I have finally planned out my garden for this year. It’ll be the second garden in this house, and we are enlarging the small little space that housed some tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, and peppers last year.Not only are we expanding our garden but we are also making it into raised plots. Hopefully this means that MR will not go into the garden and eat my cherry tomatoes all the time!!
Companion gardening is something I am aiming for, as it is in line with the idea of building an ecosystem. The whole garden is much more efficient, and the output greater when the plants work together.
Because there seems to be something very intrinsic in the “properties of a given system (physical, biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc.) such that they cannot be determined or explained by its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave.” This is known as Holism.
This view is realized in systems ecology – an interdisciplinary field of ecology, which uses holistic approaches to study of ecological systems. More specifically, in 1964, Eugene Odum, an ecosystem ecologist and environmentalist, defined systems ecology as dealing with the structure and function of levels of organization beyond the individual and species (source).
A “holistic community describes a community/system where the species within the community are interdependent on each other for keeping balance and stability of the system. These communities are oftentimes described as working like a superorganism, meaning that every species plays an important part in the overall well being of the ecosystem which the community resides; much like the organelles within a cell, or even the cells making up one organism.”
Looking back at the gardens as a community/system, one can see that the whole system would be more prosperous and healthier as a whole than simply as individual plants working independently. Companion gardening definitely looks at finding ideal matches of plants to assist each other in producing/sequestering nutrients, water, etc, and to aid in shading/lighting requirements as well.
This is something I’m getting more into!
Much of what I have learned over the many years of gardening, and my ecology research is that good soil is the most important foundation for everything in the garden. Without that, good luck trying to grow a successful garden. If you start with the highest quality soil (manure!!) than you will provide the nutrients necessary for the plants to grow strong and this is actually was sets the foundation for a healthy and vibrant garden ecosystem.
Now, I’ve typically bought my plants, instead of seeding. I haven’t had much luck with seeds, and without much room indoors where I can put trays of seeds, I am limiting my indoor crops to a few. I am trying watermelon seeds planted indoors and then transplanted, and carrots, spinach, and kale seeded directly outside in a few weeks when it it is recommended as the prime time to plant (source). I got all these organic seeds from Urban Harvest.
This is what the watermelon will look like!
I also already bought some basil and parsley plants which I will transplant in a few weeks as well. It’ my excuse to have fresh herbs to use in my cooking until its time, after all I need to make sure that they are grazed upon so they grow beautifully once outside! 😉
So…the big reveal of my gardening plan is….
This will be the most that I’ve ever planted, and some of the plants I’ve never attempted to grow – brussel sprouts (a relatively new favourite of mine!), horseradish….yum, squash, potatoes, kale, and watermelon. I’ve also never had marigolds in my garden, I hope that they prove to be the special companion plant as described in so many of the resources and articles that I read.
In addition to these raised beds, I”m going to have mint in a container. Mint spreads like fire and I want to make sure I keep it contained.
The bf also had his say in terms of the plants we selected, and he asked for some strawberries. These will be in another garden plot. It will be a companion for the blueberry plant we planted last year.
And, lastly, in an indoor pot I am going to grow edible flowers!! I can’t wait to have salads with pretty flowers as garnishes!
My edible mix will be made up of…(click on each for the source of the pictures…)
To say that I’m excited for the gardening season to begin would be an understatement! I am almost wondering if we might be able to drastically reduce if not eliminate our need for grocery shopping…we’ll see…
I want to hear all about your gardening plans…
~ kaia ~