Review: “Back to Eden” online video

“BACK TO EDEN shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden. The organic growing system that has resulted from Paul Gautschi’s incredible experiences has garnered the interest of visitors from around the world. However, never until now have Paul’s methods been documented and shared like this! “

~The opening paragraph on the Back To Eden webpage

http://backtoedenfilm.com/ – this video takes time to load.  If you watch it from the beginning you may not have trouble.  I think it would take a long time on a dial up connection.  You may want to let it load while you make and eat supper.

Here is an interesting video that talks about a way of gardening that seems to be less time intensive, especially after a few years.  It also would have helped in a year like we just had, where rain was scarce.

If you are unable to watch the video, for whatever reason, still give the website some of your time.  Click the tabs at the top of the screen to look at some other good information they have.

The Covering

Paul Gautschi used to garden the way most of us think about it.  Till the soil.  Plant. Weed, weed, weed.  Water, water, water.  Weed more.

Over time he has found an organic way to garden that he feels is being pointed to in the Bible.  Even from the beginning he makes the connections between the plants and interactions in the garden and those in the Bible pertaining to us.

“The Covering”, as it is referred to several time, either refers to wood chips or the spiritual covering one receives from God.  It is clear when used in context which he means.

Soil Preparation

The main topic is the benefits of wood chips as a compost and fertilizer.  This is talked about during the first 30 minutes.

I’m not sure if I would have come to the conclusions the same way he did, or taken the verses for the Bible the same way he did.  The science behind it is accurate, though.  Also, what he says about not working wood chips into the soil because it robs nitrogen is an important thing to remember. The same concert works goes for any mulch or compost that is still green. This is one reason that you compost things like grass clippings before using them around plants.

Watching him feed things from the garden to his chickens, then harvesting the wonderful compost that resulted makes me wish so much that our town ordinance allowed chickens.

Irrigation

I appreciated the fact that they discussed how easy it is to waste water, and how irresponsible some of the watering methods are.  Even though I’m aware of this, I too have been known to water irresponsibly.  Not only in my own garden, but in one of my former places of employment.  Why?  Lack of time and proper equipment.

I am trying to be more aware in my own garden how much I actually water and when.  I tend to water each plant individually.  Then again, I don’t have a large vegetable garden at this point.  If that were the case, like it has been in the past, I would look into drip irrigation if at all possible.

Weed Control

They not only talk about the fact that there are fewer weeds, but also that it is easier to pull them out, and all their roots, up after a rain.

As I currently have the majority of my garden in raised beds, this is one issues I have not dealt with in the years gardening at this house.  When I have had to do it, I too have seen how much easier it is to pull weeds out of non-compacted soil.  I can usually get my fingers under the plants and lift them out.

The garden I had immediately before moving here had a major problem.  So much so that I had actually though about never gardening again.  The garden was a very large plot in a community garden.  A plot that been not gardened, and left as bare ground, for a few years.  Basically it was left to the weeds.  This was a 20′ by 100′ plot of mainly weeds.  I tried a few ways to keep them out, but by the end of the season I threw my hands up.  (2 Lessons learned via personal experience: Paper, used as mulch, will dry out and blow around if not weighed down.  Shredded paper, used as a mulch, will tangle up in your tiller if it has not decomposed.)  If I had stayed there a few more years, then this method would have saved me so much time.  It also would have addressed the exact problems I was having.

Pest Control

One interesting point they made was that “everything is nature was made to overcome“.  This was in regards to insects and insecticides.  They will overcome anything you throw in their way in their struggle to survive.  It may take a while, but that is how they were programed.  Almost copies what is said in a book I was reading last month.  This book which was printed in the 1970’s.  Seems like much hasn’t changed in the past few decades.  Well, except we are no longer using insecticides along the lines of DDT.

Their point was that instead of fighting the pests, learn to control them naturally or live with them.  A few holes in the leaves won’t hurt anything.

Crop Rotations

(Apparently he has no need for rotations.  Has been planting potatoes in the same spot for 16 years.)

pH Issues

He doesn’t seem to have issues with this either.  His blueberry bushes (acid lovers) are planted next to things such as swiss chard.

 

The video then changes over to showing other examples of gardening this way.  They present two live, actual examples of others putting in a garden this way.  Each garden is in a different soil and climate setting.

We are taken from Washington state, down to southern California.  The garden in southern California is new.  The steps to establishing it are outlined. They also talk about some of the concerns they face.

The second garden shown is a demonstration garden in Pennsylvania.  In this segment they answered the question I had from the beginning.  “What if you are establishing a garden on top of grass?  How do you initially detour weeds and such from growing through the mulch?”  They not only answered that question with words, but with a great video of them doing just that.  If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, then I suggest you watch this segment.  It is the practical portion of what they have been talking about.

I felt that this could have come sooner in the video, rather than an hour into it.  Perhaps that is because I understood the concepts covered in that first hour, and didn’t need as much clarification or convincing.  For others, they  may need that part.  Especially if they have never been exposed to this idea or those similar to it.

Speaking of not knowing things,  if you have never been around a wood chip pile that is decomposing you may be unaware of how warm it gets.  The clouds you see coming up from the mulch when they shovel it from the pile or rake it out is steam, not dust.  Even in winter a wood chip pile may steam from the heat of decomposition.  It isn’t hot to the touch, but it is a comfy, warm temperature.  I’ve seen it steam on 90 degree days and on 45 degree days.

There was also a bit said, while talking to the couple from the demonstration garden, about the fact that the plants whose roots had gotten into the soil grew better than those that were growing in just the dirt.  Makes me wonder if part of my issue in my raised beds is the same.  Maybe it isn’t just a watering issue.  See, I put down a weed blocking material under the compost to discourage weeds.  I’m not sure if it also creates a barrier for the roots of my plants.  That is something else for me to ponder as I try to go to sleep at night.  I am glad they stressed that point though, as I am sure if I had that pondering, so did many other gardeners.

I appreciated the point and encouragement, they made in regards to those who may not NEED their garden now.  However, you don’t know what the future will hold.  It is better to have it in place when you need it rather than be scrambling to add another thing to your plate when the time comes.

We are now taken back to the final segment,

The Harvest

This segment wraps up all they have been talking about.  There was not a lot of new info here.  I did enjoy the pictures and seeing the end result of their work, though.

 

I think this video was a bit too long; total length  is 1 hour and 43 minutes.  It took several short segments of watching it to see the whole thing.  It was not hard to follow though, so watching it this way worked out okay.

Everyone gardens for their own reason.  Part of the length was due to Paul Gautschi explaining his philosophy behind the method of gardening he has chosen to use.  Even though I agreed with him on most of it, I honestly got tired of hearing about it.  Perhaps it was because I was more interested in hearing about the gardening aspect.  However, knowing the reason behind why things are done the way they are can help you understand why the process is the way it is.  His philosopy is at the heart of why this method of gardening is the way it is.

On the positive side, I did like how they laid everything out in a clear fashion.  It was easy to follow and understand.  I also greatly appreciated the first hand experiences they shared; even the troubles that were overcome the first year or two in these gardens.  Seeing it put into practice really helped firm up my understanding of what they were trying to get at.

I the end, I was glad to have watched it.  It has made me consider a few changes to my garden for next year.

 

If you get a chance to watch the Back to Eden film, let me know what you thought.  Do you use this method of gardening?  If not, are you curious to try it out?  If you already do, is there any way you differ or any lesson you have learned along the way?