Where there is a will there is a way

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Learning how to grow a natural, beautiful little garden with plants that attract good insects, crop rotation

I love growing a veggie garden - creating new life, connecting to nature - the cool magic in the garden (and bugs, smells, life). But then when the veggies are produced, it's almost an afterthought and I often don't know what to do with it.  Especially now that I am working full-time - there is only time to have a small, manageable patch.

I learning now to grow what I am going to use, keep it on the right scale - and to plant flowers and things which attract bees and insects which eat pests...like ladybugs. It is so fun! And I am keeping it very small scale so it's just ...fun to go out and snip spinach for a sandwich or dinner or whatever - or kale. Mint repels cabbage butterfly. Marigolds repel pests.

Chillies are easy to grow - and make into sauces and things, so I always grow them now.
Tomatoes shouldn't be planted too closely together AND a tip from my kiwi friend Bridget - never water the leaves, it causes mold and rotting - in this warm humid climate.

I am also cutting away any leaf right away with that white spotty fungus on it (powdery mildew) like courgette leaves - and pumpkin leaves. Then it doesn't spread. Nothing is worse than the wastefulness of suffering, pest ridden life when you are gardening!

I am also practicing crop rotation (prevents disease spreading, and different plants take different nutrients) never planting same type of plant twice, rotating through all 4 types of plants. Although - I started with the best of intentions with sections - but now there are just all these spots I am rotating - a little bit too random. Will need to plan a bit better next time.

Categories you need to rotate:

Group 1: Plants grown for LEAVES OR FLOWERS, such as: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce...

Group 2: Plants grown for FRUITS such as: tomatoes, peppers, pumpkin, corn, cucumber, potatoes (are you not a root?!! oops learn something new every day)

Group 3: Plants grown for ROOTS such as: carrots, onions, beets

Group 4: Legumes that FEED THE SOIL such as: beans, peas,over crops (such as alfalfa or clover)
I am enjoying my small scale, productive, beautiful, little bit of nature. Learning what conditions the plants thrive.

I have also planted a heap of seedlings of plants that attract bees and beneficial insects (a mix from a special gardening lady at our raft race community day). And comfrey - it's deep root system means that leaves added to compost put minerals in there.