My Vegetable Back to Eden Garden

back to eden garden

Back to Eden … we hope.


A quick preview of my Vegetable Back to Eden Garden in my front yard.   I’ll be following this garden as the summer progresses.
In this post ‘Goods in the Garden’ Debra introduced me to Back to Eden. So glad she did. I’m giving it a go!

This is an experiment in improving my hard clay dirt and making my gardening efforts easier! Because I have really…. very….extremely…. hard dirt.

Did I say I have hard clay dirt?  And rock.  Yeah don’t forget the rock.

If you have not seen the Back to Eden Film you should check it out.   I’m not giving this method my complete 100% thumbs up just yet… but I’m very impressed.  I’m going to give it a shot.

Last summer I had a particular garden area that was doing very poorly.  I figured it couldn’t make it any worse so this is the perfect area to try this out.  We had to trim a bunch of trees for fire prevention (I live in wildfire area) so we took advantage of it and chipped all the branches we were trimming.  And covered the garden area with a thick layer.

I did immediately notice an improvement in the watering situation. Time will tell if it will actually improve the soil quality. Because I really do have hard clay dirt… oh I think I mentioned that already.  🙂

Some things I noticed and need to remember.

Some things I’ve seen in my research into this vegetable garden method are not made very clear in the film.  Check out the multitude of videos on you tube for some interesting insights.

It’s not JUST the bark.  Its the other additions too.  Amendments are added to the garden in the form of chicken manure and scratchings as well as the bark covering.  If you give this a shot be sure to keep that in mind.

Many start a garden this way by adding a thick layer of compost on the ground, covering that compost with a mulch of wood chips, and planting right in the rich compost underneath.   Look at you tube, there are many videos of people trucking in loads of already composted  material for a base layer.

In my case, I’m not starting out with a big layer of compost underneath the covering of bark.  We are adding some amendments to our soil and then covering… but it is still poor soil.  I simply can’t afford to buy a truck load of composted mulch to start out with.   My goal is to improve what I have.  If you are doing it this way, be realistic and know that it will take time.

I have little organic materials in our dirt. Nothing like the soil in Washington where Back to Eden Film was filmed. I’m not expecting a miracle.  But I’m hopeful!

We get less rainfall than Paul in Back to Eden gets.  He mentions that he never has to water even though they live in a dry climate.   Uhmmm I live where we only get a few inches of water a year…. I get even less than he does.  I do expect to water.  I also hope my watering needs will lessen more and more each year.  THAT would be cool.

So here is to my new experiment! I’ll keep you updated.

Who is that crazy woman who enjoys canning, a full pantry, and simplicity? Hi, I am Sharon, a simple woman in love with her hardworking husband, and home school mom of 4 sons.

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  1. Good luck with your Back to Eden Gardening. I was able to get two large trailers that an arborist friend had full of local wood chips. I already have a fairly good garden area, but am not planning on adding any additional compost other than what my chickens leave as they are scratching around in my garden. I am looking forward to watching the progress in your garden. Especially how it does with watering conditions in a dry area.

  2. A thick layer of leaves over the fall winter, kept more or less wet, may have been helpful to my hard unworkable clay soil. Bermuda grass had been growing in the garden area when I moved here, which I was able to clear out for the most part, except for random spots, here and there.

    I dug one up and the clay soil was wet far down (for very little significant rain this year) and crumbly with nice FAT worms. The layer of leaves on most of the area may have made the soil workable at least to some degree. If so, leaves are nice. 🙂

  3. Thank you for posting!
    I am trying to set my garden here up northern Europe, too.
    And proposing another movie for you: About finnish garden lovers. It is humoristic but with deep love to gardening.
    br, Kati

    • Thank you Kati, do you have a link to the movie itself? This link just goes to thier facebook page but I can’t find the movie. From the pictures on FB it looks interesting. I’d like to check it out.

  4. Veronica says:

    I too have covered my garden with lots of leaves and branches, I need to cut up the branches, as the one in back to Eden . I’ll try covering with whatever wood chips I find. Planning on plating veggies.

  5. When we lived in Illinois we could use wood chips that were free from the electric company when they were trimming in our area. The wood chips improved the heavy clay soil we had. We moved to NE Mississippi last year. We can not use wood chips because of the fire ants. They love decaying wood and moisture. This year we are making an attempt to remove the fire ants mounds that are near the gardens – fire ant bites hurt and they are vicious. The armadillos like to eat fire ants too. There are termites here too. We are using chicken, goat mature and vegetable compost to improve the soil.