I started doing the BTE garden system this winter

hoping that it will result in a more successful garden experience this year (lol, since I’m usually in the negative, I can only go up!)

It takes longer for the wood chips to decompose than most people think, at a minimum, it takes about 5-6 months. We laid ours down in December, so i really should not have been planting in it until May ish, but I couldn’t wait 🙂

Paul (in the movie) lives up in Seattle where it rains a bazillion, so “eliminates the need for water” is probably not true for most of us, especially if you are like me and are starting with ****** soil. I would say that it is true that it greatly reduces the need for water, and the soil does stay moist (although the wood chips themselves stay dry…it’s the weirdest thing.

I did notice that within weeks the soil was much softer. Our back strip (if you go to my blog) we had to til-up, because we had taken out grass area. The front planter however, was compacted hard, can’t dig in it-dirt. I can now dig into it with my finger, and when I planted Kale transplants, the ground was very easy to work with in just a little while.

I did not water at all for the first few weeks–the plants survived, but I can’t say they thrived. I re-watched the film and saw he said you might have to water or fertilize the first little while, so I watered well and the transplants have been thriving ever since.

AND SO FAR NO WEEDS !! (Which is actually saying alot–my neighborhood is full of crab- and bermuda- grass!)

I am very pleased with the system so far. I am a very neglectful gardener but so far it is doing well. I am hoping to pull up my front yard in the next few weeks and put in a semi-raised bed system (I’m basically going to raise the whole front yard to be relatively level. My plan is to put fill dirt in for most of it, then put in 2-4 inches of compost, then put in wood chips on top of that. This front yard garden is going to be the primary source of juicing greens for us, so I need to make sure it gets a good start.

I can’t speak to going forward/results, but I am anticipating next fall before I put winter crops in, adding a smaller layer of compost and more wood chips.