Why Ecological Gardening?
I am new at this, so there will not be a lot of expert
material here, just our experience as we go along. I have been reading
extensively about permaculture, natural gardening, and forest gardening.
Check out the Booklist for recommendations. I
may write a synopsis of some of it when I have the time, but for now, I will
just describe what we are doing to work in that direction and some of the
reasons why we are taking a particular step.
First, why ecological gardening? Our main reason for wanting to grow an
edible garden is to provide most of our own vegetables and fruits,
which would be raised organically, under our control, so we know exactly what
we're getting. In the long run, we may even save some money, but maybe
not if we count in all we've spent before going this route. Also, being
a little more self-sufficient is a good feeling, providing a measure of
security and a lot of satisfaction.
In order to really do it well, one must feed the soil. In order
to do that, one must encourage the whole web of life that has been designed
to feed the soil, and plants and animals and humans, naturally. That
means not using chemicals, which quickly kill soil life and render the soil a
dead medium, in which we are basically practicing chemical hydroponics, using
the soil only to hold plants up, but not to actually feed them. This
also puts us on a treadmill of chemical pest control, a battle which we are
doomed to lose. Inescts and aimals that are beneficial to the plants
are driven away for lack of food and habitat. And we have to cart in
store-bought fertilizers and mulches in an endless stream if we hope to get
anything back from the denuded ground.
Even organic gardening suffers much in this last regard. Bringing in
everything we need constantly from the outside, even if we don't pay for it
(which is rare indeed), and even if it contains no artificial chemicals, is not
sustainable. If nothing else, we are burning a lot of fossil fuels
and creating pollution just getting the stuff to our gardens. Not to
mention the work involved.
From a purely practical standpoint, not just organic, but ecological gardening
is the only way to go. You can build your soil life and bring in
animals and insects and plants that will create an enclosed cycle where
everything feeds everything else and you no longer need outside inputs.
Your garden can be self-perpetuating, self-sustaining, if you include
the right elements in the right relationships. You don't even have to
buy and raise the soil organisms, animals and insects - plant an ecological
garden, and they will come.
The nice thing about ecological gardening, aside from benefits such as
knowing you are improving rather than degrading the small patch of earth
which you currently control, and the ability to eat some from your land, and
the pleasure of watching small animals cavort on it, is that it reduces
your work load as a gardener. This is probably the second most
practical reason for doing it. You set up the right environment, and
nature will pick up from there and do the lion's share.
So much for the motivations. On to the principles!
Home ** What's New? ** How It All Started
* Garden Update October 2004 * Garden
Diary 2008 * Garden Diary 2009 * Garden Diary 2010
* Garden Diary 2011 ** New! Garden Diary 2012
** Rose and Perennial Court * Rose Update Feb 2003 * Front Garden Update 2008-9 * Behind the Wall * Herb Circle * Tropical Edibles
Area ** New! Growing
Dinner: Visit to a Homegarden ** Potager
* Potager 2004-5 * Potager Plan
2008-9 * Edibles 2008-9 * Crop Chart
2008-9 * Edibles
Planting Schedule * Warm Season Planting 2005 * Succulent Beds * Wild Edibles *
Caterpillars to Butterflies * Building Healthy Soil
* Ecological Gardening
* Index of Plants and Techniques Featured * Annual Vegetable Chart * Long Lasting Markers: Jewelry for Your Plants * Build a Gardening Notebook