Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My first Back to Eden garden

Last spring I hauled home 6 dump truck loads of wood chips from the local stock yard. I piled them up after bringing them home and watched them steam on cool mornings. I mulched around fruit trees and berry bushes with them, but most of the pile remained unused. Until this week.

After watching the Back to Eden film which details Paul Gautschi’s gardening technique, I was persuaded to give it a try. I had already sowed some fall greens in our main garden, and I didn’t want to disturb them (we’ve been eating some tasty salads for about a week now). One of our smaller garden areas had sweet potatoes in it, but it was time to get them out.

So, after harvesting about 20 bushels of sweet potatoes, and bringing in the basil plants to dry, it was time to create a Back to Eden garden. This particular garden plot is 50 feet by 75 feet.

The first step was to remove what weeds were left and then smooth out the remains of the ridges in which the sweet potatoes were grown. I used the disk to do that, although that wasn’t the only or best option. I wasn’t trying to work the soil up, just level it out a little.

Then, I hauled several truck loads of compost and dumped them on the garden. I used the tractor with a box blade to spread the compost as evenly across the garden as I could. 002It ended up being about one inch to two inches thick.

The next step was to haul wood chips. I hauled 6 or 7 truck loads, leaving about one truck load where the original pile was. Then, it was time to spread the chips across the garden as evenly as I could. I used my Bobcat for some of this, but a lot of the spreading had to be done manually, with a rake, hoe, shovel, and wheel barrow.

It took a couple of hours, but I was able to spread the wood chips across the garden to a depth of about 4 to 6 inches. It looks good, I think. Soon, I hope to plant some garlic and a few potatoes in it.

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