|Blackberries are blooming where I once only had weeds.|
One weed is left - the others have fled.
I have been watching natural gardening and farming videos lately, but the best insights come from Gabe Brown. He has a combination of experience and scientific data to confirm his practices. When I walk around the neighborhood with Sassy, I see examples of various agricultural felonies.
| I have a much larger tree stump collection now,|
and I bring home rotten wood from our morning walks.
Logs and stumps promote birds, bugs, and toads.
Gabe Brown calls crop residue, cover crops, and mulch "soil armor," a good term. When the soil is bare, as it often is among gardeners, the surface heats up to 150 degrees in the summer. That destroys life in the soil while drying up the earth and the plant.
Wide-row planting and French intensive gardening (similar approaches) both use the concept of plants as living mulch.
Bug-Huggers Are Smart Gardeners and Farmers
Call me lazy, but I would rather attract pest eaters than try to kill pests with various poisons. Many of my plants are scattered around the front and back yards to host beneficial insects - and spiders.
- The Clumping Mints - Mountain, Cat, Monarda
- Chaste Tree
- Cone Flowers
- Dandelions and other deplorables
Crops Enrich the Soil
Those of us who have changed neglected areas into productive gardens have learned that plants enrich the soil. Brown states that 75% of the organic matter in soil comes from roots.
Root systems are unseen and therefore unheralded. They grow down to fantastic depths, often following worm tunnels, and change the soil by this action, but also by shedding organic matter all the time. The most astonishing work of roots is to set up fungal networks for sharing nutrition and water among many different plants.
The plants' shedding leaves (not to mention dead insects) will also benefit the soil. A bad weed can be tossed into the compost area or left in the deep shade of bushes to become compost. Leaves are the best way to improve soil for free - adding carbon and various nutrients from the soil and sun.
Depleting the Soil with Neatness
Many gardening and farming habits deplete the soil. With good intentions:
- Plant residue is gathered up.
- Leaves are raked away.
- Soil is tossed and turned, as if the best thing would be to destroy the fungal networks repeatedly.
|These are a few of the roses harvested for our chiropractor|
last year - no chemical fertilizer, no toxins.
The Soggy Mess Is Blooming
Confession - this spring our front yard was a brown soggy mess of wet mulch, tree stumps, and the thorny silhouettes of roses. Lawns were green from excess rain. We only had sprigs of weeds popping up.
But now - drum roll - the older roses are all starting to bloom. Four orange Easy Does It roses are packed with color. They show up a block away, as I look back from Almost Eden. I cut a Veteran's Honor rose for one neighbor and Easy Does It for the altar and another neighbor. Yellow, pink, white, and red roses add to the display daily.
| How many bugs live the in the Crepe Myrtle?|
The Cardinals nesting there enjoy the bugs and later the seeds
from the bush.