 'flower' beds….well, veggies have flowers , too!!! Now this DG (Degenerated Granite) was hard, you had to use a pick to plant a rose bush. When we mowed the grass I left the clippings in a black plastic bag in the sun so it got soft and stinky then spread it around whatever I planted in the flower beds. Then I topped it with shredded bark. I just continued this until the whole area was covered and repeated the process every year. We ended up with great soil….dark, viable full of worms kind of soil. I only fertilized the first 2 years we lived there. Everything grew well. Now we have moved to South Georgia and I started a wood chip garden. The mistake I think people make is that the wood chips are a bio degradable mulch, not a planting medium. You have to have some good dirt under there to start, or you spread out the chips and let them decompose, part them and plant in the dark, moist soil under neath. Weed control is definitely a plus. Now remember, the Back-to-Eden garden has been in situ for over 20 years with lots of chicken manure added in. And I would expect lots of garden patience.

  6. I know this is pretty old, but one thing right off the bat, if you listen to Paul on the videos he always recommends that you use fresh wood chips from the branches with as much green leaves as you can get. This will break down and become a slow compost. If you add more the next year you get even better results, and over time you only have to add them every several years

  7. Having visited Paul’s garden, spoken to him personally, and having tried this method with wood chips alone, I can say it works. The covering is the crucial element. No manure is needed, though it may help repair and restore damage soil more quickly.

    I think the missing ingredient many folks are overlooking is time. Rebuilding the soil biology and creating healthy soil doesn’t happen quickly and won’t produce consistent results right away. Folks used to instant gratification may struggle with this method, but the patient will be rewarded with abundance. Give it time.

    In our church’s back-to-eden garden, we spread chips in the Fall, planted in the spring, and had an amazing crop…of about 3/4 of what we planted. The next year, we had no trouble with anything we planted except carrots, and this year we are expecting even better results based on reports we’re hearing from other gardeners using this method that after 3 years the garden really begins to hit a stride of sorts. We don’t till, we don’t fertilize (chem or organic) we hardly weed at all, we apply no pesticides or use any kind of IPM, and we don’t WATER. This method works. Our produce is literally dripping when you cut into it. No fertilizer necessary when the soil is healthy.

    Please don’t take this as an attack, but it sounds like you’re putting a lot of faith in Elaine Ingham and the whole fungal vs biological theory. In Paul’s garden he doesn’t have these issues. pH isn’t an issue. Acid vs Alkaline isn’t an issue. Plants that like wet soils vs dry soils…not an issue. Fungal vs Bacterial? Not an issue.

    In our church garden I witnessed a row of broccoli plants, during the very first growing season. One got hit hard with aphids – covered! So I asked God to show me what’s going on here. The first answer was that this plant was weak, and the aphids were taking care of that one. I was even more blown away when the plants immediately next to that one didn’t suffer at all! Leaves touching, no aphids. So I was even more blown away when a few weeks later, after the aphids had eaten down the floret from that plant and gone away, that the plant produced three new heads, and over time they grew to be larger than the one the aphids had destroyed!

    Fast forward to this year. I’m listening to a lecture by Paul Stamets about how plants communicate danger to one another through fungal networks. Could this be how one plant was attacked and its neighbors didn’t suffer? And, surviving this attack, it was then strong enough to keep growing and produce? I knew right away in my spirit, almost as if God said to me, “remember that broccoli?”

    All I’m saying is, don’t get locked into one scientist’s rules about how nature ‘ought’ to work, but trust in the awesome creator and how God created nature to actually work. Science will always be playing catch up in our human efforts to comprehend God’s creation, but sometimes we get it right. Let nature be God’s classroom.

    Blessings to you and your garden!

    1. I’m glad that you’ve had such amazing results Galen! Thank you for sharing your experience.

      With all due respect though I feel the need to clarify that I do NOT trust in science AT ALL to show me how nature works and that I indeed look at the wisdom of the Creator who did not create annual plants to grow in the soil of the forest floor.

      Paul clearly said in BTE that his starting point was looking at how the forests didn’t experience the problems he was having in his vegetable gardens. But what he failed to see was that there were no *annual* plants growing there. I think that BTE would be an awesome answer for permaculture folks looking to create a food forest from perennial food producing plants. 🙂

      What we’re seeing at work here is God’s design for a covering of the earth.

      And it doesn’t matter what form that takes on. I can get free hay mulch in abundance, I have relatively few issues with my organic gardens, and my vegetables also have literally dripped and that’s after only one season of hay mulch so that’s what I’ll continue to use.

