I just finished watching this 5-hour video tour of Paul Gautschi’s Back to Eden garden as it appears in June, 2015. It’s not scripted like the documentary (which has had at least 25 million views!). Paul is just gushing with gems of wisdom. He’s truly a master gardener of the highest caliber with one of the best gardens in the world.
Here’s one super helpful bit of information: You can put wood chips on top of sandy soil and soon it will attract worms where there were none before. You can even put wood chips on top of pure white sand with no soil and it will grow great food! The chips will hold moisture, attract worms and the roots will easily grow through sand! This could be the easiest way to turn deserts into gardens. He does not water his garden ever – even through long summer droughts except occasionally when starting new seeds. Paul doesn’t use big wood chips. He gets free wood chips from tree trimming companies that consist of small branches with 80% leaves or needles ground up into different size particles and then aged at least 1-2 years before applying to the garden. Do not till the chips in, just place on the surface.
A few other gems from Paul Gautschi’s Back to Eden garden tour:
– Straw works great as a mulch also except it breaks down really fast and gets slimy. Wood chips are good to walk on, don’t compact, smell good and last way longer = less labor long term.
– Super thick straw or chips won’t attract insects or disease. Those things come from lack of nutrition not mulch.
– The sponge like properties of thick wood chips compensates for different plant needs. For instance, he can put a water loving plant like wasabi near a plant like sage that likes dry conditions without problem.
– He doesn’t thin his strawberry plants because it’s too much work. He covers them with wood chips and in the spring the new plants push through and the old ones rot into compost, because the old stuff is too weak to push through the wood chip covering.
– Paul said wood ashes are the most mineral rich substance in the world and so he adds them to his garden. (Don’t add too much at one time.)
– The mineral levels in his garden are multiple times higher than desired levels. Paul says his food tastes so good because of the high mineral content.
– Organic carrots are often grown organically but the producer sprays them with chemicals for improved shelf life! (Note the slimy feel = that’s the chemicals.) The FDA twists the rules around so organic doesn’t mean what most people think it does.
– There was a big drought in his area this year and so many farmers didn’t plant anything even though it’s the breadbasket of the country. His garden did just fine without any watering! (due to thick wood chip mulch)
– His plants are tasty, nutritious and juicy due to the large root systems that develop under the wood chip mulch.
– Kale has 80% more protein than buffalo meat plus it’s more bioavailable.
– Chickens are the best for getting rid of ants. They’ll eat the larvae, everything.
– He has a machine to roll oats from seed for oatmeal. Store bought rolled oats, according to Paul, is dead food because the seed has been crushed/processed and sits on the shelf for months before being used.
L2Survive YouTube channel has dozens of additional videos on Paul Gautschi’s garden. Paul is kind enough to share his methods in detail and answer hundreds of reader’s questions. Paul is too busy to write a book about his garden so I hope he finds someone to write one with his assistance.