Gift Living Flowers
Cut flower bouquets are a traditional Valentines Day gift but what gardeners really love are living flowers! Give her the gift of growing living flowers this year! It is an uplifting way to fight the winter blues and you can also have fun transplanting them together in the spring! As you nurture your plants growth together you'll be reminded of your love for one another for years to come.
BUY GROW INDOORS STARTER BAGS
BUY WILD FLOWERS AND POLLINATOR SEEDS
If you're new to seed starting, begin with easy, reliable seeds, including zinnia, marigold and cosmos. These all germinate easily and grow quickly.
Couples that Grow Together Stay Together!
BIODEGRADABLE GIFT WRAPPING
No matter what you give, take the time to wrap your gift and write a handmade card! It makes that special someone feel valued and show that you care. You don't have to be wasteful to make a gift look wonderful. This biodegradable wrapping paper can even be re-used in your garden and the twine can be used for many garden projects. DIY: Be creative and adorn with leaves or flowers!
Thanks for checking out our Valentines Day living flowers and herbs gifting ideas!
Back to Eden Film, already seen it? Consider gifting it to a friend for Valentines Day! After all what says 'I love ya pal' more than the gift of learning how to healthy food for a lifetime!?
Article by Dana Richardson, Back to Eden Film producer & gardener.
Hello gardeners worldwide! Today we will answer some of the myths and facts about mulch and termite problems. Our goal is to teach you how to avoid termites in mulch. Let me start this article by saying that Paul Gautschi has never had an issue with termites nor have we heard testimonies of any gardeners having termite problems due to wood chip mulch. Nevertheless, one of the common concerns we receive from gardeners is, "does wood chip mulch attract termite infestations?"
What is the best mulch to use to avoid termites?
Did you know that some types of wood chips deter termites and are even toxic to termites!? Cedar, cypress heartwood, melaleuca, southern tidewater red cypress and California redwood are not edible to termites and decrease a termites chance of survival. Research has proven that Cypress heartwood extracts actually are one of the most effective natural repellents of termites. If you are concerned about termites or already have a termite infestation, ask for one of these types of trees mulch when you sign up for a wood chip delivery. The Chip Drop App is free to sign up for and allows you to make special requests such as this.
Does mulch attract termites?
Although termites like feeding high cellulose organic matter, wood-based mulches aren't going to provide termites with a source for heavy feeding.
Drywood termites are the most common termites to infest your home. This is because drywood termites feed on dry wood, obviously! They will usually feed on your home's framing, structural timbers, hardwood floors and furniture. However, drywood do not make contact with the soil. They are able to survive with the little bit of water they find in the dry wood they inhabit. Because drywood termites don’t make contact with the soil, putting mulch in your garden shouldn’t affect their population or provide an attractive food source for them. Furthermore since their colonies infrastructures are made up of long tunnels that enable them to work together their ability build this infrastructure in wood chips is not possible.
The second most common termites species are dampwood termites like the Subterranean Termite. Dampwood termites do like moist wood and often can be found eating dead or decaying tree stumps and logs. Again, they work in colonies so wood chips don't provide an ideal structure to build tunnels in like they can in a decaying log for example. Although dampwood would find a layer of mulch an attractive habitat to nest underneath, they rarely are less likely to infest buildings do to their affinity to feeding on wet organic matter, not dry structures. In the case they do try to infest a building they would enter at ground level or have to build mud tunnels to enter through an existing opening into in a house. This enables them to travel without contacting sunlight since sunlight kills termites. Bottom line, although an existing dampwood termite colony may enjoy a moist garden mulch habitat they are not likely to infest your home unless your home has an already existing rotting wood problem. Keep mulch away from your foundation to prevent problems.
Will Wood Chip Piles Have Termites In Them?
A termite would not normally live through the chipping process that is used to create wood chip mulch. Even if a few termites were to survive the wood chipper, they wouldn’t survive long after being separated from their colony. Additionally, termites that feed on mulch have a lower rate of survival when compared to a termite that feeds on solid wood. In conclusion, chances of having an infestation of termites brought to your home from a wood chip load is very slim and unlikely. Furthermore have you seen the heat that comes off a turned wood chip pile?! This is a naturally purifying factor in the composting process of wood chip piles that makes them an unlikely habitat for most bug infestations.
