Weeding & Fungi in Your Back to Eden Garden

You’ll be amazed how little you need to weed your Back to Eden garden. Instead of weeds, you’ll find fungi… and that’s a good thing!

Closeup of a dandelion growing in my back to eden garden. It transitioned to seeds and one seed is about to blow away.

There are two things that I love about my Back to Eden garden despite the fact that my garden is startlingly behind this year. The first is that I don’t have to water unless I’m germinating seeds. The rain does it all. I’ve pulled back the covering and checked the soil. It’s damp but not soaked, a good 6″ down, even if we’ve gone through a dry spell. The second thing I love is the weeding… or lack thereof. My primary garden measures over 1,000 square feet. I can weed it in its entirety in under an hour, even if I haven’t done it for months.

The only weeds I contend with are tiny little maple trees, shallow on the wood chip surface. I believe I have only pulled grass once or twice, and even then, it’s only a couple of blades in an area where the wood chips were thin.

Where You’ll Find Weeds in Your Back to Eden Garden

The locations where you will find weeds in your Back to Eden garden are where you’ve pulled back the chips to plant seedlings or small plants. As I’ve talked about before, you need to ensure that your plants are being planted in the soil, not in the chips. The only exception I have found so far is with potatoes. When the soil is exposed while the plant is establishing itself, small blades of grass may creep in. To reduce the likeliness of this, only pull the chips back enough to avoid smothering the plant. It also helps to sprinkle a light layer of wood chips or other organic mulch around the plant until the wood chips can be put back into place.

Beautiful sunny garden with calendula and cabbage.

Having these organic mulches around your young plant can help in a variety of ways. In addition to suppressing weeds, it helps hold in moisture, which is vital to plants trying to get their roots (pun intended). The mulch also protects the soil from driving rains. How many times have you gone to check your garden and found plants completely uprooted because of a hard rain? It’s upsetting since rain is supposed to be a gardener’s friend.

What about mushrooms, fungi, and slime molds?

Do you have little mushrooms sprouting up in your Back to Eden garden? Congratulations! The mushrooms popping up are a sign that your wood chips are decomposing and your garden is getting where it should be. You don’t want to pull up the mushrooms. Embrace them as happy workers in your garden. Some people actually inoculate their wood chips with mushroom spores.

Yellow foamy mold growing on wood chips in my back to eden garden.
It may not be pretty, but slime mold is great for decomposition in the Back to Eden garden.

Slime mold is also a great addition to your garden. Much like the mushrooms, leave it be, and it will work for you. Due to its appearance (it sometimes looks like cat vomit), people who would be happy to leave mushrooms alone may not feel the same way about slime mold. If it bothers you aesthetically, feel free to break it up and rake it into the chips with a hard garden rake. Maybe that’s why we always see Paul walking around with that hard rake of his. He doesn’t want the cameras to capture his slime mold.

If you are interested in inoculating your Back to Eden garden with mushroom spores, wine cap/king Stropharia mushrooms are a great choice. These mushroom spores are available through Amazon and many local garden centers (though they may have to special order the cultures).

Frequently Asked Questions

Mulching helps control weeds, but periodic checks are still beneficial.

Too much fertilizer can lead to nutrient imbalances and harm soil health—moderation is key.

If you’ve found value in this blog post and enjoyed reading it, why not share it with your Pinterest community? Pin the image below and spread the love!

Closeup of a dandelion growing in my back to eden garden. It transitioned to seeds and one seed is about to blow away.

The whole Back Eden adventure shows this cool dance we’ve got going on with nature in our gardens. You know, letting things get a bit wild, picking up some tips from the land, and basically being buds with the environment. The post’s like a reminder that a garden isn’t just dirt with plants—it’s a living, breathing thing that loves a bit of respect and a touch of wild charm. It’s all about finding that sweet spot where we’re not just growing plants but also vibing with the awesome, natural world around us.

What are your go-to strategies for tackling weeds in your Back to Eden Garden? Any tips on keeping it low-maintenance and still flourishing? And when it comes to fertilizing, what’s been your secret sauce for nurturing your garden without going overboard? Let’s swap stories and solutions—drop your best weeding and fertilizing hacks in the comments!

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  1. Malokelde says:

    Our back to eden garden is always overrun with weeds. Really tempted to till them up. What are we doing wrong?

    1. Jessica Knowles says:

      It could be one of two things. Either your top layer (the woodchips) isn’t thick enough – you want a nice deep layer, or you’re top dressing with something that has seeds in it. Are you using compost or manure? If so, how old is it and where are you getting it from? I find it I add goat manure that is relatively fresh, the seeds from they hay they eat aren’t broken down fully and can lead to weeds in the garden. I now only add manures that have aged and been turned a few times.

  2. It doesn’t sound like you had much weeding to do at all. That’s awesome!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. We’d love to see you back again this week!