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Return to Eden - free online film

 
gardener & author
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I just got to watch the film online yesterday. Quite enjoyable and it had some clever transitions. Nothing too novel, but it definitely made me want to score some more wood chips. I've had great success with them in the past but no longer live in the city where access is easy.

The man's faith, as well as his excitement about life and gardening was infectious.

(I've been humming that "Eddddeeeen... to Eeeeedeeeen" song all day, dang it.)
 
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Location: Lexington, Kentucky Zone 6
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Great video...I love the whole piece about orginal sin and man tilling the earth. Tilling the earth as a syptom of our brokeness.

Question: How would I get perenials established from seed/small transplant in a 4-5 inch mulch covering, pull back the mulch and plant in soil and then slowly put the mulch back as the plants grow? And how about bulbs...will the plants shoot up through 4-5 inches of mulch? Can I mulch over my hostas this winter and will they push up through the mulch?
 
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Galen Gallimore wrote:

Are you suggesting/implying we should all be "forest gardening" or foraging, or wandering herdsmen, like our pre-agriculture ancestors? I view permaculture, including Paul's mulching method (novel or not) as a step forward away from chemically dependant 'modern' agriculture and at the same time back to a means of working with the earth to produce food that more closely resembles what nature already does.


Hi Galen

I guess the only thing I am suggesting/implying is that if one wants to mimic the beauty and process that nature uses to build soil and maintain moisture and fertility, woodchips don't seem necessary. It seems like an extra step beyond nature. Just my opinion.

I am a big fan of trees, shrubs and other perennials because they are easy for me. Once established they require very little care. Food forests are a good way to go, in my opinion, but not the "only" way. But if I wanted my soil to look like forest loam, planting a forest seems like a good first step
 
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Does the Back to Eden gardening method have any provision for providing the wood chips of the future - is the planting of trees part of the plan? Planting trees is part of forest gardening, so if it is not part of the Back to Eden plan, we can hope if it is adopted widely that there are plenty of forest gardeners also, planting the necessary trees!

 
David Good
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Yes - you could of course plant a forest and wait. If you have the time and patience, there's nothing at all wrong with that.

But the great benefit of wood chips/yard waste compost is that you're bringing years of accumulated nutrients and carbon into your system rapidly, taking yourself towards the goal of rich soil much faster. Since the chips and the fertility they represent have already been removed from someone else's property, the damage is done to their land... I'd be happy to take their mistakes and redeem them.

 
David Good
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At the end of the film, in the "recommendations" text that pops up, one of the recommendations was to plant things that could be used for future mulch. It could have been more obvious, though, if talked about earlier in the film. Most of the emphasis was on "reuse," rather than creating.

 
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Vidad MaGoodn wrote:At the end of the film, in the "recommendations" text that pops up, one of the recommendations was to plant things that could be used for future mulch. It could have been more obvious, though, if talked about earlier in the film. Most of the emphasis was on "reuse," rather than creating.



Yeah, I agree.
 
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Tyler Ludens wrote: Does the Back to Eden gardening method have any provision for providing the wood chips of the future - is the planting of trees part of the plan? Planting trees is part of forest gardening, so if it is not part of the Back to Eden plan, we can hope if it is adopted widely that there are plenty of forest gardeners also, planting the necessary trees!



I don't think planting trees is part of the 'plan', per se, but Paul does take his trimmings/prunings from the orchard to have them chipped, then returns with chips for the garden. His old truck, by the way, is a story unto itself in the idea of rebuilding/reusing. See this brief article:

http://www.sequimgazette.com/news/article.exm/2009-09-23_truck_marks_a_million_miles

It seems like part of the hugelkulture plan is to deliberately manage the forest around you...or like Jean Pain's forest management approach, although that uses chips as well. So perhaps the wood chip method is best used in wooded areas where a steady supply of chips is available.

I wondered if all the massive tumbleweeds that have shown up in Texas recently could be used as mulch, or covering to build soil during the drought...although I'm not sure if even mulch can mitigate the severe warming/climate variability taking place in the Southwest.

http://climatecrocks.com/2011/11/19/texas-tumbleweed-terror/

I made a permaculture-flavored comment on this video but it was summarily ignored since folks were too busy arguing about climate change denial to consider any productive solutions.

Galen


 
Galen Gallimore
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Andy Sprinkle wrote:Great video...I love the whole piece about orginal sin and man tilling the earth. Tilling the earth as a syptom of our brokeness.

