In her most recent post at Doves and Pomegranates, Margie made the comment: “I don’t think she understands my philosophy of gardening.”
This comment made me wonder 1) What is Margie’s philosophy of gardening? And then later i wondered, 2) How would i explain to someone what my philosophy of gardening is?
After some thot i have come to the conclusion that i do not have a particular philosophy of gardening… although i do have the way i do things, which seems to be evolving.
The main thing about my way of gardening is that i do not like to use chemicals; i.e. ‘bug dope.’ Although my wife has used it on our peach trees. But the one exception i make to this rule is when it comes to our birch trees. We have this bug which inhabits them massively. i use a systemic poison on them –which seemed to slow them down a bit this year; or was that slow down due to the unusual late cold weather we had? i have used my wife’s peach tree bug dope on them. i have used dish soap on them. i have even tried some more environmentally friendly methods as well: i poured syrup on the tree with the hopes the bugs would get stuck in it and die. i wrapped the tree in duct tape with the hopes the bugs would get stuck on it and die. i have manually gone out and crushed the bugs. i have even taken my shop vac out and vaccumed them off of the tree. Yes, this is war… 1, 2, 3, 4 i declare a bug war!
But back to my garden.
Before i planted i turned the soil, pulled weeds and even torched the dirt with the hopes of burning any weeds. In case you are wondering –not too much difference in the final weed count as the garden got underway. i have read in a book that a person should use a hoe and scrape the top of the weed off with the soil, leaving the root alone. The idea behind this is that when a person turns the soil when they unearth weeds it allows oxygen to get to the weedseeds already in the soil and thus, starts their process. i guess the idea works okay; but the weeds got ahead of me and so now i pretty much have left them be; although there have been exceptions to this.
The thing with my garden this year is that i had alot of volunteer sunflowers pop up from last year. i chose to just let them be. Which means my garden has a jungle-like appearance to it; and honestly, i like it.
The ‘fruit’ of the garden has been rather dismal… the carrots did not grow like i thot they would. The radishes did not grow like i had hoped, producing pretty much too small of a radish (this is due to the fact that i did not thin them out) but i am letting some of the radishes grow to give me seeds.
Our lettuce was a success– although some of it got ahead of us; and so i am letting some of the plants bolt and i am waiting for the seeds.
Our snow peas were a tasty plus, but we ate most of them off of the vine and not with any meals.
i also grew flowers this year, which was just a nice touch– but we have not used any of them in bouquets or anything.
My wife wanted us to grow swiss chard and kale, which we did –but did not use.
Andrew did plant carrots, which did not get thinned but did give him some carrots; with some others on the way.
i have also since planted more carrots and lettuce.
i planted two varieties of cherry tomatoes which are growing nicely and should be giving us ripe fruit soon.
For the most part i would describe our garden this year as “recreational.” i enjoy it, but if we were counting on it to help cut our food bills it would have to be considered a failure. But since it is a place to just kind of hang out, enjoy and such… i guess it is a success.
Although i did hang one wasp trap, i have chosen to pretty much let them be. The exception to that is the one wasp nest that i washed down this evening due to being stung twice as i attempted to get wood from the woodpile that i wanted to split for a coming camping trip. But still, no poison was used –just a strong stream of water and a pitch fork which i used to squash the fallen nest.
i did create a bee hive of sorts, after learning about making a nest using holes drilled in wood for a type of black bee (the Mason Bee i believe) that pollinates flowers. This nest has seen activity. If you are interested check things out or here for ideas.
The other thing about the ‘way i do things’ is that i like composting. Sure there are more successful composters out there, but mine is mostly to keep things out of the landfills that worms could consume right here at home. i have used some of the compost, and i plan on making a second compost pile so that i can have one pile to use and one pile under production –this way the compost can then be a useful part of the garden. i will say this, between composting and using the cities recycling program i have seen a difference in the amount of trash that goes into the trash can.
Next year i think i will go with a similar jungle plan, as i find it rather mellow. i will try a bit harder to get some produce from the garden.
The value for me personally of this years garden is that it has helped me to relax a bit –to not try and have everything all squared away for appearance sake, it is what it is and i enjoy it and i am comfortable with it. Perhaps in a way the garden this year has been an outer expression (or maybe a teacher) of some issues that i am trying to work on for myself… i will just leave that at that; i don’t want to overthink it one way or the other.
ps: i still would like to hear about Margie’s philosophy of gardening.