Thursday, May 16, 2013

Back to Eden Garden Project

This year we are trying to set up one of the smaller gardens as a "Back to Eden Garden"  Money sitting in a savings account is not earning interest so we are buying items to make life a little easier on the homestead.  In March we purchased a Stanley Chipper Shredder to start making our own wood chips for the garden.  Many localities can have the tree trimmers drop off wood chips on your property but we are not one of them.

We started out by laying 4 layers of newspaper down.  A light sprinkling of soil will hold the paper down if it's windy.

 We could not collect enough newspaper for our project so we went to the news paper office and bought the ends of their rolls for $1.00 each and you get a lot of paper on each roll.

Next we added mushroom compost mixed in with some garden soil. 

 You can barely see them now but onions were planted in this row.

The wood chips are now added.

 The tomatoes and peppers seem to love this stuff.  I've gotten the wood chips around the plants.  In between the rows I have hay with goat poop down.  I'll add wood chips on top of this as I can.

The tomatoes are beginning to bloom.

I have only watered twice so far in 3 weeks and we've had a couple of light showers.  When you pull back the chips, the soil is dark and damp beneath.  The true test will come when we reach the 90's and 100 temps.

The very few weeds that have sprouted pulls out of the ground easily with no digging required.

 I had to get the peas and beans in the ground so it is not done Eden style yet.  Our crazy weather pattern has me over a month behind on the garden.   The chickens used this section of the garden since last August so it is fertilized and weed free for now.  I will lay paper and chips down as time permits.

I've started pulling the pineapple out of the greenhouse and planting.  I'll come back with the newspaper, manure and chips later.

 One plant couldn't wait to get started and has already formed a baby pineapple.

Hopefully all of this labor intensive work will eventually produce me a garden of Eden instead of a garden of weeding!  


  1. Oh my gosh! You grow pineapple!!!!!!! How neat! Your garden looks great!!!!!

    1. Thanks Kelly...I started growing these when I owned a nursery. I never intended on selling them but several people would see them growing and ask how much they were. I just said $25.00 off the top of my head not expecting to sell any but they sold like hotcakes. Guess everyone wanted a plant with a baby pineapple growing. I have to dig them up each fall and put them in the greenhouse as our winters are too cold. The Mama plant dies after she produces a baby but she always makes several new plants before she does.

  2. No Kidding! your growing Pineapple! I am so dang Jealous! Wow..what a garden. Looks fabulous, My cukes are blooming like crazy, with little babies all ready sprouting. Thanks for the idea on the news paper..must try that one.

    1. Glock Mom...In your area you may be able to baby some during the winter. I have to dig mine up and put them in the greenhouse. Every once in a while I can find pineapple marked down at Walmart for $1.00 each. I bring them home, get the tops out to start a plant and can or dehydrate the fruit. It takes about 18 months for one to produce a pineapple. I did a post a while back on starting a pineapple here.

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  3. Mamma Bear,

    Using wood chips are the best thing you could possible use in your garden for keeping the soil wonderful for the plants and keep those darn weeds out. I love how you planted your garden, here's to a healthy harvest this year!!!!

    Your in a perfect area for growing pineapple. What are you plans for the pineapple once they mature for harvest?

    1. Sandy...I was really impressed with the Back to Eden project. No tilling, not much weeding, no fertilizer and no watering. I can't wait until I know it works in my area as well as other places.

      I am in NW Florida so I have to dig my plants and put them in the greenhouse for the winter. When I get enough either growing or buying on sale, I dehydrate or can them for future deserts and snacks.

  4. Pineapple that is cool :)

    I have been flip flopping on shooting for an auger for my little tractor or a chipper as my next big purchase but then my truck tranny went out and set me way back. Like I said before the only reason I went with grass clippings over wood chips was from the sustainable side of things because I can't get wood chips delivered either. Not sure I would be able to make enough on my own either.

    Also I would like your take on something. I have watched that Eden video a few times and I am a bit confused as he seems to be using more wood pulp that has been decomposed quite a bit and not actual chips.

