Sunday, January 20, 2008

Gardening with nature

Bench by Edward Noott

Sitting in the garden this week, I noticed how I had tried to dominate the gardens I have had before. I wanted them to be shaped in a way that pleased me, plants that would look nice and honestly never had given any thought as to what would naturally go well together. What do the plants need in my garden, what complimentary plants do they need to be healthy, for wildlife to thrive and work as part of that ecosystem.

My thinking over the years has changed from buying vegetables just as they came in the supermarket to wanting to invest my time in growing them myself. That has made me realise that there is a great effort involved in that. All the tilling, weeding and enhancing the soil structure was probably not necessary or contemplated 300 years ago. There were not as many pests on plants as there are now; was there an ecosystem in place that worked for the benefit of all? Have we missed something in the equasion?

I know that when I clear a patch of land it is guaranteed that nature will fill it up again with weeds. Thus by clearing the land I prepare the exact conditions for weeds to take hold. What if it were possible to work with nature and provide each plant with nutrients that other plants in their shade could provide without effort?

Thus I am not churning the garden up as planned but I am waiting to see what is where and gradually will be introducing more edible plants for my benefit and theirs and watch what happens. The trees that are in situe will be pruned, fed and watered and I will check what is happening.

This comes from a vision that food can be produced on a small scale, in synergy with nature and not entirely under the control of man. As before on this blog, we shall see what happens. Nothing really is impossible. It might even turn out that food can be happily grown beside flowers and respect can be given to all the wildlife helpers who manage to make pollination happen effortlessly. Could this be a possibility?

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