Back to Eden

loufloralcityz9July 24, 2014

Many of you have asked the forum over and over again how to improve the soils (depleted sugar sands) in Florida after moving from areas of the country that was not so hostile to growing plants whether floral or vegetable. I have often stressed the point of using wood chips as a thick covering to your soil to aid in retaining moisture, adding missing minerals as it breaks down, and tempering the suns heat at the plants roots. I have found a video online (Back to Eden) that shows this principle in depth. With my many visits to bamboo_rabbits home I noticed he was using this same way of improving his soil and how his veggies grew beautifully in comparison to mine. I have slowly been improving my garden soil with wood chips but not fully understanding the whole scope of the soil preparation in layers. This recently released video has been showing me the in depth steps I have to take to improve the soil here on my little farm.


Here is a link that might be useful: Back to Eden (documentory video)

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Michael AKA Leekle2ManE - Zone 9a - Lady Lake

I fully agree with the above statement and endorse this video.

However it should be made clear that the wood chips are not the only factor to be taken in. People have tried this method in various places with varying degrees of success. While, so far, all seem to agree that the wood chips make a difference, some barely notice a difference and others notice a marked improvement. The thing is, you have to pay attention to everything this guy does. How he handles his waste, how he fertilizes, everything. And depending on where you are, you might not be able to copy it all. Personally, I can not keep chickens, so I can not use them for waste disposal or fertilizer, so I have to come up with alternate methods like trying to start a wormery.

Still, the video is definitely worth watching and has many simple tips that makes me wonder why there is such a thing as a fertilizer industry at all.

This post was edited by Leekle2ManE on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 4:49

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:06AM
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Can you raise rabbits where you live? They are not noisy like chickens and require very little space to exist. The rabbit droppings are excellent for gardens. A worm farm is another way of breaking down the unused greens into compost. If you have the room try using an IBC tote cut in two as the worm bed containers. It makes two 3-1/2' by 4' rectangular worm beds that will keep out the critters that eat your worms. Blue barrels cut in two top to bottom and not across the middle are another way of making worm bed tubs that can be set up on a 2X4 stand you can build and a screen made out of 1/2" rabbit wire for the top lid can be used to keep critters and birds out.

The biggest problem I see from people trying to mimic the video process in their garden space is impatience, they expect overnight success. It took years for builders of cities to destroy the land with bulldozers, tar, and concrete and now it will take a few years to bring it back into production. People toss out the unused plant waste (because it's not pretty) instead of returning it back into the soil as compost. The minerals in the tossed out plant waste is not being returned into the soil.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 11:04AM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Hi Lou

Let us know how it works in the garden for you, like Leekle said that not everyone can do it or wants to do it. It makes a lot of sense when you have a big space to use, I know few people that are doing it. For me, I value time and convenience and use shortcuts whenever is possible, try to use organic methods as much as I can and have fresh fruit and veggies for my small family is very important to me.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:52PM
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Hi Silvia,

You do very well in your limited garden space, you amaze me on how much can be grown there.

To keep you up to date with my experiments, tests, and outbuildings - - My second aquaponics set up is working well for me, I am now harvesting melons in July from the latest aquaponics grow bed and they are delicious. The melons are somewhat smaller (possibly from the July heat) but there's more of them growing. I'm still getting the tomatoes and greens from the aquaponics grow beds but I had to try growing melons in the summer heat as a test.

The big Tilapia fishes had babies and the baby fish have now grown to around an inch or two. This is an indication to me that the fish population in my tanks are sustainable as I harvest some for eating. I'm now getting ready to set up a third IBC tote aquaponics system. I find this is a great way to grow my organic food year round.

The wooden greenhouse is still not finished as it is too hot to work out there. The framing is complete but not all the poly roof panels have been put up. I still have to finish the siding and build the doors. The structure is now 24' by 24' square and can be expanded anytime I need more space.


    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 6:24PM
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whgille(FL 9b)

Lou, that is wonderful! Your projects are coming along nicely and I am glad to know that you are having successful harvests with the aquaponics. I grew fruit in Arizona and when it got hot, it was smaller size but very sweet like the melons, tomatoes. Having fresh fish is a big plus.

I am looking forward to see your wooden greenhouse when it is completed, a lot of work! and I can relate to the fact that we should all be taking it slow with this heat, keeping our bodies healthy it is first priority.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 7:45AM
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There is no doubt that constant mulch is a primary factor for food production on florida sand. It doesn't have to be wood-chips - cut tall grass works very well.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2014 at 5:01PM
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