Wood Chips—The Secret to Effortless, Inexpensive Biodynamic Gardening
by Dr. Mercola
Tomorrow is the official first day of Spring! However, with spring comes the rains and with rain up sprout those enormous weeds invading your gardening plots! We hear countless horror stories of human vs. weeds struggling through back breaking labor and sore fingers. Worst of all, the labor of weed pulling seems to be in vain, the weeds seem to sprout right back up with the next rain shower. But don't give up hope yet! Theres a secret to eliminating weeds for good with less labor! Back to Eden gardeners worldwide are declaring their success to easier more effective weeding methods that are so simple they may just blow your mind!
In short, cover your bare ground with thick mulch and stop tilling! Don't forget that in areas with tenacious weeds you need apply the mulch deep enough to smother the weeds or the mulch will potentially increase the weed growth, acting as fertilizer! How thick should your mulch be? Back to Eden gardening founder Paul Guatschi recommends putting down 4 sheets of newspaper right on top of the weeds, dampen, then covering the area with at least 4-6 inches of wood chip mulch. In just about one month the weeds and newspaper will have decomposed into compost below the mulch and created fertile, clean soil below!
Read excerpts from the article Easy Gardening, No Weeding with Mulch, written by Tamara from The Reid Homestead below.
"In this article, I will explain the secret to easy gardening, no weeding! Gardening should be fun and therapeutic. It shouldn’t be all work! If you are working that hard where it is not enjoyable, you are doing something wrong! Often times, the weeds take over, and that is when folks give up. What if I were to tell you a simple gardening secret? Mulch! Mulch will prevent weeds, and benefit your plants in many ways as well!
There is a great article by The Old Farmer's Almanac that mentions Paul Gautschi and the Back to Eden Gardening method. Although we believe the stage of adding wood chips is not "optional" we are very happy to see the reference from such a reputable farming and gardening resource! Here is the reference:
"An optional extra stage is to top the compost with wood chips (or other organic matter such as hay), as popularized by organic gardener Paul Gautschi in his ‘Back to Eden’ method. Add the wood chips about two inches deep, making sure not to mix it into the compost beneath. Then simply push aside the wood chips to plant directly into the compost. This top layer helps slow down evaporation and gradually feeds the soil below, reducing the need for additional fertilizers."
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE: https://www.almanac.com/video/no-dig-gardening-no-till-gardening
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#1 Natural Health Website - by Dr.Mercola, June 21, 2014
5/ 5starsBack to Eden reveals a simple organic gardening method that can not only transform your personal garden, but may even be part of the solution needed on a more global scale as well.
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Watch the #1 Gardening Documentary for free at www.backtoedenfilm.com You will learn the best gardening tips needed to grow an organic garden. Back to Eden gardening is a no-till, organic, non gmo, and permaculture method that will transform the way you grow your own food!
I had the pleasure a year ago of viewing the "Back to Eden" documentary on the work of Paul Gautschi's carbon-centric gardening methods in the northwest. While Gautschi is essentially a vegetarian and I may not agree with every little thing he says, I think he's onto something revolutionary in gardening.
In many ways, it's a permutation of the Ruth Stout "No Work Garden Book," which rocked the organic gardening world 50 years ago. Essentially, this method uses year-round mulch rather than tillage to keep and prepare the garden. It eliminates soil moisture fluctuations and suppresses weeds. But in Gautschi's idea, the mulch is wood chips rather than leaves and grasses like Ruth Stout used. When I was in Australia recently, I spent a morning with a handful of young produce farmers who were using his methods and the plants looked spectacular.
Gautschi's story is compelling, simple, and practical. I was mesmerized by this documentary. I don't watch films much--of any stripe. So to watch it and not turn it off was truly remarkable. I encourage anyone currently gardening or contemplating having one to watch this documentary. You won't forget it.
Featuring 34 presentations from individuals leading the food growing movement, the Grow Your Own Food Summit featured Paul Gautschi as one of the main presenters! Paul's presentation, "Grow Your Own Healthy Food Easily by Modeling Mother Nature," was voted one of the top 5 presentations! Paul's presentation will teach you how growing your own food can change your life. Here are a few highlights of Paul's interview:
Did you miss the summit? That's okay! You can own all 34 presentations about the common challenges and necessities of growing your own food. You'll learn why this is the #1 thing you can do to improve the world!
