Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Natural Order Of Things

Patty at Tanglewood Farms linked with a BBC / You Tube video called A Farm For The Future   It presents a wonderful argument for the permaculture method (or no dig or lasagna method).  It also presents it's opinion on "peak oil" theory.  (Thanks Patty!!!)

It's about 5 segments long so give yourself a bit of time to watch it.  Even though I don't "farm", I still hope to become a competent gardener so the logic still applies. 

My biggest "lightbulb" moment was when it showed a video from 20 years ago and compared it to today.  In the video, the farmer's tractor was plowing...turning over a farrow of newly turned earth in preparation for planting.  The 20 year old video showed lots of birds behind the plow feasting on the bugs and worms exposed from the newly turned earth.  It then showed the same field being plowed 20 years later.  No birds.  The soil was dead.  The only way a farmer could get a crop was by adding the fertilizer.  And then of course the fungicides/herbicides/insecticides...A vicious cycle indeed.  All the good things Mother Nature can provide naturally is out of the picture completely. 

The other lightbulb moment was when they visited a couple of "woodland" gardens.  Letting Mother Nature do her thing, these folks would plant their veggies in and amongst the woodland scrub.  You can't grow grain this way but it made sense to me to allow the veggie plants to do what they do and to NOT try to "harness" them by constricting their natural behavior.

Most people would look at my backyard and see my efforts to have a "tidy - organized" garden as the "proper way" of it. 

Perhaps I need to "loosen up" and let things go a bit "wild" in my backyard.  I've already discovered that raised beds don't do so well in the heat of summer down here.  I'm also suffering from a lack of shade.  Now that's a weird thing to say isn't it?  Most gardeners WANT sunshine and nothing but sunshine.  But too much sun kills around here.  My garden has been "kaput" for over a month now.  This is prime growing time and it's being wasted. 

There's got to be a better way.

I'm thinking I just might plant a few more trees this fall.


  1. Tami - Interesting - thanks :)

    If you do plant trees make sure they have deep tap roots, as opposed to spreading lateral roots!

  2. We've really been thinking about the permaculture thing also....we've planted about a dozen & a half fruit trees in the front yard and I'm researching which other edible perenial plants to put along side / underneath / around them so they can get some of the shade from the fruit trees.

    The only problem with just tossing other veggies / fruit / nut trees out in the borders of our woodlot is that I'm sure the other wildlife would chow down on our efforts long before we could even harvest a single nut/fruit/veggie.

  3. I've got this bookmarked to watch tomorrow morning when I have time. Sounds like a good one.
    And I've noticed too that some shade would be good!
    Have a great weekend

  4. Oh how I wish my Internet would cooperate. Hopefully I will be able to watch these. Thanks

  5. My garden is shaded by trees in the latter part of the day. Seems to work out well.

  6. A little shade goes a long way in the south. We don't have much either. Planting trees sounds like a great investment!

  7. The last couple of years I too have increased the *permaculture* plants in my garden. I'm working on finding more water-wise edible plants, too. Next season I plan on putting in an experimental garden using only captured rain water.

  8. Planting your garden amongst your other flowers and things in your garden is great. Pots and sections look so much better. You can plant things in shade or full sun depending on what the plant needs. I like using herbs for flowers. I have large plants of Lilac bushes for my soaps and candles and Aloe Vera plants for blisters. Besides garlic and marigolds are good around many plants.

  9. A reader of my blog (your mother! but I can't rememnber who she is!!) turned me on to your blog a couple of days ago. As an avid gardener myself - currently without a garden since we fulltime in our motorhome - it brings back all sorts of great memories.

    I gardened in the rich soil of a flood plain near the Sacramento River in central California. Bugs, birds, worms, I had it all in deeply composted soil - I could push my arm down in the ground right up to my elbow!

    I've scanned several of your posts and really enjoy your writing. This particular post reminded me of things like "lasagne gardening" (layered beds requiring little effort), of planting vegies here and there to take advantage of extra space and keep "bad" bugs from consuming too much... well, lots and lots of memories and fun. I'm looking forward to reading more.

    Oh! Where I gardened in California, a kaput garden by mid-September was completely normal. Mine was usually still producing, but not any prime vegies - it was pretty depleted by heat and the plants were just trying to set some seed. It surprised me that this would be "prime growing season" in NC. Are your neighbors gardens flourishing?

    Hmmmmph! This turned into more than a "comment", eh? That's what gardening does to me.