- Mix ornamentals and edibles
- Avoid use of all chemicals - pesticides or fertilizers
- Install drip irrigation system.
A garden thrives more without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. Most of us have been made to believe that fertilizers and pesticides are essential to maintaining a good garden. In truth, the most essential part of a garden is an environment full of life both above the soil and under the soil. The soil should be teaming with various insects and microscopic organisms such as different bacteria and fungi. The above soil environment should have a plenty of life in the form of insects, birds and animals. Sure, not all living creatures are good for the garden plants but most of them are. Fertilizers and pesticides do not promote life.
Here are some of the essential elements of a healthy garden:
- Variety of plant species intermixed in a growing area - Grow variety of vegetables, herbs & other edibles together with ornamental plants in the same area.
- Use compost in the garden and occasionally some manure. There are no schedules for adding compost but definitely add some before growing new plants in an area. After that it could be added whenever you feel like adding some.
- Mulch the soil - Cover the soil with any plant material that will eventually decompose or with living mulch and ground covers.
- Install a drip irrigation system even if the garden is small. If starting a garden with just 4-5 plants it is easier to garden in pots so that pots can be moved under an existing sprinkler or under shade or indoors (with a bottle-watering system) when you are gone on a vacation.
- Most importantly, accept some losses. Do not expect a 100% return from all plants. Some plants will perish and some fruits/vegetables will get disease no matter what. This acceptance allows us to learn patience which in turn gives nature time to help us out in dealing with some common disease and pest problems. Overall the garden is more productive if grown in a nature’s way and as months and years go by it continues to get richer.