"Back to Eden" Gardening: Journey Begins with Step One ...

With whatever excitement or trepidation (or some combination of both?) we may feel in advance of it, every journey begins with an act of our wills - to take the first step!

After writing the post on what inspired me and my beloved to launch into it, this will be my first post on the journey we have begun to take into the fascinating world of permaculture generally and "Back to Eden" gardening specifically.

One which we expect to be on for whatever "number of days" we have remaining to us ...

Source: Creator enriquelopezgarre on Pixabay

This lead image was a powerful illustration, to us, of what lies behind the inspiration we have derived from all I wrote about in my inspiration post - Life and Death. I will come back to touch on it again in the "Philosophical Postscript" section, at the end of this post.

First, "let the journey begin" and walk with me, dear reader, through what we have experienced along the way, in taking our first steps ...

Initial Decisions and the Inevitable First Hurdles ...

While the inspiration to get going was considerable, the almost immediate "reality checks" to progress were equally considerable. One specific example being how much of the "good earth" did we have to devote to this exciting new chapter of our lives?

Source: Square Foot Herb Garden Layout website

The answer? "Square foot" gardening anyone? 😉 Seriously, anyone undertaking even the thought of starting out on a journey like this one is immediately faced with an almost overwhelming number of choices to make. Many of them written about with a lot of passion, by people similarly motivated!

We resolved this fairly quickly by realizing there is no absolute "right" or "wrong" answer. You just have to get started and do what seems best to you, within the constraints of the circumstances in your own life. For us, that was the "reality check" that we live on a pretty standard lot in a small town. And much of that was already taken up by "mature" landscaping planted decades before us. By the previous owners of our home ...

So ... We ultimately settled on doing what we could, with the portion of our yard which could be the most readily and easily devoted to this new chapter of our lives. Then, learn what lessons we could from it. And apply them, over time, to whatever increased amount of square footage we deemed best to devote to it.

With this initial decision made, we were "off and running shuffling" ... 😉


There were really only two areas of our yard which readily lent themselves to forging ahead. The western side yards, both in front of and behind the fence we had around our back yard.

Photos: Side Yard, Front and Behind Fence

* Note 1: First picture shows one of our challenges. What to do with the beautiful yellow hollyhock we had growing there ... 🤔
* Note 2: Second picture shows work in the beginning stages of getting this area ready for what's coming ...

First, both of these spaces had the most southern sunlight shining on them. A big deal at our elevation, since our growing season is already comparatively short.

Second, while there was a lot of current vegetation, most of it we were ready to either relocate or part with altogether. We also had a number of problem weedy areas, which we were happily looking forward to bringing under better control.


Another key decision was deciding exactly which route we were going to follow in providing mulch and cover to our ground. Again, pretty quickly we determined we wanted to follow Paul Gautschi's "Back To Eden" gardening approach and primarily use wood chips.

While reaching this decision was pretty easy, deciding where we were going to get some wood chips was not. Seeing many online references to supposedly all of the "many resources" for free wood chips "all around us," in our area we failed to find a single one! 😧

So ... We decided we would make our own ...

First Step: Source of Wood Chips

On the opposite side of our lot, from the pictures shown above, are a number of trees. From the early days of the property, aspens had been planted. As "nursery" trees for the evergreens planted at the same time - a blue spruce and a ponderosa pine.

As is often the case and was true for our property, the aspens slowly die off, as the evergreens grow in size and strength. As a result, we had 3 dead aspen trees, closest to the evergreens and 3 more heading that way nearby.

In addition, we had two smallish fruit trees, which were both in a bad place and had never produced anything. We also had a tree long dead, which had produced some sizable shoots growing up all around the original stump.

Taken altogether then, we had 9 trees we could take down and turn into wood chips. As part of the benefit of using these trees, they had never been treated with any herbicides or pesticides. And they provided a nice mix of dead, half-dead, and living trees, bark, branches, and leaves for our mulching objectives! 👍 👌

Photo: Going ... Going ...

* Note 1: First picture shows one of the fruit trees on the left, the large blue spruce clearly seen in the background, as well as a glimpse of the ponderosa pine to the left of it.

