April 10, 2017 1 Comment
I’m writing a 3-part series on composting over at Kitchen Stewardship; here’s how to get started with my composting system using 3 ordinary flowerpots, and I also mention two FREE composting systems my family members have used. Here, I’m explaining my general approach to the garden I nourish with my compost.
The idea and the name of Darwinian Gardening come from my mom, who devotes a section of her large garden to “the survival of the fittest,” with lovely and sometimes surprising results.
You could just fertilize some soil and then see what grows there, being totally hands-off about it. Mom and I intervene a little. The basic idea is to plant the seeds you have and encourage the plants you like, to grow a uniquely beautiful garden that’s environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and low-maintenance.
I don’t have a big garden like my parents do. My front yard is about 12 feet square. My back yard (not shown in these photos) is on a cliff and very shady, so we struggle to keep anything growing there to control erosion. One of my favorite things about Darwinian Gardening is that many species of plants intertwine, creating lots of variety in a small area. My garden may be tiny, but there’s a lot to see here!
My garden combines things I planted on purpose with things that just showed up. Every spring, I plant whatever seeds I have, root cuttings from my potted plants, and maybe buy a few bulbs or seeds or seedlings.
A lot of my plants “grow like weeds” and are essentially invasive species, but I don’t consider them “weeds” because I like them! I only pull up plants I truly don’t want, like poison ivy and burrs.
However, my most enthusiastic plants sometimes choke out other plants that I want to grow, so I intervene by digging them up and moving them to a bare spot. Morning glory vines twine around other plants and block the sunlight; while I’m supervising my kids playing outdoors, I patrol the garden and carefully unwind morning glories from the other plants and wind them onto things I don’t mind them growing on. Read more of this post