What Is Back To Eden Gardening?

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Amazing Gardening Method?

Gardening is so important to your health and well being and I highly recommend it to everyone.

I’ve been growing a garden for about 3 years now (a total noob, I know) and have recently stumbled upon this method of gardening 3 months ago while watching YouTube videos about gardening.

This has totally revolutionized the way I will garden for the rest of my life. It’s totally game-changing. Here is why.

  • No need for tilling the soil.
  • No adding fertilizers or pesticides for truly organic gardening.
  • Little to no watering. Using BTE retains the moisture in the soil.
  • Suppresses weed growth.
  • When weeds do come up (and they will) they are super easy to pull up, as the soil is loose and moist making pulling super easy.
  • Plants will grow better, as well as produce more vegetables and fruit.
  • Less work!!!
  • This system builds on itself. So year after year you will get better and better results. As you are building nutrient-dense soil.


Here is one of the best reasons in my book why, as it severely limits the amount of pulling weeds? Nobody likes pulling weeds as this is usually hard work, but with this Back To Eden Gardening, this is very minimal and easier. The weeds just easily pull out.

After pulling weeds for 3 years I am so over that and wanted a better method. So I began searching on YouTube…

More importantly, if you want a garden where your plants grow bigger and healthier and continue to fertilize the soil with minimal effort. Back To Eden Gardening is where it is at.

Nothing will do more for your health and well being as eating food you have grown yourself with no chemicals or pesticides. Eating freshly picked fruits and vegetables that are nutrient-dense will improve your health and the general sense of well being. You are what you eat, if you put garbage into your body will become unhealthy, if you put good food into yourself you will be healthy. I’ve never felt better since starting a garden.

What Is Back To Eden Gardening?

The best method to understand Back To Eden Gardening is to watch the groundbreaking documentary here. It is almost 2 hours long but you will come away with a great understanding of this method of gardening.

In a nutshell, BTE gardening was developed by a man named Paul Gautschi who discovered that everywhere in nature the soil is covered by something except where man has disturbed the soil. He copied how nature works and applied it to his orchards and garden and had great success. 

It uses some type of covering on the soil which protects the soil from erosion as well as keeps the moisture locked in. Paul is often telling people he has never watered his orchard even in droughts. 

This layering of cover also keeps weeds from easily establishing themselves in your garden. Weeds that do take hold are simply pulled with little effort as a covering makes the soil loose and moist.

Why Does This Work?

Using the Back To Eden Gardening method works around the simple idea of it uses the same method of nature. Go into a forest and look around the ground you will find a covering of leaves, needles, and twigs. This my friends is Back To Eden. Having a layer protecting the surface of the soil.

Everywhere in nature, where man has not disturbed the soil, there is a covering. That covering can be a multitude of things. Wood chips, straw, rocks, leaves, pine needles, mulch, etc. This layering of natural materials retains moisture while also slowing breaking down to add nutrients to the soil.

Time To Sell Your Rotor Tiller!


  • Great for the first time gardener or expert!
  • Covering the soil helps retain the water from rainfall or watering. This allows the plants or trees to have access to water more often. Very helpful in dry climates.
  • Anytime you copy nature you’re doing something right.
  • No need to buy fertilizers or pesticides. A big plus!
  • Most wood chips can be attained for free from a local tree service company. They are more than happy to dump off their wood chips.
  • Can be applied to large gardens or even potted plants. Size doesn’t matter, as long as you have enough coverage.
  • All organic.
  • Pest control.
  • Weed control.
  • Amazing soil after you get past the initial years.
  • The soil won’t compact no matter how much you walk on it.


  • This takes time. It is not an overnight success but the longer you follow this method the better and healthier your soil will become.
  • Some people have slug problems from having wood chips. This usually clears up as the years go by.

Common Mistake of Starting a Back To Eden Garden

Never till or bury wood chips into the ground. The wood chips are a ground covering. The wood chips are placed on top of the soil usually at least 4 inches thick. If the wood chips get buried they will tie up nitrogen in your soil and your plants will struggle to live.

You’re just adding material on top, wood chips, or other materials. Never into the soil.

When planting seeds you need to pull back the covering (wood chips) and expose the soil with a rake or hands and plant directly into the soil. Don’t throw the seeds on top of the wood chips. When seedlings are established enough push wood chips carefully covering the sides of the plant.

