My own experiences...
2 years ago I moved into a brand new house. It had minimal landscaping and nothing in the backyard. Since we have a HOA I am limited in what I can do out front. But I can pretty much do what I want in my backyard. I noticed right away that we had clay soil deeper then I can dig, and it had 0 organic matter in it. The site of our subdivision was a farm, and not an organic farm. The soil was completely dead, I mean completely. You couldn't even find a grub or anything living in it but ants.
We have a great resource in the Austin area called the natural gardener: http://www.naturalgardeneraustin.com/
. They gave me good advice and sold great products, but I still had the problem with nothing alive in my soil. I tried adding compost, compost tea, and other products but nothing would work and we were very limited in what we could grow. I watched videos of Elaine Ingram and read books and I even tried Archaea. Nothing worked. Still had hard clay soil that could only grow weeds at best. I had planted some fruit trees and they started dying. I took a sample of a branch to the natural Gardener and they said it looked like I had sprayed it with herbicide. Of course I did not do any such a thing, but determined that there must be something in the soil that was poison to the plants.
I was doing some research and found a video from a guy named Paul Gautschi. He stated he had very poor soil that was mostly rocks. He was taking a walk in the woods and decided to dig down to see why everything was growing so well there and he found sticks, wood, and leaves on top and organic matter decaying below. the rest of it was moist and was a very nice and loose soil. Paul decided to do the same thing. He put down a layer of newspaper (over the weeds) and then 2 inches of compost and 4-6 inches of wood chips, and sprinkled some chicken manure over the wood chips, basically a light dusting.
What Paul found a few months later was staggering. The soil had turned from rocks to a beautiful, loose, rich soil.
I thought hey if he can do it so can I!
So I did the same thing when I planted my backyard orchard and created planters. First I sprayed my compost tea on the bare ground, and then I put down cardboard in place of newspaper, put a 2 inch layer of compost down and 4-6 inches of wood chips I got for free from Davey tree service, I then sprinkled horse manure on the top of the wood chips and sprayed again with compost tea. In 3 months the change was extraordinary. The soil stayed moist and it was now dark and rich and all the plants were doing wonderfully. I then started to add Archaea to my tea in the last hour of brewing and then my 6 inches of wood chips turned into soil in 2 months time. The soil was even better then before and you could stick your arm into it about elbow length in 6 months time.
So in my experience the compost tea accelerated the process when the soil had a "covering" over it like the wood chips. Without the covering the ground never changed and it remained contaminated with whatever was used previously that was killing my plants and trees. So it seems the back to eden system developed by Paul Gautschi was a complete success. I accelerated the process using compost tea and I believe that the Archaea supercharged the entire process.
For those who are interested here is a link to the back to eden website: http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/how-to-grow-an-organic-garden.html