How to Avoid Termites in Your Home
Even though wood chips are not an attractive food source for termites, they do like moist soil. So, if you already have a termite infestation in your soil the moisture from the mulch could be an attractive area for them continue to survive. To avoid problems, reduce excess moisture around the siding of your home. If your wood chip mulch is laid down right up to the side of your home, rake it back 12-24 inches to give some space where the dirt lays bare. This will prevent excess moisture around your home that will prevent not only termites but also rotting. Also, make sure your sprinklers aren’t spraying the side of your house to avoid too much moisture at your foundation.
Natural Remedies for Termites
Remember, termites are a natural part of the ecosystem. They are actually one of many insects that help break down wood into compost. So once you've removed the threat from them damaging your home you need not attack them for harmlessly doing their job outdoors. When the termites population has not gotten out of control it is probably due to another disruption in the local ecosystem, solve that first. Are you watering too much near your foundation? Is mulch too close to your home causing overly wet soil? Are decaying logs or dead plants touching your house? If so, fix this and the nature will rebalance on its own.
IF you have wood chips in your garden or in a pile that DO have termites in them do NOT spray it with insecticide! Not only will you create a toxic growing material you will also kill all of the beneficial organisms that are vital to process of decomposition of wood chips into compost. Even using organic sprays is against the principles of growing with sustainable permaculture methods since it can kill beneficial organisms.
The following remedies are recommended for use in or around your home. Although they are non-toxic I'm not sure how your vegetables or beneficial organisms will respond to large amounts of them. If you have a termite problem inside your home, don’t panic and grab toxic pesticides either! There are other very effective solutions that wont hurt you and your family as well. We’ve already shared that Cedar and Cypress heartwood are great naturally toxic to termites so it’s no surprise Cedar Oil is one effective solution that’s safe for humans. Orange Oil or clove bud oils are other effective, non toxic, termite repellents and they smells great too! Many forward thinking pest control companies are beginning to offer these non toxic termite repellents as part of their offered fumigation treatments.
DIY Organic Garden Insect Repellent
Researchers found that garlic oils are one of the best for termite elimination. Although it wouldn't smell great indoors its perfect for garden use! First, Paul recommends focusing on getting the plant or tree healthy so it can defend itself from infestations naturally. If all else fails Paul Gautschi uses his garden fresh garlic and cayenne peppers thrown in a blender with water and applied via a sprayer bottle to help solve a bad insect infestation. The cool thing is these ingredients can be grown yourself and are safe for use on your vegetables and fruits! Watch Paul and organic gardening experts discuss handling pest issues in gardens holistically below.
Bottom line and Conclusion
Putting wood chips mulch in your yard won’t start a termite problem. If you already have a termite problem, take care of it with a natural treatment before adding a ton of mulch to your yard and keep mulch 6-12 inches from your foundation to avoid issues. Remember some mulches prevent and eliminate termites! So ask for a delivery of wood chips that contain the trees listed above.
It's simple, put down your wood chips a safe distance from structural foundations and watch the incredible results in your Back to Eden vegetable garden melt away any worries you had in your mind!
Gardening with Wood Chips
Watch the Back to Eden Film on DVD to own helpful Wood Chip Gardening FAQ videos answered by master gardener Paul Gautschi. Or watch them for free when you buy Back to Eden to download On Demand. Please follow us on facebook to read the first hand success stories of Back to Eden gardeners!
The information shared in this article is gleaned from research shared on Orkin, Terminix and SFGate articles as well as first hand experiences shared from Back to Eden gardeners testimonies worldwide.
This article was written by Dana Richardson, co-producer of Back to Eden Film.
INTRO TO PAUL'S KOMBUCHA RECIPE
The first time I ever heard of kombucha was from Paul Gautschi during the making of Back to Eden Film in 2010. Sarah Zentz (co-producer) and myself spent an amazing year with Paul learning and documenting his gardening methods to share with the world through our documentary. He mentioned it one day to us as a health recommendation and our first responses were "kom...bu...what?" Although the origins of kombucha are thought to date back to ancient China or Japan, to us it was something completely new! In fact, at the time kombucha was a lesser known secret among most people and only available at speciality stores. Now it has become a popular beverage found in most major grocery stores for a whopping $4.00+ per bottle!
Of course Paul Gautschi was one of the pioneers who was "in on the kombucha secret" long before it hit the shelves! In his usual freely giving character Paul took the time to freely share his personal kombucha recipe instructions with us. He even gave us one of his SCOBY starters to use. SCOBY is an acronym for "symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast." I started brewing my own kombucha with Paul's recipe and have been hooked on it ever since. Now you can try it too! It will not only save you tons of money, you will also be able to ensure it's ingredients are pure and adapt it to your personal taste preferences.