As interested as I was to talk to this crew and as impressed as I was with their work (I gave them a significant amount more than their estimate), sadly it did not occur to me, until they were well along to completing the task, to capture the experience with my smart phone ... 😞

Oh well, at least I did catch the end of it and the final result.

Photos: Gone. Making quick work of it!

Writing to family and friends about this resulting pile of wood chips, I let them know a team of 3 men, both well-equipped and experienced for the task, had managed to cut down all 9 trees, chip them up, and turn them into this nice pile in our driveway. In ~ 60 minutes!!

And let them know I, who was ill-equipped and inexperienced, would likely be working on it for the next several weeks!


With this start made and our adventure underway, in my next post I will be bringing you the details of what I learned over this period of time. Spoiler alert! I did get the ground covered with wood chips, before the snow flew, but just ... 😉

Philosophical Postscript

Wrapping up this post, dear reader, I would like to briefly touch on some of my philosophical reflections, 🤔 while working in the peace and quiet of my own garden. Based on how unexpectedly refreshing and inspiring I have found this time to be ... 😉


"Trap" of Time and Consequences ...

In our "cause and effect" world, it is an endlessly repeated mistake to do something and wake up in the morning to the appearance of "all is well," particularly when it appears to be in alignment with what we want it to be.

But ... Is it truly?

Source: Creator Merio on Pixabay

The "trap" to which I am referring? When the passage of time slowly but relentlessly reveals we have deceived ourselves. The longer the period of time, before the truth is revealed, the more insidious the trap becomes. Why? The wrong thought processes become all the more deeply ingrained. We become all the more deeply entrenched in habit patterns taking us down the wrong road.

The lead image, tied in to what I wrote about in my inspiration post, is a case in point. It was very sobering to hear agricultural experts talk about how we are slowly but surely turning once fertile areas into deserts!

Life and Death. Taking care of our stewardship responsibility over the earth in a manner which is in alignment with the way its Creator intended. Or ... Going our "own way" and stubbornly continuing on it, no matter what evidence there is to the contrary that it is not working out well ...

Source: Creator RetroTRAKTOR on Pixabay

Haven't we all grown up understanding the "benefits" of the "modern miracle" of heavily mechanized farming in only the last 3 or 4 generations? Which has "freed' man from the monotony of his historic ties to the earth and growing his own food?

Add to this all of effects of using herbicides and pesticides as a part of "continuous improvement" of the environment in which our food is grown. Why stop there? We now think we know enough about DNA to use genetic engineering to create new bioengineered foods that are uhhh ... "better" than ever before! Right ...

That said, prior to discovering this new way of looking at gardening, frankly any thought to the contrary had really never crossed my mind. Like most of us, I just went with the usual "everybody knows" view ...

And now? While making no claim to being wise enough to fully grasp all of the implications, I have certainly started to ask some hard questions. And begun taking concrete steps in a different direction ...



In our time and for many of us, this commonly used word immediately conjures up many thoughts. Most of them highly and "politically" charged. And, as a result for at least this Steemian, quickly dismissed and walked away from, as I don't care for them. At least as commonly portrayed ...

Source: Creator annca on Pixabay

This journey, however, has caused a considerable "rethink" for us on this overly used (for us at least) word. From our system of belief, unapologetically Christ-centered, we prefer stewardship responsibility, hoping reasonable people would agree it is conveying pretty much the same end result as the word sustainability, albeit from a different perspective.

Source: Creator GrupoVillena on Pixabay

As a result, starting into this new adventure, we have a renewed appreciation for a favorite portion of God's Word:

> "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
> What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
> Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
> You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
> All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
> The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
> O Lord, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!"
> [Psalm 8:4-9](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+8%3A4-9&version=NASB
) [emphasis added mine]


Paul Gautschi's "Back To Eden" gardening approach addressed both of these philosophical subjects indirectly. The inspiration this provided for what can be had a powerful influence on us.