      I will also continue to encourage other folks to find whatever mulch they can find in order to cover the soil and protect the fungi, bacteria, earthworms, and all other sundry creatures living and working in the soil, prevent erosion, and reduce their workload of watering and weeding…and not to trust in the extra-Biblical visions of one man.
      In Christ,

  8. I know my comment is coming a bit late..sorry. I understand that Paul says to look at the forest floor which is one of the most abundant ecosystems found in nature. When i look at the forest floor, I see leaves, lots of leaves and maybe 5-10% woods from fallen logs which would break down very slowly because of the size of a log. I also see very small amounts of shedded bark and pine straw mixed in. This forest is an old-growth forest with an upper canopy of hardwoods such as oaks and pine mixed in. The bottom line is that it is a mixture of mostly leaves.

    I have been experimenting with leaves as mulch for 3 years now and I find it to be a superior mulch. The soil is absolutely teeming with soil life…after the first year. I do not shred it. We just rake them in the fall and distribute them over the beds and around plants and it breaks down over the winter and by spring, i already have rich hummus. It began with deciding to use what I had but I had tried other mulches and they were not as good.

    I would like to note that all soil is covered, even in the meadows, it is covered with dying grasses and weeds. Nature does not like bare soil. It would be interesting to experiment with hay around annuals with perhaps some leaves mixed in. Frankly I just throw down what i have. When I have a pile raked up and I see that it has a higher concentration on pine needles, then I place that mulch around my blueberries, azaleas, etc. Leaves around everything else but i would like to experiment with using some hay around annuals and see how that goes.

    Important: Never mix in what you add, just lay it on top.

    This is just my method. It is how I do it and my garden thrives. Sometimes, in the fall, I also scatter horse manure in the beds but it is really just every now and then. Mainly i tuck in compost scraps here and there or scatter them here and there and call it a day. Mainly, leaves are what I see on the forest floor and grasses in the fields. Just sayin. 🙂

    1. Thank you for your comment. 🙂 I do agree with you (and Paul) about the great abundance of life found in the forest floor, but where I begin to disagree is that what you don’t find growing there are annual vegetables so I worry that many people are going through a lot of effort to source wood chip mulch when they ought to be actually doing exactly what YOU are doing- looking to find the most inexpensive and readily available mulching materials. For most Americans, that’s in the form of grass clippings, hay, straw, and leaves. I cringed every time I saw a leaf pile being burnt this fall. That’s good dirt blowing away in the breeze! Thank you for sharing your methods- it sounds like you have a wonderful soil worthy of envy! Blessings 🙂

  9. It takes 3 years for the wood chips to break down initially before it will benefit your garden, also when you add in your compost over the wood chips you do not have to work it in. The rain will bring the compost down below the wood chips into the soil without you lifting a finger.
    The benefits outweigh the cost of tilling your garden with compost, watering, weeding, not to mention the minerals the wood chips add to the soil.

    1. Thanks for the 3 year info on the woodchip results. I started doing the woodchips over 1 and 1/2 years ago. I had great results on flowering shrubs, fruit trees, berry bushes. I had mixed results on my veggies. I think the pine chips and needles, weren’t composted down enough initially for the tender lettuce type veggies. They did okay but not great. Bigger veggies with stems did just fine like beets, squash, kale, swiss chard. My beans were getting eaten by slugs and insects so I troubleshooted and put a layer of compost on top of the chips and got improvement. I also noticed that my raised beds where I had compost then a layer of chips then a fall layer of compost followed by more chips did the best with veggies for some reason. The tomatoes, lettuce, kale, tomatilloes in this sandwiched bed retained moisture and health and were thriving even in 90+ f heat. I got a little worried because some people say don’t mix in the woodchips under soil. I layered them and thought a hugelkulture has wood under soil and compost and the chips are smaller than most hugel wood so I figured I’d be okay and I was. I’m hoping for more of the miracle results I saw on my roses where I got ten times the blooms from pre woodchips. I also had 4 to 5 times the growth on a daphne plant, a red currant, bush, and lavendar plants in clay soil in North Idaho. I had one cherry tree that I thought was dead for years and I put woodchips on it and then composted manure on top and the tree came back to life from the original tree and is full of leaves and even had 2 blooms on it, so I am quite pleased. I’m looking forward to the continued improvement on my veggies, so thanks for the timeline and encouragement.

  10. In response, i have a small backyard garden. After watching BTE film, i was compelled to transit my small garden into a 'success' using those methods.

    First, I gathered fertile soil around forest trees then provided tree leaves as cover aftred transplanting tomatoe seedlings. Now, looking at my garden – it has come to pass. Success. All green. Most fruitful. Compared to last produce this is something else – ever increasing tomatoe so i don't worry about pests & deseases ANIMORE!

  11. You must also understand that it is not JUST the mulch that makes the garden successful. It also is the chicken manure or fertilizer that Paul talks about in the film. This is most important. Like he said on YouTube, “if you don’t have chickens you can use fish emulsion or other types of fertilizer for the first year or two”. Wood chips alone will not work. It also takes patience to wait on the results, a few years at least. I have been doing this for 8 months on an existing garden and it has been astounding! So listen to some videos on youtube in depth more on what he says including his strawberries, chickens, potatoes etc. Happy gardening!

