The Vegetable Garden

Ecological Vegetable Gardening - page 2

    The solution to this problem is to create a garden that has tightly filled niche spaces so that weeds don’t have any opportunities.  We can achieve this by using a planting arrangement that mimics a natural ecosystem.  This type of planting arrangement also creates a range of highly protected micro-climates.  This ideal growing environment causes your plants to last much longer.  Greens don’t bolt to seed as soon as a hot spell hits and cold sensitive plants are more protected as well.  The planting arrangement also creates a natural form of pest management.

    Managing an ecological garden is different to managing a traditional vegetable garden.  With an ecological garden, there is far less to do.  As you become the observer and allow nature to take over as head gardener, you will notice that the garden is in a continual state of gentle change, just like a natural ecosystem.  It can be difficult for the traditional gardener to stand back and observe, as many of us instinctively like to control things.  This style of gardening calls for a great deal of faith in natural laws.

    Absolutely everyone from farmers to inner-city townhouse dwellers can create an ecological garden.  It may seem strange, but if you have never grown food before then you are, in some ways, at an advantage.  Like all industries, the gardening industry can get stuck in doing things a certain way and most seasoned gardeners will inevitably over-work the garden.  As a species, human beings prospered when we learnt to cultivate food using tilling and other traditional agricultural methods, so it’s difficult to turn back to where we came from - nature.  It might even feel like a step in the wrong direction.  But if we can let go of our need to control every living thing on the planet, and start to work with nature, we actually gain more control by being able to grow food more efficiently than ever before.  It’s a paradox - but it works!

    Growing food is not hard work, especially when you have nature helping you 24/7.  A small area can provide you with a bounty of food, saving your family thousands of dollars per year.  Most of us don’t have much time to spend in the garden, including me.  I only invest around eight hours per year to growing my food, and although I live on a small farm, I only use a space of around 6m x 6m.  That’s an area that could fit into many suburban backyards several times over.  The most wonderful thing about this method is that I know I can ignore my vegetable garden for months and it won’t miss a beat.  So, if you believe growing food is only for tough, bearded warriors with a lot of time - think again.  Ecological gardening could be just the thing for you.

    Jonathan White is an Environmental Scientist and the founder of the Food4Wealth Method.  For more information see