Creating a living garden
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
Back to eden or a mulch permaculture “no til” garden ...why?
The main focus of our projects is working towards one goal. How can we make things more efficient and less work to maintain as we grow older. Too many times I see older people having to leave their house because they can no longer keep it up. To many, this means starting over or leaving what they have always liked to do, like gardening.
You might think that a garden provides food and thats it, but it provides many things that are beneficial both for body and soul.
So what does a garden do for you?
- Gardening helps to keep your immune system working and healthy.
- you get to play in dirt! Lol
- you get food, but most importantly you know HOW it was grown and what is in or on it.
-I never really understood what was so much the draw to go "walk in the garden", until now. It makes your heart sing! Watching it daily grow and its fruits and flowers begin to appear in a parade of beauty. It is so tranquil and joyous, the birds sing melodies as they fly above and the gentle wind kisses your face welcoming you to natures heart.
-it provides a big sense of accomplishment
- being outside is good for body, mind and soul.
The down side is Gardening is sooo much work. A constant fight with weeds, making sure its watered, a constant fight with weeds, keeping animals out, a constant fight with weeds, its a commitment to ensure a bountiful harvest... did I mention a constant fight with weeds? 😉. As a kid we had a big family garden and weeding was not my favorite, but it had to be done for our food.
In traditional gardening,first someone needs to work up the ground and add in a good nutrient rich compost, then you rotor til or some how break up the dirt and make your rows. Then you plant and try to stay ahead of the weeds. Does gardening have to be like this? This is how we are taught to garden, toil with the soil.
In my quest to garden " easy" I learned about permaculture and how to work WITH your soil. The back to eden method is about nurturing and making the ground safe where it can flourish. Here is the simple story of protected soil. Mother nature is constantly nourishing her surface for a couple reasons.
- so that the dirt does not erode is the number one. If the dirt erodes then the landscape can drastically change as the surface washes away.
The top layer breaks down and provides protection but also helps hold moisture, eventually breaking down into beautiful nutrient rich soil.
-as this happens to the UNDISTURBED surface it promotes a wonderful home to lots of soil helpers underneath. Microbes, worms, mycelium and many bugs. These provide fertilizer and aeration to the soil above.
It is a whole system of wonder.... but what do we do? We go in and strip off the top layer, turn over the ground exposing the living helpers below and disrupt the whole process of nature.
Now mother nature is stripped and her first method of defense is to cover her surface so that the roots help to hold the top nutrient layer. These are your weeds and grasses. They immediately go to work trying to create a safe place again and so the system of toil begins.
When will we learn that nature is far more advanced? When we learn to work with nature a harmony of abundance begins. There are many kinds of permaculture types of garden, back to Eden is not the only one. Ruth stout was also responsible for thinking outside of the box with using hay as mulch instead of wood chips. The bottom line is mulch, with whatever you have available. Grass clippings, leaves, or hay. Whatever you have. If you make mother nature safe, it will Flourish for you.
The results... a balanced nutrient and microbial rich soil that has a layer of matter that helps hold it safe and with moisture. The best part is weeds. Now sure you still get some weeds and grass but guess what? They pull out so easily. Why? Because they only root in the top layer of woodchips. Theres no dirt to anchor too. Simple! No more hands and knees and pulling on grass that you're sure is rooted in china! The layer of mulch also helps to maintain a constant temperature which helps to insulate and protect some of the plants.
These are just a few reasons that I have found in my short two-year journey of building a back to Eden Garden. I will share more later on how I built it and it's progression. It's still a work in progress as it takes about three years for a garden to fully mature.
So why am I posting this now? It needs to be started now. Yep now, during the winter. Lay down cardboard and start covering with a mulch, whether it be wood chips or old hay... what ever you have available. Just start