Saturday, May 14, 2011

Darwinian gardening

I am not a very good gardener.  Not in the sense that I can’t grow things, as my exuberant vegetable patch will show, but in the sense that I do not follow the rules of good gardening.

I look at the books about what time of year to plant things, and buy seed-raising mix and potting compost, but that’s about as far as it goes.  After my plants get their feet in the soil outside, it’s every chloroplast for itself.

I weed when I start harvesting dock seeds amongst the silver beet, and when the dandelions are getting as tall as the runner beans, but I figure they will only grow back if I pull them out too much, and as long as the veg are bigger than the weeds, then the veg is winning.

Tareka has been building me a third veg bed this week, so I am getting very excited about having more room to test the survival skills of cabbages and sweetcorn.  My broccoli has made it through the first onslaught of cabbage-white caterpillars with hardly a hole, so I believe it will imbue me with super-powers when I get to eat it.

My plan is to eventually have the veg rotated between the 2 beds (ah yes, I do crop rotation, I am a good ecologist after all!), and the third bed nearest the house as a sort of permaculture of herbs, rhubarb and beneficial or edible flowers.  I am planning to have patches of different herbs, which I can let go to seed so they regenerate themselves without too much input from me, other than the odd dose of Bokashi fertilizer.

I have some hedging plants I shoved into the ground which have gamely survived my callous treatment, and I have rosemary and lavender among them.  I will also be adding some bay so I don’t have to keep traipsing across the paddock every time I want 1 fresh bay leaf in my casserole.

The tomato/basil patch at the front of the deck proved to be a great hit with the children. So I have left them to go to seed and will mulch them over winter after the frost takes the plants out.  The fruit trees are showing no sign of dropping their leaves yet; I am sure they must have seen me in action with my pruning secateurs and are too scared.

I also succumbed to temptation and put in a small flower bed on one side of the deck.  I bought some bulbs from Mapera’s school fundraiser, and as the instructions say to plant them, and then leave them undisturbed for an extended period, I figure that they are my kind of flower.

Watch out for my mega-tulips in the spring, if they can survive me, they are bound to have magical properties.

1 comment:

kaa said...

you have a very interesting and humorous way of writing :). I have been interested in gardening since some time and that is how i stumbled onto your blog. your attitude towards gardening is actually a well known approach called natural farming. search for masanobu fukuoka.

keep writing :)