We first watched “Back to Eden” by Paul Gautschi three years ago. It really resonated with us! Paul encourages a no-till, organic, non-GMO garden, with a covering of mushroom manure compost and wood chips. We were already doing most of those things, but the last two were new to us. We gave it a try, and realized immediately the benefits he describes. The weeds became easy to pull because the soil was loose. Our plants grew really well and produced fruits and vegetables abundantly. We didn’t have to water as often because the wood chips held moisture.
Naturally, it takes time to build a great garden, and after three years, we have realized a few things. Firstly, Paul mentions digging up thistles, and we should have done that as well as dug up the dandelions and wild grasses. No amount of paper or wood chips stopped those weeds, and even if we didn’t pull everything, we should have been more diligent than we were to prepare the area. Secondly, our plants that grew the best were already started in pots of good soil or perennials, and we did have to apply fertilizer to help them get established. Paul notes in the video that that is to be expected at first. A lot of seeds have not germinated, even though I’ve tried not to plant them in the wood chips. Finally, we still water quite a bit compared to the implication in the video, but I assume that is to be expected for now as well.
Overall, however, the benefits are greater than the difficulties. We will continue adding mushroom manure and wood chips, and learning how to make our garden better each year. It is amazing how much food we are able to grow in a small space with minimal time and effort. I encourage you to watch the video, and I hope you enjoy it too!