Question: How would I get perenials established from seed/small transplant in a 4-5 inch mulch covering, pull back the mulch and plant in soil and then slowly put the mulch back as the plants grow? And how about bulbs...will the plants shoot up through 4-5 inches of mulch? Can I mulch over my hostas this winter and will they push up through the mulch?



When my wife and I visited last October, Paul gave me this advice regarding my strawberry patch. I had turned my sod two years ago in the Fall, and over the winter let it break down. Then I transplanted strawberries out of a garden bed and barrel I had brought with us on our move and 'covered' them with straw. They went great guns for a year and sent out runners. Last summer we had a tremendous crop. But then the problem of thinning/weeding/etc. So I asked his advice. He suggested I knock them down (weed trimmer, etc.) then cover them with 4" or so of chips. The strong crowns will push through while the older, weaker crowns will not.

I have knocked them down and will be putting a heavy layer of chips on as soon as I can, probably monday. We'll see how it goes. I imagine it'd be the same with bulbs.

Galen
 
Tyler Ludens
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Galen Gallimore wrote:[

I wondered if all the massive tumbleweeds that have shown up in Texas recently could be used as mulch, or covering to build soil during the drought...although I'm not sure if even mulch can mitigate the severe warming/climate variability taking place in the Southwest.



Don't get me started on what Texas and the Southwest could do! I personally believe we could do a lot to mitigate the changes we're experiencing.

 
Tyler Ludens
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This thread discussion has encouraged me to change some plans I had for a garden space where I thought I would need to put buried wood beds, but that seemed like more work than I'm willing to do presently for that space, so instead I am going to try this deep mulch method as we have a ready source of chips right now. So thank you for this information.

(For those who are following "Ludi's permaculture projects" the space I'm referring to is part of the area I'm calling the "Asparagus farm" )
 
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My review of that film, the good:

1- Audio and Video of excellent quality
2- Good post production
3- Some tips that all those who like Permaculture know (ex: cover and feed the soil)

The bad:

1- Religious nonsense every 3 or 4 seconds that made me turn off the audio and/or skip forward several times
2- We only know the "secret" almost at the end
3- He's no Sepp Holzer or Geoff Lawton, he's clueless about Permaculture
4- Looking around we see many big trees, meaning that the place already has good soil, climate and water
5- Anyone with a constant stream of wood chips would do that, maybe better
6- With that amount of carbon added to the soil he's adding nitrogen somehow to have good looking vegetables (I don't see nitrogen fixers?!)

It looked just like religious propaganda disguised of something else, wouldn't pay for it or watch it again.
 
Jesus Martinez
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I think you're pretty far off on the carbon/nitrogen aspect, otherwise how would hugelbeds work? But, he says in the beginning you probably need something like manure for 1 or 2 years as the wood chips break down, he also says it is very important only to add them to the top of the soil and to not mix them in. Also, big trees doesn't mean good soil. I've seen big trees growing in rocks.
 
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After trying wood chips in my garden this year I have decided that wood chips are good, wood chips and mixed mulch (like Ruth Stout) is better. If your in a city and they are free and plentiful use them but otherwise they are not much better than any good organic mulch thickly applied. Also ants love wood chip mulches. They don't hurt the plants they are just annoying when working with the soil.
 
Galen Gallimore
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James Colbert wrote:After trying wood chips in my garden this year I have decided that wood chips are good, wood chips and mixed mulch (like Ruth Stout) is better. If your in a city and they are free and plentiful use them but otherwise they are not much better than any good organic mulch thickly applied. Also ants love wood chip mulches. They don't hurt the plants they are just annoying when working with the soil.



What sort of chips did you use?

I think the ideal chips are what comes directly from the branch chipper - needles, leaves, branches, bark, all of it. The 'chips' from the lawn & garden centers have been sorted into 'playground chips' (at least that's what they call them around here) which have no bark, needles, leaves, etc. and 'beauty bark', which is just bark. And they seem to be most effective when they've begun to decompose.

Galen
 
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@Galen - You don't have to use petroleum-based fuel to power machines with an internal combustion engine. Natural diesel was first made from peanut oil. Syn gas, from wood gasification will power just about anything. Bio ethanol will work as is in just about any combustion engine.