"Health is something that is maintained not something that is achieved."
HEALTH BENEFITS OF KOMBUCHA
KOMBUCHA RECIPE: HOW TO MAKE KOMBUCHA AT HOME
1. Boil Water: Bring filtered water to a boil in your glass cookware. You don't want to add any extra chemicals like chlorine to your brew so make sure it's not just tap water.
2. Dissolve Sugar: Remove your boiling water from the heat and carefully pour in the sugar to the water. Gradually stir in the sugar with your wooden spoon until it dissolves. Don't skip out on adding the full amount of sugar. This is what the culture "feeds" on to grow a healthy kombucha brew.
3. Brew Tea: The best tea bags to use are organic and do not have staples on the bags. If your tea bags do have staples carefully remove them before brewing your tea. No metal allowed! :) Add the tea bags to the water and cover with a lid to allow to steep until the water has cooled to room temperature. Depending on the size of your pot, this could take a few hours. I like to put mine in the fridge on a heat safe surface to cool faster. You can discard your used your tea bags to your garden compost bin!
4. Add Kombucha Starter Liquid: Once the tea is cool, remove the tea bags. Now you can stir in the starter liquid from the store bought bottled kombucha. (The starter tea makes the liquid acidic, which prevents unfriendly bacteria from taking up residence in the first few days of fermentation.) Make sure the kombucha is cooled to room temp. because the heat will kill the living cultures.
5. Add the SCOBY: Pour the mixture with and the SCOBY into your sterilized 1-gallon glass jar. Wash your hands to prevent any contamination into your brew.
6. Cover the Jar: Cover the mouth of the jar with a few layers of cheesecloth and secure it with a large a rubber band. It should fit snug. This is what allows the brew to "breathe" in order to properly ferment while keeping our any unwanted particles.
7. Ferment in a Dark Location: Keep the jar at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, and in a safe place it will not be disturbed. Allow it to ferment for at least 7 to 14 days, checking the kombucha and the scoby periodically. I have found for the first batch it takes a little longer than the subsequent batches.
8. Bottle, Chill, Taste: After seven days, begin tasting the kombucha daily by pouring a little out of the jar and into a cup. It will be slightly bubbly to the taste and not overly sweet when it is ready to drink. The longer you allow it to ferment the less sweet it will become. Paul's preference is a less sweet kombucha usually 10 to 14 days of fermenting. Once it is ready either pour the kombucha liquid (without the SCOBY) into your second gallon jar or funnel it into your glass bottles. Seal the ready to drink kombucha jar with a lid or plastic wrap and store it in your fridge. When your kombucha is stored and sealed in the fridge it will not continue to ferment. Keeping it sealed helps keep it pure of contaminants and prevents it from going flat.
9. Serve: Most people prefer to drink the kombucha chilled and without the SCOBY remnants. The SCOBY particles won't hurt you, it's simply more palatable. Pour your kombucha slowly or use your cheese cloth to filter it for drinking. You can mix it with your favorite organic juice in your glass to enhance the taste. Most of sugar ferments away, but I always rinse my mouth with water or brush my teeth after drinking anything sweet.
Bottom Line: It may look gross but it's worth it for the end results!
9. Repeat: Always mark on your calendar or keep track of when you made your kombucha and schedule a reminder of when to create your next batch. Paul recommended we use two 1 gallon jars to create a brewing/drinking cycle. He would wait 10-14 days for his kombucha to brew and then use 1 glass gallon jar to for Drinking Kombucha to store in his fridge and the second 1 gallon glass jar for Brewing Kombucha. He would make a new batch of kombucha tea to brew on the same day he would put the drinking kombucha in the fridge. This way by the time he consumed the drinking kombucha the second batch was ready to begin consuming. *Remember to always leave about 2 cups of the previous kombucha liquid in the Brewing Jar with the SCOBY when making a new batch.
Over time your SCOBY will continue to grow in layers in your gallon jar. It is normal for it to appear white with some brown sediment and bubbles. This is all part of a normal, healthy fermentation process. It should smell slightly sour like vinegar with a sweet aroma. Periodically you will need to remove some of the layers of the SCOBY when they fill the glass jar too much. You only need about 2-4 inches of SCOBY to remain in your Brewing Jar. The Kombucha SCOBY is actually high in probiotics, vitamins and protein. Therefore, Paul feeds the discarded SCOBY's to his chickens or sometimes even his dog! Yummy! They love it and turn it into fertile compost! If you don't have chickens or a hungry dog you can still add it to your compost bin to eventually dress your Back to Eden garden soil.
