Friday, May 4, 2012

Back to Eden - Garden Update

We began the Back to Eden gardening adventure on October 29, 2011.  Here's what we've experienced so far.

The number and amount of weeds is drastically reduced.  However we have dollar weed, and another grass/weed that I can not get control of.  No matter how much mulch I place on top.  It is recommended 6".  We are at least that if not more, but still they will not abate.  And no matter how often I pull them out, they just return, and more.  I'm convinced for each one I pull, three more show up.

There are no more mud problems. Although we haven't had much rain to speak of the past several months, and we're under "red flag" warnings, but when it does, it is easy to maneuver around.  The mud was so bad it would capture your boots and pull them right off!

There are definitely more spiders.  I wonder if this is because of the mulch itself, or that I can now pick them out because of the mulch.  They haven't bothered me yet, and I know they eat some garden pests, so they will stay right where they are at for the time being.  Like I have anything to do with it.

At this stage, our garden is a bit anemic.  My plants are not abundantly green, or bushy.  I have had success growing beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini at this point, however they are not the size plants I would like to see.  Our soil is extremely acidic, and before we started the BtoE program, we never got a handle on that problem.  There doesn't seem to be enough lime on the planet to help correct this issue.  We cheated a bit as well, and have tried to use up the Miracle Grow we had in inventory to help the plants along.   It helps for about a week, and then the plants yellow up and thin out.  The purpose of the program was to help eliminate the need for chemicals to make your garden prosper. The jury is still out, we'll keep going as it may take a year or two to get the kind of results we really want.

We are having good success with romaine and spring mix lettuce.  Really no problems here.  See the photo, notice the friendly dollar weed?

We're also getting a good return on the pole beans.  We have to pick the tomatoes early, otherwise the raccoons (we have confirmed they are our problem) pick them off the vine when ripe, take a bite and leave them on the ground, as they pursue their next victim.  But I do go home with a small basket of fresh veggies for the Moose and I.

The butternut squash we planted are also taking off.  At this point, it looks like the watermelon, cantaloupe and pumpkin will do fine too.

Other than that, we'll keep you posted on the BtoE program results.  In the meantime, we had a whirling dervish in the corn.  A twisted up, broken off mess!  That ends corn for the season. It wasn't doing that great anyway, but it's sad to see it happen after all the energy needed to work a garden.

The pond level is seriously down, we really need rain.  The water used to cover the bucket with an inch or two over the top.  Palm fronds are in the pond to help create a shady area for the tilapia, just in case you were wondering.

One final note;  here are some photos of the Hooligans Class of 2012.  They are now three weeks old, and a very friendly group.  Still to be named, except for one who is Elmer.  He had a case of pasty butt.  Can you figure out why he's called Elmer?  The Moose came up with that one, and it stuck. (no pun intended)

Off to our daughters graduation in Gainesville!  Have a great weekend and thanks for following along!


  1. So Izzy. You haven't said anything about fertilizing your plants (except for the miracle grow and yes that is just a temporary quick fix). When you are mulching in the garden you need to fertilize. The breakdown of mulch ties up the available nitrogen in the soil and the plants don't get fed. I use a recipe of organic or natural stuff to feed my plants. You can make your own or (if available in your area) you can buy nearly the same thing from Whitney farms called vegetable and tomato food. It comes in a bag and is a powdery form because it is made from stuff like bone meal, feather and fish meal etc. I have just recently found out that Scotts owns Whitney's now so I may have to go back to making my own so if you would like the recipe (and I can find it) I will send it to you. It really does help immensely. Also if this is the first year of your garden you might need to add the microbes needed to your soil as they were probably destroyed in the process of digging up your garden.

  2. I'm going to be trying the BtoE method on one of my garden plots this fall. Using only chipped branch's like is suggested. And I will be adding chicken manure and leaf matter that has already fallen to the forest floor and begun to decompose. It all just makes so much sense really.
    It sounds as though the addition of some blood meal and bone meal might be needed for the first season or two though. Our compound ( as my niece calls it ) is located on the Olympic Peninsula.

  3. Hey, I know this is random, but I just wanted to say I think your dollar weed issue will fix itself. Dollar weed grows where there's bad drainage and thin soil- so as the mulch breaks down and enriches the soil, and absorbs moisture, it won't do as well. Another thing to keep in mind is that it's an edible weed, so you can eat it or feed it to the chickens. I've found weeding isn't nearly so bad if I don't think of it as weeding, but as getting free chicken food. :)

    I had the same problem with bindweed- sort of the high altitude version of dollar weed- but each year, as my garden soil got richer, the bindweed liked it less and less, and with minimal weeding it went away. Took about 5 years, at which point I moved. That's how it goes!

    Just keep mulching and perhaps add some Azomite or something to the soil, every year, and you'll get less and less free chicken food in the form of Dollar Weed!


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