Welcome to our “Back to Eden” gardening page!

The “Back to Eden” garden system is something that has been around for quite a while, but we just learned about it a few months back. Everything about it just seems to make good sense to us! After the initial work of placing the mulch, there is very little work that needs to be done! No more weeding, and very little watering.

If you’re not familiar with this growing system, you should check out the full documentary at this website: http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/

In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy checking out some of the ways we have used this system in our own yard. Enjoy!

Here we start our first Back to Eden project. In this video we are preparing our ground for growing corn. We start by laying several layers of newspaper and then topping it with 4-6 inches of wood chips. We were able to get our wood chips for free from our local township grounds department.

We we continue the project to actually begin planting the corn. We made trenches in the mulch to expose the ground beneath to plant the corn into. We then applied a layer of rock dust. This will re-mineralize the soil to make our crop healthier and more disease resistant. Next we applied some organic chicken manure based fertilizer. Finally, we topped everything off with a layer of worm castings. This should give our corn plants a good healthy start.

Once the corn reaches knee-high, we will rake the mulch back into the trenches. That will help to keep the weeds down, keep the soil moist, and help to keep the corn standing tall in strong winds.

Our next Back to Eden gardening project is a Berry Patch.

We have wanted a berry patch for a long time, so we decided to do this the same way we did our corn. Here, we are planting two blackberry bushes, two raspberry bushes, and three blueberry bushes.

Back to Eden Corn Patch – Update #1

This is an update for our previous video where we planted corn in our Back to Eden garden. The date is now July 5th and some of our corn is over 6-feet tall. It really seems to be doing good with this planting method; especially since we’ve been under drought conditions for over a month now.

Using this method, we have only had to water a couple times since the corn was first planted. Even then, we only watered since we were adding compost tea!

Back to Eden Corn Patch – Update #2

This is an update for our previous video where we planted corn in our Back to Eden garden. The date is now July 12th and our corn is nearly 7-feet tall. Here you can see the difference in the two varieties of corn we planted. These were Silver Queen and Bodacious. Even though the Bodacious corn is shorter right now, it has developed ears first. It looks like the Silver Queen variety is much taller in size, but maybe a little slower to start producing ears. However, both varieties look great despite the drought conditions we’re under this year.

Things really seem to be doing good with this Back to Eden planting method; especially since we’ve been under drought conditions for about six weeks now.

13 Responses to “Our “Back to Eden” Gardens”

  • Marilyn says:

    I thought you were to put compost on the newspapers before adding the wood chips. That is what I see on YouTube etc

    • admin says:

      Yes, that is correct! You are supposed to put down either several layers of newspapers or some cardboard before putting down the wood chips. That is exactly what we did. However, you DO NOT plant in the woods chips. Instead, you must plant directly in the ground beneath the wood chips. Otherwise, your plants will not grow. If you have any questions about this, you should watch the entire “Back to Eden” documentary film at: http://backtoedenfilm.com/


  • Louise says:

    I just found your site and had a question about planting the corn. Was the 5 layers of newspaper already decomposed when the seeds were planted? Or did you make a hole thru it as in the berry video. I watched the back to eden documentary film last night. I want to try this method as soon as possible.



  • Wade Duffy says:

    I have become interested in gardening over the last couple of years and have had limited success here in Texas due to water issues (drought).
    I have located a source for wood chips in the local area (Canyon Lake Texas)and am looking for a source for the mushroom soil that you mentioned in your documentary.
    Are you aware of any “Eden” gardens in this area that I could visit before I build ours? Your advice is appreciated.
    God Bless

  • admin says:

    Hi Wade. Just so you know, the documentary posted on our page was not created by us. We simply linked to the creator’s page from our site. I’m not sure where you can find the “mushroom soil” or other Back to Eden gardens in your area. However, you do really need mushroom soil to us this gardening method. When we made our garden, we simply started with the woodchips directly on paper. We have seen a huge improvement in the soil condition…with lots more worms too.

    The woodchips will greatly help out with your drough situation. However, we learned last year that you will still need to water from time to time to keep your plants producing well. Next season, we hope to install a dripp irrigation system to help out with that.