Safety and Alcohol Content
The longer you allow the kombucha to ferment the higher the alcohol content will be and the less the sugar content will be. It has been tested that kombucha is usually only 0.01% to 3% alcohol content, depending on how long you allow it to ferment. It is not enough alcohol to get drunk when consuming a 1-2 glasses.
If your kombucha starts to smell or taste rotten you know that something is not right and the batch should be thrown out. It could actually make you very sick to drink contaminated kombucha. This would usually occur if the brew fermented for too long (over 2-3 weeks). It could also occur due to contamination of unwanted bacteria, not getting enough oxygen or not having enough sugar. So make sure your tools and clean and follow the instructions. In all my years of making kombucha I have never experienced any negative results. However, take precautions and use care like any home fermenting process. Make kombucha at your own risk and consume it wisely.
Written By Kevin Author and Creator of Epic Gardening
Have you heard of the Back to Eden gardening method? If not, you should. This gardening technique will greatly improve your soil tilth and fertility over time. It promises a major reduction in tough weeds and the ability to grow almost everywhere. Water conservationists should rejoice, as this technique is great for drought conditions.
But what exactly is the Back To Eden gardening method? Let’s break it down to a barebones layout of how it works and how to do your own. It does take time, but it will reduce your labor over future years and make gardening an enjoyable, easy task.
Back to Eden gardening is a layering method which develops good soil structure. Source: Wellington Family Farm
For the first time we are releasing the pruning Bonus Features from the Back to Eden Film DVD for free streaming online! Paul Gautschi is a professional, master arborist. In addition to pruning trees in his local community, he prunes trees on his property every Winter! If you would like to learn how to prune fruit trees (apple, plum, fig and more) then you don’t want to miss this amazing video! Paul Gautschi's pruning techniques are renowned due to the artful and visually stunning results of his trees. One of the benefits of properly pruning trees is the increase in fruit production!
January Pruning Workshop
Want to attend a pruning workshop? Please be courteous and contact Paul in advance to find out any upcoming workshop dates and to notify Paul that you will be attending! We encourage that you bless Paul with a donation if you attend his free pruning workshop. Located at Paul's home orchards in Sequim, Washington.
Best Tools to Prune Your Own Fruit Trees
Back to Eden gardening is not just a food growing method, it's a way of life. Back to Eden gardening is about simplicity, abundance and harmony. It's about getting back to the way life in the garden should be! Thats why we have created a custom list of unique tools and gifts that are intended for Back to Eden gardeners specifically. Happy gardening!
Thought the gardening season was over?! In Back to Eden gardening, Fall is the perhaps the most vital season to give your garden some extra love and care. Just like in nature when leaves are falling and nourishing the soil in the fall, now is also the time to put your woodchip covering down before the winter.
Today we are going to share a simple but important fall Back to Eden Gardening to do list that will ensure an amazing and successful coming gardening season!
FALL BACK TO EDEN GARDEN TO DO LIST:
1. PUT THE COVERING DOWN
Get Free Woodchips to using the Free Chip Drop App today!
Be kind to your baby soil and cover her with a living blanket this winter! Adding to your covering will act as a slow release fertilizer, enriching the soil with rain and snow during the winter month for better gardening in the spring. It will also help the ground temperature stay warmer for your winter crops and fruit trees. Not tilling preserves prevents the loss of topsoil and allows living microbes in the soil critters to cycle nutrients and maintain fertility. Add about 4 inches of woodchips to your garden plot. If they are not composted now they will be by the spring!
It's so easy to weed in woodchips! In fact, when you put the covering down, it will do the weeding for you! Make sure when you add your covering to add at least 4 inches of woodchips to smother the weeds. Put down newspaper roll or cardboard first if its a new garden plot. If you just add a thin layer of woodchips over a weed infested garden plot it will actually make your weeds grow bigger!
3. KEEP COLD WEATHER CROPS MULCHED
In Paul Gautshi's gardens and orchards in Sequim Washington winter is mild enough to have a winter garden! Due to the soil warming benefits of the mulch covering, even with several inches of snow and below freezing temperatures Paul's grows root vegetables like Beets, Carrots and Potatoes, Greens like Kale, Spinach, Cilantro and other cold weather crops. Onions, Garlic, Shallots, Asparagus, Peas, are some of the hardy winter vegetables that can endure cold weather. These should be planted in the early fall in order to grow during the winter months.
"The beets in my Back to Eden garden this fall were absolutely enormous! And they were still sweet and tender?!"