Wood chips need to be made up of branches and leaves not just big chunky wood chips from the trunk and large limbs. You want the branches and leaves, as this has the most nutrients. A good mix of branches, leaves, limbs, and trunk chips is the optimal wood chip, basically the whole tree.

Stay away from strickly bark or bark nuggets as there is little nutrient value in adding this to your garden. It won’t hurt your garden but is not optimal.

Alternatives To Wood Chips

Besides wood chips (which Paul Gautschi prefers over other coverings) there are a whole host of other materials you can use as well. Appling different coverings add diversity to the nutrients in your garden.

  • grass clippings
  • leaves
  • animal manures
  • straw (never hay, as hay brings in weed seeds)
  • rocks
  • compost

Some Finer Points Of Back To Eden Gardening

To see where Paul gets his seeds and plants, as well as the tools he uses head on over to my page Paul Gautschi Recommended Plants, Seeds, & Pruning tools.

Seeds are very important to the Back To Eden Gardening method.

Trees can be very important in a Back To Eden Garden, when appropriate. As Paul doesn’t have trees in his main vegetable garden but does plant vegetables in his orchard and often many plants grow very well under these trees.

If you have a smartphone there is a great app called ChipDrop, they will help you hook up with local arborists to attain wood chips most times for free.

To get the best results as seen in the film Paul uses chickens to break down yard waste and make wonderful compost which he adds to his vegetable garden.

If you plan on starting a garden on your lawn you’re going to need some cardboard or newspaper to place over the grass, then compost then wood chips. After a few months of this in place, the cardboard will block all light and kill the grass underneath. No need to till it.

Not Ready For A Big Garden Or No Space?

Check out my page on Why You Need A Garden – Doesn’t Matter How Small.

I hope you serious give the Back To Eden serious thought on implementing into your garden.

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10 thoughts on “What Is Back To Eden Gardening?”

  1. Yes, I agree that using the same methods as nature will always take time (way longer than we’re used to because we want al fast), but the results are superior. And I can’t wait to try this method in my garden. I hope I have enough time. I am retired now and ready to get my hands dirty with mud.

    • It is a nice reason to play around in the dirt, isn’t it? Yeah, the first couple of years will be a little rougher but it pays and pays and pays on the back end more. I am hoping for an amazing crop this year, as this is my third year with the back to Eden method.

  2. Thanks a million times for taking your time to write about, this amazing and wonderful post, it is really an eye opener, have been a lover of garden and so is my wife, see spend a lot of time in our garden.  Reading this post as make me realize how to cultivate our garden in a better way. 

  3. We moved into a new house a year ago and have been battling to maintain the garden as it is bigger than our old one, and the weeds seem to just take over.

    This article came at just the right time, and I am definitely going to watch the video and try the wood chip thing to see if we can stop the weeds over time. 

    I was looking to find a ground cover for the area around the pool to stop the sand from blowing in. Any suggestions or would wood chips do the job too?

    • You will love wood chips after you have put them down as cover. So much less work! Glad to hear you might be a convert to Back To Eden, it will stop the weeds.

      Yes, wood chips would help if you have sand next to the pool. You could even plant ornamental plants there as well to help the sand from blowing in.

  4. This genuinely sounds like my kind of gardening. I mean, I really love the idea of doing it without fertilizers or pesticides, as well as just the notion of less work since I’m pretty busy with my day job and side projects already. Also, plants growing better being more fruitful does sound like the kind of thing that’s always good. And fewer weeds (and easier to pull them when there are), well, who doesn’t like that?

    Also, I loved that pros and cons section. So in love with the pros and indifferent with the cons. 🙂

    I will be watching that documentary next. And I’ll check out that other page you recommended as well. Thank you! <3

    • People just love this method as it frees up more time for them, with any garden you have to invest in time and work but with Back to Eden it is way less. Yes, please watch the documentary this will explain way better than I can. 

  5. Thank you for a fascinating article about natural gardening. I have heard of Back to Eden but have not had the pleasure of watching it, so I will now that I have read this article. I love natural gardening and being truly organic by adopting the no-spray methodology. I follow permaculture myself and love that the food I grow is truly the way nature intended. So love this article and will bookmark your site and share the article with others. PS: I threw away my rotary hoe along time ago, lol!    

    • Lol Rina as you no longer need a “rotary hoe” anymore. Would love to hear any tips you have concerning gardening. It is the safest way and healthiest way to get food for sure. 

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