I love gardening. It is a fairly new hobby of mine, having only started a few years ago. I am very much enjoying it and would say that it is no longer a hobby, but more of a passion. I love to see the progress a year can make, I love reaping what I sow, I love trying new things and seeing what happens.
I am very big on permaculture principles and I adore using perennials. The easier a garden is to maintain, the better. If I can get nature to do a large portion of the work, I am happy.
Over the last 3 years I have transformed a little plot behind my house into a nice vegetable garden. I have moved raspberries and strawberries in there, and grown my annual veggies. Years of mulching and chop n’ dropping have allowed the soil to get rich and dark and full of worms. This plot is slowly becoming a perennial garden, the raspberries are taking over, so I have started the work of sheet mulching some new beds that I can hopefully use next year.
Last year my husband built me a greenhouse with scavenged windows, I was only able to put potted plants in it that first year but this year it is full of dirt and full of plants. I am growing squash, tomatoes, peppers, cantelope and cucumbers. Things are growing decently, the soil needs some time to be built up, in the next few years I will add chicken manure and keep mulching to improve the nutrient quality in there.
I built a herb spiral last year using a sheet mulch technique. I layed down layers of newspaper, put composted manure on top, then planted in it. Most of what I planted did not do well. I don’t think the newspaper has broken down enough yet, so the roots are not making it far enough down, plus once the leaves on the trees come in, it is quite a shady spot. My yarrow and sheep sorrel have done well, so all is not lost. I will try to get some bergamot going in here and some borage. I would like this to evolve into a self-sowing perennial herb garden (did I mention I love perennials?)
A couple years ago a friend of mine bought my daughter an apple tree. Since then, I have been creating what is known as an apple guild. What is a guild you ask? A plant guild is a group of plants which support each other while growing near each other. An apple guild is a plant community that supports the apple tree, the apple takes center stage. Plants are selected with specific purposes in mind, all while harmonizing with the plants around them. Bulbs such as tulips or chives are used to suppress grass, comfrey is used to create mulch (aka chop n’ drop), legumes are used to fix nitrogen in the soil, deep rooted plants bring minerals to the topsoil, strawberries can create a living mulch. It is a self-supporting system, the plants feed us as well as the soil.
In my guild I have placed rhubarb, day lilies, lady’s mantle, saskatoon, yarrow, and peppermint. It is an experiment in progress so we shall see how it goes.
I love plants and I love food, and most of all, I love having an established, strong garden to eat from.