Evolution from row gardening to the "Back to Eden" method
Having had successful dirt gardens for years in northern zones, we were frustrated with our inability to grow even healthy weeds in our hot, sandy, dry, soil. We added water, then found the nutrients were leached out. We added nutrients and found that the heat burned the plants . . . too much work for very little payback! When we had all the variables balanced, insects and wildlife said "thank you," as they filled their little tummies with our bounty!
While researching ways of keeping squirrels from annihilating our peach and nectarine trees, we came upon "The Back to Eden Gardening Method" by Paul Gautschi. It is based on Paul's observations of the natural world around him on his spiritual journey. We dutifully watched the 2 hour documentary film, of the same name, and gleaned from it, bits and pieces that we could use. It also gave us a destination for all the wood debris from our land, that had been previously been burned. We had thought for some time, that the process of burning was a waste of a resource, but did not know how to reclaim it, and give it a new life and purpose, that would be neat and not a safety concern.
After the "1,000 year flood" we found the soil had been stripped and 2016 would be the best time to start our new adventure with 100% commitment.
To start, you need to collect cardboard, green wood chips, and compost. Due to a kitchen renovation, we had cabinet and appliance size cardboard to make our job easier. The wood chips came from cleaning up the storm debris, and compost came from our fall leaf clean up. A few acres of leaves, mulched and vacuumed, gives us two, ten foot piles of mulched leaves per year. Add a little chicken litter, house compost, and vermicompost . . . and voila . . . a year later . . . great compost!