Wood gas - made from pyrolizing wood chips (ironic). The exhaust from burning syn gas is similar to a rocket mass heater (CO2 and steam). You also get the amazing byproducts of bio char (another soil amendment), and ash (a soil amendment... unless your soil is already alkaline). Almost zero negatives with wood gas. You'd be sequestering carbon with the biochar, releasing CO2 and steam as an exhaust, and using the captured energy for mechanical work.
Ethanol - made from anything with a sugary/starchy content (like sorghum). With a few hundred sorghum plants and you can extract the sugary water, ferment it, distill it, and come away with several gallons of 100% ethyl alcohol -- A very non-polluting exhaust. Additionally, the seeds/grain can be fed to the chickens, the stalks that have been pressed can be fed to the goats, sheep, or cows.

In short, I think the internal combustion engine is a wonderful invention by mankind! However, the close association with petroleum-based fuel sort of clouds people perception about the wonders of using mechanical advantage for work... Even hand tools are instruments of mechanical advantage.

Wood gas, ethanol, biogas... are ALL very permaculture friendly.

My two cents...
 
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Galen, I have gathered up tumbleweeds off my fenceline and chopped them up into a compost pile. also, i try to pull all the young, green ones I can, before they get prickly, and feed to my chickens. I have also made compost out of thistles and old cowpies when living in an area where cows were ranged. Use what is available, I say.

This whole discussion about deep mulches is interesting. My first successful garden was after I learned about Ruth Stout. But what kind, how deep and when to mulch depends a great deal on your climate. In Delaware, mulching with grass clippings was very successful at building soil. In northwest Washington (north of Everett) I tried using sawdust. Utter failure! In northern Maine, I had to pull the mulch away in the spring so the ground could warm up. Here in Colorado, mulch is very important. After we had spread old hay on the whole garden, even in the paths, my garden did a lot better and didn't dry out as much, so reducing our need to water as often. In western Washington, and on the east coast, there is often a lot of rain, so a raised bed helps things grow and keeps roots from being drowned. Here, sunken beds help things stay moist enough to grow.

So, as I have seen it expressed by many permies, "it all depends."

I did see this film a few weeks ago, and was very impressed by his willingness to learn from his land, and from God. And I believe that whether we accept the concept of a God who created the earth for us to live on, or whether we choose to call the creative force Gaia, or Mother Nature, or any other entity, I believe it is fairly common to accept that there is "something" beyond our human power of reasoning and ability that has an influence on us and on the environment we live in. Isn't that kind of what permaculture is all about--learning to read our land, analysing and assessing what the land "wants" to do, rather than imposing our will on it?

I wish for you peace and prosperity.

djn
 
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I think he talked about a lot of permaculture stuff besides the wood chips. He mentioned that we should get the plants healthy and they will stay healthy easier. He talked about manure instead of chemical fertilizers, he talked about the tilth of the soil extending the roots of the plants so he didn't have to water in the summer. He talked about having a combination of trees and vegetables so they will harmonize in the yard, like in nature. He talked about acclimating to your soil, your climate, what you get. He talked about allowing a natural balance of insects and birds in his yard to take care of the big problems of pests taking over. He talked about the value of the forest itself, how he used parts of the forest soil and the mycorrhizals to farm it into his soil. In our part of the country it rains a lot so they have tons of tree wood they have to pay to get rid of. Tree companies are always looking for someone to take wood chips. They constantly advertise on Craig's list, etc.
John Saltveit
PDX OR
 
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I plan on watching this tonight.
 
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I first heard him on "Oneradionetwork.com" it sounded great, saw the video and it made sense esp. after seeing a bunch of geoff's videos, and lastly listened to him on the grow your food summit. As far as the religion, if youre religious, great, if not, just take the info, try not to let it turn you away from good info (btw full disclosure im not very religious). His system I feel would remove alot of the work in permaculture in the pioneer stage, just prepare your land, plant your final food forest and put the chips down as your ground cover/mulch/nitrogen fixing.

In the grow your food summit this summer he said he doesnt use any more chips on his plants, he has enough, he uses compost from the chickens, he also had his soil tested and it was far and above what is required for growing. Not to mention you can burn wood chips in a designed rocket stove/use for paths, etc. and you can get them free or low cost and make them when thinning/maintaining your woodlands,trails,roads, etc. what more could you want, its probably a bit more work in the first year or two of a new property, but i think it would save alot of work for all the years after, plus it holds so much moisture you need less earthworks,swales and ponds as you dont need to irrigate and thus feed as many ponds.
 
I can't beleive you just said that. Now I need to calm down with this tiny ad:
skiddable shower
https://permies.com/t/39038/permaculture-projects/skiddable-shower
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