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Back to Eden Organic Gardening Method 101 Soil Improvement with Wood Chips Garden Series Part 2-

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Part 2 of 50. Back to Eden Start a Organic Gardening Method 101 Soil Improvement with Wood Chips Garden Series Part 2. Growing/ building healthy soil. See composting leaves organic matter. Deep Mulch Gardening for beginners.


William Walter says:

Hi Mark,     I have learned so much about the soil web from you. I've got garbage soil under my lawn/sod. Been that way since we bought the property new, nearly 10 years ago. We've got regular old grass, some clover, and unknown weeds. I think this year I will add a grid of sunflowers 1 lawn mower width apart. I should be able to get a 3 by 7 grid in. My hope is that they work and produce nice rich soil. Again thanks for the education.  Cheers,    Bill

chate Mineer says:

What device is that you use to check for Bactria? Also can you see nematodes with out one? I was looking at my soil and say a few white stringy wigglers in there.

spkwiatkowski says:

Hi, Mark. I'm about to lay down wood chips mixed with other organic matter on my plot for the first time to start my BTE garden. Since I live in zone 8a and can grow food 365 days a year, do I even need any other live covering? Are the roots of vegetables themselves inadequate for keeping my soil alive?

If so, do you have a video or can you provide any information showing when to plant a live covering and how much or what percentage of my plot needs covered with plants?

How long after planting a live cover do I need to wait before planting vegetables?

I noticed your live covering is planted in rows. Are these rows planted in wood chips or are they planted in bare soil with wood chips laid down between the rows?

Do they spread and begin to cover the unplanted areas of wood chips? If so, should I prevent this from happening?

Do I plant between the rows, or go ahead and plant seeds among the live covering as well? I'm concerned that either way my vegetables will soon be overrun by any live covering, especially in my zone. How do I keep this from happening? Or should I just let everything grow together?

I've seen other BTE gardens that do not appear to have any live covering; only vegetables, and they appear to be doing fantastic. I'm interested in hearing your opinion about this.

Thanks, Mark!

Wade Howard says:

Dear I Am Organic Gardening. You stated that woodchips don't improve soil. If that is so, then I'm wondering how come all the garden plots around our house have improved greatly just by adding woodchips? It seems to me that woodchips made all the difference improving Paul's Back to Eden Garden so many years ago. How would you explain these results, then?

Rob X says:

Hi Mark,
I'm going to be ordering my bareroot peach and apple trees within the next few weeks. What variety/varities of peach trees did you plant? How did you make that decision? Any advice/experience on apple varities would also be greatly appreciated. I'm in zone 7A (toms river, NJ) Thanks

rockin house says:


A little dirt never hurt says:

Hello Mark, Thank you very much for your great work in explaining and showing the soil food web in action. Being in zone 3b it is motivating to know that things may be slow, but they are still alive and working away, as long as there are living roots. I would have liked to see soil sample from an area without cover crop to visualize the difference. All the best from Central Alberta!!

Rob X says:

Hi Mark,
I went out to my garden and dug up a cylinder of soil just like you did. I have a cover of winter rye, hairy vetch, winter peas, and crimson clover that I planted in late September. I was very pleased at the thick root structure and the plug held together beautifully, just like yours. However, I was looking carefully for nitrogen fixing nodules on the roots and didn't see any. Should I be concerned? Is it too early in the growth of the cover for those nodules to be visible?

Oliver Page says:

cracker of video mate ?it the vision with the microscope was really good and really helped me understand all the stuff you've been talking about. could you please try to do one showing the the microrizal fungi living on a root

Daniel Boulton says:

Thanks Mark I learn something new every time I watch your videos they are very good for us backyard gardeners 🙂

Yoginitonya says:

Love, love, love that magic under our feet! Great vid, thanks for taking the time to do that!

Perma Pen says:

Fascinating, thank you! Did you compare temperatures between different soils, ie with/without roots? I will need to get a probe and compare my green-manured allotment bed with someone else's bare, sterile one come Spring!

Cw Pemberton says:

Thank you so much

Louisiana Cur says:

Mark how do you feel about aerating grass ? Too much disturbance?

Josh S says:

By the way, I just started doing some hydroponics/aereponics for winter experimenting.. Do you have any thoughts on this method?

Josh S says:

Mark, from where did you get that microscope? I love it and showed to my kids this vid. They loved it too! Well, my oldest, teenager of course was too cool for it but all the others loved it! 🙂

Two Turtle Gardens says:

Lost my Peach trees to two brutal winters.. Looking at apple now.

ashketchum4evr says:

I live in AZ and have a horrible caliche problem. do you have any suggestions for dealing with this?

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