    What do you think?

    1. We still have several acres with a lot of underbrush we can chip, plus all the jack oaks the goats kill in their area. When we run out of this I will call the paper company and ask if it is OK to clear their underbrush. Their land joins ours on 2 sides and it is hundreds of acres so I don't expect to run out of things to chip up.

      I think when Paul first started his back to Eden he only had regular wood chips. Now he has so much delivered he can choose to use only the composted stuff. Our chipper/shredder cuts the chips so fine that in the 3 weeks some of it has been down, when I rake back the top layer I can already see the chips breaking down that lies against the soil. That was exciting to see this. As long as you don't till or work the chips into the soil, I think it is going to work wonders. Tilling it into the soil will probably keep your nitrogen depleted for the year.

      We use grass clippings too especially if Papa Bear lets the back acreage go too long before mowing. I rake it up and give some to the chickens and goats and then spread the rest around in the garden.

      Our soil (which is mostly sand) is so poor anything added to it can only help.

  5. oh Mamma - your garden is so gorgeous - i am sooooo jealous! teeheehee! and i can't believe you grow pineapple. we just cut up a pineapple the other day and popped the top in a pot of good soil and are praying it will grow. i am sure that when we move it to the greenhouse it will grow and then we will bring it in the house in the winter. i am just amazed that you are growing them in the ground. wow!

    want to hear something cool? this last pineapple was full of seeds - like full! i have never seen pineapple seeds in a pineapple before so you know that i rinsed them and dried them out. i am gonna try and grow all of those little seeds - woohoo!

    we do a sort of back to eden method - we have our tires and our raised beds and we use decomposing bits of bark and trees as well as grass clippings, etc. this year is the last year that we will till the soil. we got a nice truckload of year-old composted horse poop and hay and the stuff looked so delicious i almost wanted to take a bite! bahahahahah! but we had to mix it in with our existing dirt with some sawdust but next year there will be no more tilling. oh and one other thing - the horse poop compost was filllllled with worms - like filled. i named each and every one of them, gave them a kiss and told them to go and make babies. i was so happy to see those worms.

    anyway - again - your gardens look smashing! make sure to keep taking pics and posting updates.

    and give a big hug to that Marine for me! your friend,

    1. Thank you kymber...I hope to have an improved garden this year and an even better one next year.

      I have found pineapple seeds a couple of times. You can plant them but I never have. I think I read somewhere it takes 5 years to make a pineapple from seed but who knows...You may have the next great "Dole" from your seeds! Pineapples are easy to grow. As long as you give the little cup in the top a little water each week it will be fine. You can also water it with miracle grow or manure tea. It loves them both.

      I am jealous of your worms. I will be thrilled if I ever see them in my garden. I will probably be naming them too! I hope with the wood chips and lots of goat poop I will begin to see some this year. I hope this is my last year tilling at least one of my garden areas. Papa Bear and I know what to work on during the winter now so things just have to improve.

      I'll try to keep the Eden project updated. My next row will be seeds straight into it and see how that works out.

      Hugs to you and jambaloney!

  6. What progress you are making! I wouldn't even venture to guess that you are a month behind.

    I have 3 pineapple plants that were left on the side porch for the past year & pretty much ignored, but still living. I guess I need to get them in the ground. Do you know if they need full sun or will partial shade be ok?

    1. Thanks DFW...My progress is slow go this year but I knew it would be trying this new method of gardening.

      Your pineapple will need full sun if at all possible. They are a member of the bromeliad family so a little watering in the cups will be just fine along with manure tea or miracle grow every once in awhile. I cut the leaves with the points back before I plant because those things hurt when you're stuck. I also cut them back before digging them up and putting them back in the greenhouse, it will not hurt the pineapple production at all. Let us know how your plants do and I hope you get some pineapple this year!