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more! 🙂 Manure is essential for any gardener to build fertility, organic material, and to feed the soil food web. It’s all the more important to use as a finger in the dyke if you are mulching with wood chips as the chips will ultimately work against the soil food web that the annual vegetable garden needs to thrive (see link to rethinking mulch gardening in the post), as I think is clear from Kim’s experience. It wasn’t until the manure was added to her garden that it began to recover. It’s important to remember that not all manure is created equal and any that come from animals treated with prophylactic antibiotics, hormones, or medications should be avoided by the organic gardener.

  12. This comment was left on the blog’s Facebook page & I really appreciated the wisdom in it: “The issue is that wood chips used to amend soil will generally cause issues since they pull nitrogen out and it takes time for it to decompose to where it gives it back. I cannot remember if it was in the movie or the extra but one person touched on this.
    I use wood chips, when I can get them, simply to protect the soil and keep moisture in. They do a good job of minimizing erosion and retaining the moisture but this can also be done with other mulches.

    I think the bigger issue is the hard stance I have heard some people take that make this method to be the “biblical” way to do things. God said man was going to till, or work, the soil (Gen 2:5) so that is what we need to do. We do need to be good stewards of the land that has been entrusted to us and we should see how God works around us. But different land and different plants take different tilling. The “biblical”method is to rely on God and see that all we do is done to glorify God and not man. The BTE way may work some place and not others just as blueberry plants like low Ph and others high. There is no one right way but there is one right motive and that is doing all for God’s glory.”- KH

  13. We tried BTE this season and had excellent results as well. Living in Texas where the summers are hot and not very wet there is a huge need for watering if you expect to keep your garden alive.
    On the beds where we put the paper and then chips, we hardly watered at all! And our tomato harvest was through the roof! They just kept bearing fruit when last year at that time the plants were spent.
    I highly recommend BTE and wholeheartedly agree…. DON’T till your chips in!

    Janet.. mamachildress

    1. Oh, there’s no doubt that mulching- any type of mulching- will reduce or eliminate your need to irrigate. Last year the tomato harvest in our hay mulched garden surpassed the previous year by 20 pounds, which isn’t too terribly much I know, but it was the worst drought we’ve had in 2 decades and the year before had been very wet. I’m glad your garden did so well this year and that you didn’t have to spend all season managing the sprinkler Janet 🙂 Blessings!

  14. I started building a BTE garden last summer and used it for the first time this year. First I laid several layers of newspaper, wood chips, grass clippings and straw from the chicken coop. I had wonderful success and would recommend it. After the crops came up I added grass clippings between the rows. I had very few weeds and they were very easy to pull out. I also did not water the garden and we have not had any rain since the middle of July.

    My daughter swore my plants were on “speed” because everything was so huge and and I had a huge amount of food from the small garden. This fall I will add more straw from the chicken coop and mulched leaves to get it ready for next year.

  15. We had a smallish garden last year, and we covered it with wood chips. This year we expanded and the rest of the new beds were mulched with black plastic. The wood chip bed was fine for kale, but the squashes that were HUGE in plastic were tiny and stunted and died. I am not sure if we didn’t amend enough or if it was the chips. But at the moment I am not planning on using the wood chips anymore. The yield from that one bed was non-existent while the rest of the garden flourished.

  16. I used the BTE method for 2 years. We just sold our house so will have to start again as soon as we buy a new place. I am a new gardener so made lots of mistakes, I’m sure. The soil under our wood chips this year was great. I had a great harvest for the most part. I would definitely do it again. However, if we don’t have access to free wood chips we’ll probably go more the lasagna gardening route. I’m just not sure about the lasagna garden method. I’ve seen it done in my friends garden and hers stinks a lot from the grass and it’s very messy. I don’t know if that’s typical though.

    1. Regardless of which method you go with, if you begin next year with soil that hasn’t had vegetables growing and taking nutrients with them from the soil year after year, you should have very few difficulties with bugs, yields etc… especially if you mulch the garden and don’t have to worry about irrigation. Problems will come into play in later years when the ground has less fertility (especially with slow decomposing wood chips taking so long to give any returns) Try to come with a game plan for giving back to the fertility of the ground so it happens later rather than sooner. At any rate, it sounds like you’re in for a successful harvest next year! 🙂

      1. This past year was my first with BTE after lots of gardening that had included lots of weeding. This year – almost no weeds! But I have a question: I don’t have chickens or access to manure, but i have LOTS of aged compost I build over the summer and have always used it to replenish the soil. I plan to put another layer of chips on soon, so should I put the compost on over the new chips? Will the compost work it’s way down?

        1. it will work its way down when it rains, like a compost tea. DO NOT till it in! 🙂

    2. Bte is great for permanent plants not ones that a pulled out like lettuces etc. Don’t ever mix your soil with chips.