From which we derive
a lot of motivation
for what lies in front of us! 👍


We can all find a lot of people's experiences and thoughts on taking the first step into any new venture in our lives. Anxieties and even fears can set in. Procrastination can bind you up. For us, our view of it is pretty simple. 🤔 We just need to get up out of our chairs and start moving! 😏 And "adjust course" along the way, as seems best to us!

In my next post, dear reader, I will be providing you some details of all that went into trying to get our little patch of "the good earth" covered with some wood chips, before snowfall. And introduce you to what we found to be a very effective little machine to help us with the task.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the beginning of this exciting new chapter of our lives. I’d love to hear any feedback you may be inspired to provide.

Until "next time," all the best to you for a better tomorrow, as we all work together to build up our Steem Communities and add increasing value to our Steem blockchain! 👍 😊

Steemian @roleerob

Posted using SteemPeak and “immutably enshrined in the blockchain” on Monday, 10 February 2020!


P.S. As this is my first time posting on #naturalmedicine, I welcome any and all input on anything I could have done better, for the next time.

Interested to read more of my related posts?

Lead ImageTitle, Link, & Summary
Observations: Gratitude and the Simple Things

Summary: Reflections on a quiet, peaceful morning about what is truly important and being grateful for what we so often take for granted.

R2R Reflections: For Such a Time as This ...

Summary: While on my road trip, what I probably thought about more than anything else was our time. While these reflections were focused on my own personal history, I also thought a lot about the time in human history into which I was born.

R2R Reflections: "Golden Years" and our Legacy ...

Summary: While on my road trip, my primary focus was on the "next chapter" of our lives. Our legacy and the "footprints in the sands of time" we would leave behind.

Reflections: Permaculture, Food Forests, and "Back to Eden!"

Summary: The response to this question - "What is a "food forest?" The story behind all the surprising and life-changing inspiration it has provided to me and my beloved.

SteemPeak: An awesome interface for our Steem blockchain.

Check it out!

Wish to know more about this passionate Steem community?

This account is protected by @dustsweeper

Comments 35

Hello roleerob!

Congratulations! This post has been randomly Resteemed! For a chance to get more of your content resteemed join the Steem Engine Team

11.02.2020 02:40

@tipu curate

11.02.2020 03:38

Upvoted 👌 (Mana: 10/15 - need recharge?)

11.02.2020 03:39

Congratulations. We love your post because it's so well written and visually stunning, and we'd love to see it hit the Trending pages of Steem. Our project aims to generate support for posts just like yours!

trendgineering #trending

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Photo Courtesy of Canva

What do you think @theycallmedan, @twinner, @superhardness, @postpromoter, @adsup, @redpalestino, @trafalgar, @blocktrades, @smooth, @azircon, @michealb, @tombstone and whoever else notices this? Spread the word!

@trendthis was founded by @joshman. If you were mentioned and wish not to participate, simply reply to this post stating so. A special thank you to collaborators @azircon, @livinguktaiwan, @minismallholding, @riverflows. Of course this could not be done without the generous support of our participating Orcas and Whales!

Project Supporter: @ocd / @ocdb / @acidyo

Project Supporter: @ steemflagrewards / @enforcer48 / @anthonyadavisii

11.02.2020 03:44

Wow! Thank you very much for the encouragement @trendthis! I really appreciate it!!

With a little "inside" help, I have created a curation trail fo you in SteemAuto that otthers may wish to consider followin. As of now it has a ttrail ollowing (in SteemAuto) of ONE!! 😊 👍
Love the effort you are making to promote non-Steem related content!

P.S. For those interested in learning more about this initiative, you may enjoy this rare post on the topic from @azircon.

11.02.2020 03:52

Thanks for the reminder to set my Steem Auto trail for this!

11.02.2020 20:17

You are certainly welcome @riverflows. I have edited the comment to add a link to post on this initiative, which I only recently uncovered. You may find it of additional interest, as we see the coordinated efforts of others to improve our Steem blockchain.

12.02.2020 13:40

And you are on trending! I thought that impossible in certain circles called SBI! Because you guys are all grassroots! Just joking....


