Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gaia's Garden


I've done a lot of reading and learning and planning in anticipation of this gardening season. I read books by Ogden and Coleman. Multiple times. In detail. And I made my plan based on what they wrote. They are the experts and I am the newbie. And, so far, I've executed the plan pretty well.

Then, at the first Garden the Avenues meeting, one person mentioned another book to check out - Gaia's Garden, A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture, by Toby Hemenway. So I did check it out, from the library, and it has turned just about everything I've read on its head. Here's what it says from the back cover:

"Gaia's Garden describes a gardening system that combines the best features of wildlife habitat, edible landscapes, and conventional flower and vegetable gardens into a self-renewing landscape that lets nature do most of the work."

One phrase that has come up a couple of times, is "food forest," which really appeals to me. The idea, as I understand it, is that forests grow without the help of humans. Vegetables and fruit can do the same. Our yards can be food forests if we encourage the growth of ecosystems rather than just one product to the exclusion of everything else. As we try to control one product - i.e. the vegetables - and kill everything else - weeds and insects - we are fighting nature. This book explains how we can work with nature and end up having a much more healthy yard with much less work.

I'm still making my way through it, and the paradigm shift is happening. Go and check it out yourself.

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