  7. Gee I will send each of you all the worms you could ever want.

    1. My neighbors felt sorry for me a couple of years ago. They came and built me a worm bed. Brought a 5 gallon bucket full of dirt and worms. I watered, I fed them. Ants moved in and the worms moved out. I didn't know how to kill the ants without killing the worms. Now I have a dried up, full of roots empty worm bed.

      Nippy the cat is quiet good at catching moles. She leaves one at the front door every couple of weeks.

  8. The Back to Eden film excited me. No tilling sounds great. I will be watching this with much interest at your place. I loved how he pulled back the top, not yet broken down part and planted the seed in the lower soil. His not using farming equipment to farm excited me. I cannot afford a tractor and all that stuff, so being able to grow food without heavy equipment or even a tiller is perfect.

    So, you are near AL (NW FL)? Well, I live above Birmingham, AL.

    Aldi's just came to town, and they had pineapples for $.99. I cannot shop there since they do not have an electric cart, so I just price-matched at Walmart twice this week. I have a pineapple top in the sink waiting to be planted. So, I am going to read how you did it. I never buy pineapples unless there is a sale or coupon that makes the pineapple $1. The other pineapple is still ripening on the sink. Do you think I could grow a pineapple in a 5 gallon bucket? I cannot get it in and out of the ground.

  9. Linda...I love the concept of the Eden garden as well and hope it works for me. I don't mind the tilling so much. It's the weeds here. I f you miss a couple of days of weeding, they have moved in, took over and put roots down to China.

    We used to go to Birmingham every 6 weeks to have the Marines Baclofen pump refilled. We had an excellent doctor there who moved back to his hometown of Michigan.

    Pineapples grow very easily in containers. They don't have a huge root system as they take their water and nutrients through their thick leaves. They make a beautiful house plant in the winter. You will want to trim the pointed tips back while in the house as they are very painful when they stick you.

  10. Mamma Bear,
    Your garden looks great! I am attempting the 'Back to Eden' method myself. I see many attributes to his (Paul's) and His (God's) methods, it all just makes sense. I also am attempting to grow pineapples from the top (green). My mother brought up the idea, and I figured, why not? I now have two started, one potted, and the other still in a water cup, with water from our cistern. I also grow 'plantain', a healing herb, found in most lawns; definitely good to have around for skin ailments.

    Question about the pineapple: would it be fine to just leave my pineapple plants in a pot, since I, like you, will have to bring them in for the winter, me living in Southwest Ohio?

    Also, I saw you mentioned miracle grow, using this in your growing. This doesn't pose a threat to the growth of vegetables, not being organic, or now having a chemical in them, which I am trying to avoid by going organic, does it? It is the standard miracle grow potting mix, and only talks about flowers on the bag. I looked it up, and it seems it'll be ok. I am just apprehensive, since I'm trying to stay organic, and keep chemicals out, like what is talked about in the film. Thoughts?

    Thank you for your posts. I pray with your garden, God will continue to show you His incredible attributes through His creation, and how He has set things in place for us here on His earth.



    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment.

      I am loving my back to Eden garden. It is practically taking care of itself except for the few little weeds that sprout. Everything has almost tripled in size since I posted the above pictures. I can't wait until we can get all of our gardens done in this method and I expect we will have a much easier time next year. We have been struggling with our gardens for over 20 years on this sand hill. Everything we put into it seems to disappear like it is in quicksand.

      Pineapples make great container plants. I have over 40 of them so it is easier for me to put them in the garden than water that many containers a day. They do not have a large root system and take several years to become root bound. They feed mostly through their leaves, that is why I suggested Miracle Grow into the center cup as most people are familiar with this concept. I don't use Miracle Grow in my vegetable garden...(I use the regular granular from the feed store until the garden is able to sustains itself) If you really want to be organic, feeding the pineapple fish emulsion, compost or manure tea in the cup will be great. Pineapple will take most of their water and nutrients through the leaves. Water the soil around it when dry. Make sure to give it a "hair cut" around the outer leaves as the points really hurt when they stick you, Also, along the edge of all the leaves are little thorns that are almost like cactus so make sure you don't run your hand down the leaves edges. Ouch!


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