February 23, 2017

Back to Eden Method

Back to Eden Soil Management Method


Uses & Benefits of the Back to Eden Soil Management Method

  • To convert hard clay into soft pliable soil within several months. This is applicable even to sloping land (over which there is very minimal traffic. However, shifting has been prevented by laying a few blocks as temporary stepping stones only for gardening purposes).
  • To keep moisture in the soil and harsh elements (sun and wind) out with the use of a very thick layer of at least 4 inches of ground cover. This is particularly useful for locations with low rain fall. In fact, this method allows you to proceed without irrigation. The covering includes a combination of grass clipping, leaves, animal manure, straw, even rocks, compost and wood chips. 
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However, compost along with wood chips are preferable. Wood chips refer to branches and leaves that have been reduced. Wood chips are ideal as they regulate the moisture content. Specifically, they retain water during dry spells and release excess water when there is too much.
  • To attract worms and other beneficial life forms to the soil 


Things you will need for the Back to Eden Soil Management Method

  • Paper (like newspaper, rolls from newspaper companies)
  • Tub grinder (for creating chips from large stock) or wood chipper (for much smaller kitchen garden stocks. Using a hand operated wood chipper is usually considered too labor intensive for larger operations. If you get a wood chipper, consider one that has a chute that can put out chips into a container as opposed to the ground. If the output goes on the ground, this increases the labor intensive nature as you will also need to pick the wood chips up from the ground.)
  • Branches (if you do not source wood chips)
  • Wood chips (if you do not have a tub grinder and branches)
  • Compost
  • Nitrogen-rich material like 
    • manure 
    • even urine
  • Weights like stepping stones or blocks to hold down the lighter weight layers, especially in the case of sloping land
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Steps: How to implement the Back to Eden Soil Management Method 


  1. In the tropics, you can do this in any season. However, consider beginning the process at the end of the wet season or early dry season. This will give the covering a chance to breakdown in time for your best planting season, ie early wet season.
  2. Cut grass as low as possible to the ground
  3. Do NOT till the soil. As you will appreciate later, the Back to Eden process involves covering the soil and then allowing gentle fertilization.
  4. Spread 4 to 5 layers of paper (newspaper, waste newspaper rolls, craft paper, etc)
  5. Apply a layer of compost
  6. Spread wood chip mulch from your environment. This is a key ingredient to the success of this Back to Eden process. It is worthwhile contacting companies that prune or cut down trees and dispose of that material as waste. You can also use chips from pruning your trees during the early dry season.
  7. Apply a layer of nitrogen-rich elements like manure (and even urine)
  8. If necessary, use some kind of weights to prevent the materials from blowing away while they break down.
  9. When planting, do NOT plant directly into the wood chips because the growth will not be very good. In that case, pull back the wood chips to create cavities in the soil for plants. You may add manure and compost to the hole.
  10. A few days afterwards when the plant has become established, replace the chips around the base of the plants.
  11. Eventually, the wood chips will break down fully to become better planting medium. You may continue to add layers of manure, compost and chips. When you do, do NOT till the soil. Simply allow nature to take its course.
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CONTENT RELATED TO THE BACK TO EDEN SOIL MANAGEMENT METHOD