12.02.2020 00:23

Yes sir, I am! Thank you for your support on this initiative @azircon. A good one!! 👍

12.02.2020 13:25

Just came to say Congratulations for the great work both in your Garden and in your writing!! I'm glad for this great recognition to your efforts dear Friend @Roleerob!
Many hugs and good wishes of Love and Light!!

19.02.2020 21:41

Way behind "in here," with too many pressing matters "out there" ... Thank you @leveuf for stopping by and adding value to this post with your comments.

I hope all is well with you and yours my dear friend!

22.02.2020 15:52

Lovely to see your starting steps on the road to growing your own. Often when we read other people's stories on gardening it's so far after they started that you can feel that they accomplished it all in a short amount of time, but really it's a slow journey with lots of decision making along the way.

11.02.2020 04:12

Yes, very good point @minismallholding! For me, it is a matter of getting my posts written on what I've done so far (one whole partial season ...), while there are several inches of snow out there on the ground. And we're bundled up inside! 😉

Once it is time to get "out there" again, being inside and looking at a computer screen will definitely be taking a back seat ... That is what happened to me last summer, when my posting really began to fall off ... But I was so excited about what we were doing!

Thank you very kindly for your encouragement and support! I don't write a lot of posts, but do try to make the ones I write worth reading, for those who find the content of some value.

11.02.2020 04:21

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.
@c-squared runs a community witness. Please consider using one of your witness votes on us here

11.02.2020 04:49

Thank you very much @c-squared, for the support! 😊 👍

12.02.2020 16:43

Looks neat. Can't wait to see where this goes. I think shrubs and trees are a good idea too if you have the patience.

11.02.2020 05:46

Yes @abitcoinskeptic ...

"I think shrubs and trees are a good idea too if you have the patience."

... agreed, although for us the issue is different. Unwritten is the still uncertain answer to a key question. Where will we be living 2 to 3 years from now? Lots behind this question, which I chose not to even touch on in this post, but ... Perhaps I need to add a bit about that for a future post.

Thanks for stopping by!perience with some vegetables and improving our strawberries, as far

11.02.2020 13:17

That makes sense to me amd it is essentially the same reason I don't grow trees or shrubs. I have to replant every year.
It does take a little of the permanent out of permaculture, but it is really a lifestyle. Trees and scrubs are also tougher and require more thinking as you can't move them year after year.
That said, grow a variety of cabbages. Fast, easy to grow and harvest, nutritious, lots of meal choices.

11.02.2020 13:59

Thanks for the additional input @abitcoinskeptic and for your help in adding additional value to this post!

12.02.2020 13:27

Congratulations on beginning this project and with such a great method. Back to Eden is absolutely the way to go, check out Ruth Stout method and hugelkulture as well to get more ideas ;)


11.02.2020 16:13

Congratulations @fenngen, you successfuly trended the post shared by @roleerob!
@roleerob will receive 1.21320788 TRDO & @fenngen will get 0.80880525 TRDO curation in 3 Days from Post Created Date!

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11.02.2020 16:13

Okay @fenngen, thank you for the additional tips on options to check out. Amazing to me how much diversity there is to consider in all of this. I suppose it stands to reason, though, given how diverse our individual circumstances are, as well as how diverse the terrain and climate conditions are in which anyone might attempt a similar venture.

Thank you for stopping by and adding additional value to this post!

12.02.2020 13:30

This is EXACTLY what we adore at @naturalmedicine... not only do you describe in detail your stewardship of the earth (we support earth HEALING practices such as permaculture) you get very Zen about it (We love meditation posts too).

It's always a learning curve.. but you are right, starting is key. I get UBER excited if I happen to see the power guys nearby cutting trees free of lines, they will drop it at ours. In Australia though, these chips are mostly gums... we can't do woodchip gardening like Back to Eden unless its for natives. Straw, manure, paper etc is better for our food producing gardens.