    Best wishes with your garden. God Bless!

  • Linda J says:

    We planted our first BTE garden this year in Oklahoma. Our understanding, based on the movie, was that we put down paper, covered it with 3″ of mushroom compost,and then topped that with 4-5 inches of regrind wood chips. I don’t remember seeing anything about digging through the paper to the dirt below. Our garden is coming up and doing great by planting in the mushroom compost and not digging a hole in our weed protection. We do not have any weeds but do have bermuda runners coming up over our railroad tie border but they pull up easily. I’ll know more about the way we did it when I see how it produces but, so far, I’m loving it!!

    • Jacki says:

      I have tried the BTE in a small bed in my front yard. Because I live in Arkansas and fight bermuda and nut grass in my yard, I put black plastic over the area for 4 weeks, then put down two layers of cardboard, a 2″ of grass clippings, a 2″ of leaves from last fall, an inch of compost and recovered that with the plastic for a couple more weeks. Put about 3″-4″ of wood chips down and then planted daylilies, Shasta Daisies… All is growing well, including the Bermuda and nut grass that keep popping there heads up in the middle of the beds. These 2 weeds are the curse of the South and if anyone knows how to get rid of them without spending a lot of time pulling I’d love to know. I have an old daylily bed that has been taken over by these two while I was gone several weeks last year. One I don’t want that to happen in the new bed, but the BTE should help, but what do I do in the old bed. My only thought is dig up the daylilies. Turn the bed into a BTE and replant them. If someone can direct me to a solution I would greatly appreciate it.

  • Hello Jim & Ginny,
    I’ve found your site from your YouTube video The Best Raised Bed Garden – http://youtu.be/zueK18XvOcc and wanted to ask you a few questions about the raised bed.

    Great video tutorial! However, I have a few questions: I notice that you mention sand and gravel for the first course of solid blocks for leveling, but in the video you show some concrete mix being applied. How did you apply the concrete mix on the solid blocks? Also, you mention in the video and also list it here that you should get 8 corner blocks but I do not see them in use in the video?

    • admin says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I didn’t apply any concrete mix on the solid blocks. That was just sand and gravel. The bags of sand I purchased were made by the Quikcrete company. If you go to Lowes or Home Depot, you will see the bags there….they do look like bags of cement!

      The corner blocks are used in the corners of the raised bed. Two are used in each corner, one per row. When you visit the store to buy your blocks, look closely at them and you will see the difference between a regular cinder block and a corner block. The corner blocks are smooth on one end to give a finished look. It will become obvious when you see the two types of blocks sitting next to each other in the store.

      Thanks for your comments! Best wishes!

      – Jim

  • Pam Frederick says:

    The very first comment on this page was asking about adding a layer of compost over the newspaper and before adding the woodchips. You told that person that was correct but in the video, you seemed to be placing the woodchips directly on top of the layers of newspaper. Which is correct? Did you add a layer of compost or not?

    I am wanting to do this method of gardening too. My husband and I have both watched the full Back To Garden film. We have the newspapers and at least some wood chips but are having trouble getting composted soil to put over the newspaper layers.

    Is the composted soil a vital component or can we skip the compost and place the woodchips directly on the newspaper? We are very anxious to get the area prepared but I don’t want to forego the compost layer if it is definitely needed for the method to work.

    Please advise. Your corn crop looks great on the video. I’ll be watching the rest of your youtube clips today.

    Pam Frederick

  • Billie Jean Plant says:

    We would like further video for you straw potato towers. How was your harvested yield?

  • Linda says:

    I have built a 4’ x 27′ x 28′ cinderblock raised bed. I just finished filling it with my 9 1/3 cubic yards of soil and am pooped. I came in to rewatch the video so that I could get the hoop supports cemented into the blocks, but I need a little bit more info. I would like to know if you have the cemented supports flush with the top of the blocks, if you have connected both levels of hoops to the cemented supports in any way to hold the hoops in place during strong winds because they may become air-born and if you have any further instructions on the type of shade or plastic materials?


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