Ecological Gardening – Grow Your Veggies The Natural Way
When you think of an organic vegetable garden, we often believe that you need to dedicate your life to working long days in the garden. For many of us this sounds great, but in reality it is just not possible with our hectic daily lives.
Growing your own vegetables is generally considered to be hard work, often enjoyable but hard none the less. Very few people produce enough produce to feed their family. However there is a technique that has come along that is so easy, and manageable that even the busiest individuals can grow a significant portion of their families food in less time than you can possibly imagine. Ecological gardening just may be the answer as following these principles creates the ultimate modern day convenience vegetable plot.
An ecological garden is an ecosystem made up of edible plants, and it behaves in exactly the same way as a natural habitat. Over time, you become more of an observer than a gardener as you watch as Mother Nature does most of the work.
The thing about nature is that it does it’s thing all by itself, non-stop, 7 days a week, rain or shine. You get the picture. Nature follows predictable patterns, and works in the same way in every system, all over the world. Ecological gardening is simply about observing these natural patterns and systems and then try to mimic them as best as we can in our own gardens. A natural ecosystem is made up of thousands of components in a given area. Each component occupies its own niche space within the system. In creating an ecological garden we have to try to understand where each of our components will fit into the available space or niche.
For example, when a tree falls in the forest it then opens up a hole in the canopy where it had previously occupied that niche space. In the soil below the tree hundreds of seeds have been laying dormant and these seeds then grab their opportunity to jump in and they to fill the niche space left vacant. The result is that the niche space is quickly filled and the natural cycle continues.
If you step back and look at a traditional vegetable garden, or modern farming practices for that matter we see that they are a very unnatural system. There is little to no diversity, and a bunch of empty spaces that are just looking to be filled. In this system the seeds that usually fill these spaces are generally weeds.
To get around this problem we have to create a garden that has tightly filled niche spaces. This doesn’t allow the weeds any opportunities to fill vacant niche space, simply because there aren’t any. This can all be achieved with a garden design that mimics a natural ecosystem. This type of planting creates a range of micro-climates within your plot, and this environment allows your plants to thrive for longer. Greens don’t go to seed once it becomes hot, and plants that are sensitive to the cold are more protected as well. This planting arrangement is also a natural form of pest management by creating diversity within the plot.
With an ecological garden there is much less daily work to do. As you observe your garden and allow nature to dictate how things are going to go, you will see that your garden is in a constant state of change, just like a natural ecosystem. For many people this is a difficult adjustment to make, as we traditionally like to be in control of things. Instead we are placing our faith in the fact that nature will make the decisions that are best for our particular garden.
Anyone, anywhere can create an ecological garden. Even beginners that may feel daunted by the task may actually be at an advantage as they do not have to break old habits or are not going against their traditional practices.
Growing your own vegetables is not hard work, especially if you believe and trust in nature. A small area can grow a large amount of food, saving you and your family thousands of dollars a year. And the fact that you will not need chemicals means that you will be growing your very own organic vegetables. This type of garden, once established is very hands off, and you will only really need to spend a few hours per month to grow most of the organic vegetables you and your family will need. If you don’t have an existing garden you can easily construct raised vegetable garden beds that are an ideal way to get started with your new ecological garden.
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