11.02.2020 20:16

Very encouraging to get this feedback @riverflows, as it was certainly not immediately obvious to me that content of this type would be of interest to your community. Now I know better! 😊

Interesting to “hear” your point about clearing the ROW for power lines, as I worked at an electric coop here prior to my retirement. It was a fascinating industry to be a part of at this particular time, given the tremendous changes underway to develop and employ the so-called “smart grid” …

Also a surprise to hear about the trees there. I assumed, given Geoff Lawson (and his mentor?) are Aussies, that wood chips are readily available. This whole new world is very humbling when all of the different types of plants are taken into account. And learning about all the “dos” and “don’ts” of it. I will be writing later on about what we are doing with vermiculture and the unhappy lesson we learned with just leaves in our back yard …

Thank you so much for stopping by and adding additional value to this post!

12.02.2020 13:37

Yes making the first step is so important, trusting that you know what to do because we instinctively know that we are here to be of service to the earth. There is nothing ore natural than working with nature, working with the soil and immersing ourselves in nature. When I discovered permaculture and then done a permaculture design course, I realized that I already knew so much of what I was being shown, it was all about remembering and tapping into our inner knowing, trusting our own inner wisdom and our deep connection to the earth. Thank you for sharing your journey with us xx

11.02.2020 22:17

Agreed @trucklife-family that there is just something extraordinarily special about going outside and “playing in the dirt!” I can still hear my mother’s voice telling us to “turn that TV off and go outside and play!” 😉 (Today it would be "put that smartphone down / turn that computer off" ... 😊)

At this stage of our lives and as stated in my profile, we are focused on learning to live very simply. I believe there is a lot of good healthy benefits from that alone. As part of that, focusing on improving the life in our soil and deriving the associated nutritional benefits of growing our own food in it? Aside from investing my time in other people, hard to think of a more productive use of our time …

Thank you so much for stopping by and adding additional value to this post!

12.02.2020 13:47

If you ever plan to plant squash and corn in a future garden you could use the Three Sisters planting method with squash, beans, and corn. It helps save space and each of the vegetables are beneficial to each other.

12.02.2020 06:14

Very good @aur. Love these ideas. The synergy amongst all of the plants, in the various layers we learned and wrote about in my original post on the inspiration behind getting started, was fascinating. It was all new to us!

The “tips & tricks” associated with this new venture are seemingly endless, so we are thinking we’ll easily be at it the rest of our lives. Working on just trying to “make a dent” in all there is to know. And at the end of it all, we’ll likely still be a long way from being “experts” …

Thank you so much for stopping by and adding additional value to this post!

12.02.2020 13:55

12.02.2020 15:56

What is the estimated time for project completion?

13.02.2020 17:47

Well @enforcer48, the answer would depend on how you define "project" and "completion." And would therefore range somewhere between "it is done" to "at the end of my natural life" ... 🙂

Seriously, I am in the process of finishing my post about getting all 3 areas we have committed to this new venture covered in wood chips prior to the snow flying.

It will be a "work in progress" the rest of lives to maintain this effort and see what ROI we generate from the quality and quantity of food we grow for ourselves.

Thanks for stopping by! 👍

13.02.2020 18:09

Congratulations @roleerob, your post successfully recieved 1.21320788 TRDO from below listed TRENDO callers:

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14.02.2020 02:51

I love that title “Back to Eden”. I like the approach you both took to just get started and make adjustments along the way that works best for you all. Wow that is so cool you already has so many untreated trees to use as wood chips.

You really shared some deep thoughts to ponder and I love the scripture you shared. This was really a well written post. Thanks for the read :)

14.02.2020 15:07

Glad to know you found it of value @crosheille. My beloved and I could never have imagined the inspiration this new venture in our life has provided. We will almost certainly be at it, in one way or another, for the rest of our lives. At least as long as we can "shuffle" forward ... 😊

The original garden - "Eden" - and all that we are told about it. In contrast with another garden - "Gethsemane" - and the history altering nature of what we are told about it. I might be a little slow at times, but seems gardens are important ... 😉

Thank you for stopping by and adding value to this post with your comments!

P.S. As a glimpse into how profoundly this topic has touched me, the scripture reference under the lead image in my latest post will provide it ...

14.02.2020 15:36

I’m so glad to hear it’s providing you both with inspiration. Yes, I would have to agree that gardens are important :)

20.02.2020 14:21