- Mark McOmber, Back to Eden Film Gardener.
4. WATCH BACK TO EDEN DVD BONUS FEATURES
Paul Gautschi describes how to use woodchips in depth in the Back to Eden Film Bonus Features including Frequently Asked Questions about The Covering and Soil Preparation. It's an invaluable resource for new and experienced gardeners! Gift Back to Eden DVD today and learn the secrets that got millions of people to love gardening.
BACK TO EDEN GARDEN SOIL PREP TOOLS!
Spreading woodchips is a still a breeze with a strong and reliable razorback rake. You'll will save your body from aches and straining by making spreading mulch easier. Click on the image (right) to see more about our recommended gardening rake.
Shoveling woodchips can be time consuming, but using a deep scooping mulch shovel will save you time and energy. Click on the image (right) to see more about our recommended mulch shovel.
See more recommended gardening tools and resources in our STORE
Have you been wondering if you can do Back to Eden Gardening in raised beds or containers? The answer is yes! Whether your in an urban setting and don’t have space or you have back pain or gopher problems, contained gardens can be very useful!
Back to Eden Gardening in Raised Beds:
1. Build the raised bed frame using untreated wood. Measure the bed to be at least 12 inches deep. Leave the bottom of the raised bed open to the soil. This way the roots can still reach the soil below and transform the top soil. Also, beneficial microorganisms like worms will be able to naturally inhabit your raised bed.
2. Securely staple in a layer of galvanized steel gopher wire as the base. Cut diagonals at the the edges of the wire sheet so you can fold them inwards flush to the interior corners of the raised bed. See photo below (left). If you don't have gopher problems you can skip installing the wire layer.
3. The main principle to consider that differs from other Back to Eden gardens is that you will ideally need at least 12 inches or more of composted organic matter as a growing base before adding the woodchips on top. Examples of compost to use as a BTE raised bed garden base include composted organic manure, composted and filtered woodchips, mushroom soil or vegetable compost. Whatever you use, make sure it is a clean, non-toxic source. In the photo above (right) we used composted horse manure.
4. Simply follow the BTE method adding 2-4 inches of woodchips on top.
5. It’s ready to part the woodchips, plant seeds in the compost below the raw woodchip layer and enjoy!
6. The composted material will break down significantly after one year. To add more to your raised bed garden simply rake the woodchips to the sides of the bed, shovel in more compost and rake the chips back over. Then cover with several more inches of woodchips. Remember to never till the woodchips into the soil.
To be clear, Paul does not use raised beds in his gardens. Paul Gautschi uses composted and filtered woodchips as a growing material in this primary home garden directly on the ground. This example is brought to you by the filmmakers of Back to Eden. We have successfully grown in BTE raised beds and containers from California to Pennsylvania.
Back to Eden in containers and pots:
In urban settings you may not have the space for a raised bed. If you only have a porch to grow on you can still grow potted edibles easily to access fresh lettuces, tomatoes, squash, herbs, blueberries, even fruit trees! ANYTHING that grows well in your climate will grow beautifully in pots with the Back to Eden gardening methods.
1. Pour 12 inches or more of composted organic matter as a growing base before adding the woodchips on top. Examples of compost to use as a BTE raised bed garden base include composted organic manure, composted and filtered woodchips, mushroom soil or vegetable compost. Whatever you use, make sure it is a clean, non-toxic source.
2. Simply follow the BTE method adding 2-4 inches of woodchips on top.
5. It’s ready to part the woodchips, plant seeds in the compost below the raw woodchip layer and enjoy!
6. The composted material will break down significantly after one year. To add more to your pots simply shovel off the woodchips on top and set aside in a bucket. Next, shovel in more compost dump the removed woodchips back over the top. Then add with several more inches of woodchips as needed. Remember to never till the woodchips into the soil.
7. Don't allow perennial plants to become root bound. Move them to larger containers as they grow larger.
TIP: Since plants in pots don't have the benefit of containing the beneficial micro-organisms that healthy organic soil contains in nature, it is a huge help if you can add some to your pots. If you have access to compost with worms in it add as much as possible to your pots! Otherwise, at your local nursery ask for earth worms to add to your pots to help them get started.
Learn how to grow a vegetable garden. Whether you are a beginner or experienced gardener, you can learn the basics of planting an organic garden. Paul Gautschi, Founder of Back to Eden Gardening, teaches you a sustainable, no-till, organic gardening method that is capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world. Learn how to grow a vegetable garden with less labor, less water, and experience superior harvests!