Well, actually we are quite ‘lazy’ gardeners. We don’t like to turn over the earth and search for so-called weeds and try to eliminate them. Trying to eliminate pests with chemicals doesn’t seem like a solution to us. Neither do we like the sight of a garden with solitaire plantings.
The sight of a green, colorful, diverse and flourishing garden is much more what we appreciate. This is how we imagine the Garden of Eden and this we want to recreate.
The ‘weeds’ are actually healthy and very good to eat. In our section on edible plants and raw recipes you could find out more about that. The weeds are mostly pioneer plants, these are plants that like to grow on disturbed ground. With their long tap-root they mine the nutrients laying deep down in the earth where other plants would not be able to reach it. As the pioneer plant dies down, the nutrients get released and feed the ground in the form of humus. As the ground gets more favorable for other seeds they will grow. In their shade will be a micro-climate, that may be favorable to seeds of a bigger plant. And so the process will continue until a forest develops. This is called succession.
So, by not disturbing the ground nature will create more fertile land. Digging would be done to aerate the soil. This won’t be needed since the earthworms will eat the biomass and aerate the soil. They will do this with many more insects and micro-organisms.
Pests won’t be happening in an ecological garden since there will be polyculture. In a forest the biodiversity creates habitats for animals and insects. Before a plague actually thrives, it is already prevented by a natural enemy. In a forest the ground is covered with leaves and a humus layer that will feed the forest. The forest seems to be in a perfect balance.
Ecological gardening makes use of this process.
So, permaculture will actually take away my problems. The aerating gets done by living organisms, weeds actually don’t exist since they are our food or are used in place as a mulch.
The pest problem falls away because of the diversity. As example: the aphids on our tree will be gone before it could have been a problem, since there is a tansy that will keep the ladybug in our garden.
There won’t be any solo plants since the micro-climates created by the multi-layered plants will hold more moisture on the ground. The humus that gets created over time will hold much moisture.
As the Ecological garden grows it needs less and less input. As the humus and so the food for the soil organisms grows the population increases which will aerate the soil better and deeper. The overall health of the soil will increase. The ‘weeds’ will be shaded out by other plants and so they won’t thrive. By using mostly perennial plantings and self-sowing annuals the soil doesn’t have to be disturbed or at least very little.
Ecological gardening shows that it is possible to use the land in a way that over time the land will be more and more self-sustainable. In this way the work that I will do now will pay off many times more over a longer period. Another positive thing is that it does not only help me, but a much bigger picture. It helps all life.