Film Review by Eric Vinje; Planet Natural
In the battle over what constitutes healthy food, it’s no longer surprising to see the documentary film as an effective weapon, most often deployed on the side against corporate agriculture and for public health and well-being. Films including Food Inc (watch it here), 2004′s Supersize Me, a month of nothing but McDonald’s, and most recently Fed Up which implicates a government-corporate collaboration to promote and reward refined sugar, are all convincing, visual arguments of the dangers of the commercial food culture.
Broadly about food, these films are specifically about processed foods, organic and locally raised farming, the health consequences of certain refined foods and fast-food diets. Related films include GMO/OMG , a study of the corporate takeover of farming through seed production, GMOs, and related pesticides. Now even documentaries championing organic gardening are getting into the act.
One of the better gardening films is 2011′s Back To Eden from producers/directors Dana Richardson & Sarah Zentz. It’s the first film that I know of that makes mulch a superstar.
Back To Eden is about Paul Gautschi, called a “garden evangelists” by one person in the film, a man whose enthusiasm is as great as any you might have seen even though its directed at such a non-enthusiasm generating subject as garden mulch. God is the real co-star in this film, the designer of the original sustainable landscape whose secrets are there for those looking to find them. “God is a good guy,” Gautschi states at one point. “He gave us a sweet tooth.”
That secrets revealed to Gautschi start in a visit to the forest. There he discovers trees growing from a wonderful carpet of compost and organic matter. He decides to recreate those conditions in his garden. Followup lessons from on high include how deeply and in which layer to plant seed (in the soil, not the mulch on top) and that big wood chips will exhaust the soil of nitrogen as they slowly break down.
What Gautschi does is keep his soil protected under a layer of composted chips, shavings, and saw dust. And this results in something of a Xeric miracle. He never waters either his fruit trees or his vegetables. And he gets superb harvests. The general idea is similar to the technique of sheet composting, otherwise called the “no-dig” method. Gautschi claims to use nothing but a rake — not a spade, not a fork, not a hoe — in his garden.
Gautschi is also expert at composting. He includes nitrogen-providing greens to his wood chip browns and adds some manure, just as he did with his dad’s garden when a kid. He shows why adding a bunch of organic material to soil results in hard-pack at the end of the season. Hint: the answer has to do with having a variety of different-sized material in your compost to help hold oxygen and moisture.
Now it’s true that Gautschi has some regional advantages working for him. He lives on a homestead above Sequim, Washington on the state’s Olympic Peninsula. There’s plenty of wood chips and saw dust available because of the area’s abundant forests. A timber mill brings it in by the truckload and even though its in the “rain shadow” caused by the mountains wringing moisture from the clouds passing over them on the way to Sequim, it still gets some 16 inches a year. The cool, often cloudy climate helps keep evaporation down.
Yet his garden truly is a miracle and his method above reproach. We’d do some things differently. He keeps wide rows between his plants so that he can run the roto-tiller through. We’d mulch narrow paths between our vegetables and hope that kept the weeds down. And we’re curious about any pH adjustment he might do. He mentions pH balance among his principles at the beginning of the film but doesn’t address it later. Knowing soil conditions in the Great Northwest with its abundance of cedar and fir needles, we’d guess he’s throwing a lot of lime into his compost to keep the acid down.
Still, in a garden -specific way, this is a very charming and inspiring film. Mulches are important but there is a proper (and simple) way to use them. Gautschi himself is the most entertaining component of the film. His enthusiasm is contagious — “it’s like over-the-top-awesome,” he describes the taste of one vegetable — and his spiritual connection to his garden becomes something of a metaphor. The filmmakers have given us a fascinating look at this curious personality, a look you can enjoy even if you’re not of the same persuasion.
The film is available for free viewing online at the Back To Eden website above. Let us know what you think. I’m especially interested in people’s experience with mulch, what you use and where you get it. Water savings? Now that’s something we’d really like to hear about.
FULL ARTICLE: http://www.planetnatural.com/back-to-eden-film/