There's Always Something we Can do in the Garden!

Nigel OpenshawReady to enhance your gardening skills? Join me as we embark on a journey, helping you design and maintain a practical food garden, all while ensuring a successful and healthy harvest!

With over 30 years of food garden design experience and a decade of teaching, I've poured my expertise into this book. I've cultivated numerous gardens throughout my career while continuously learning and growing. Drawing from this wealth of experience, I've crafted a comprehensive yet beginner-friendly guide that empowers gardeners of all levels.

The invaluable benefits in these notes will lead you toward a bountiful harvest. Let's explore some of the key highlights:

Design your growing area to maximize yields and efficiently use space, regardless of whether you have a small balcony or a sprawling farm. This book caters to all gardening spaces.

Be motivated to "construct your cold-frames," know how to "avoid bolting plants," or decide between "seeds or plugs."

This comprehensive book is your trusted guide to transforming your gardening skills, providing design tips, maintenance strategies, and advice for a successful and healthy harvest. With visual illustrations, practical solutions, and a strong emphasis on well-being and cost-saving measures, it empowers gardeners of all levels to create productive and fulfilling gardens.

Are you ready to unlock your fullest potential and establish your own "foodie's paradise" in your backyard? Let's make the most of your growing area. Grab your copy of this book, and let's embark on your gardening journey today!


Grow Your Own Food in the Kitchen Garden

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6. Finding Calmness in the Chaos

Not all creatures are harmful, as many may even help you.

6.1 Natural Pest Control

ImageFor example, you might spot frogs, foxes, or hedgehogs balancing the ecosystem. In addition, pollinators, such as bees, may appear with the help of different flowers.

Growing flowers in your kitchen garden can attract pollinators that help to fertilize your vegetables. For instance, planting comfrey can result in a delightful bee invasion during summer.

It is common to see green, white, and black flies on young shoots, which ants later raise as food. Leaving the flies alone is best if you see ladybugs or ladybirds nearby, as nature takes care of them.

ImageHowever, we might need to intervene if there is a more severe problem.

Butterflies may be attractive in the garden but also bring hungry caterpillars. To save your leaves, check for eggs beforehand.

Our walls primarily consist of concrete foundations and wooden panels that prevent good and bad creatures from entering.

Try using sacrificial plants like nasturtiums or marigolds.

As said, flowers lure insects and birds to your garden. However, bugs also are repelled by planting marigolds, basil, and oregano with your crops.

caterpillarsRemember as well that slugs and snails love to eat young seedlings. Coffee grounds, sharp sand, and cracked eggshells may help deter them. Netting also helps keep larger predatory animals and insects out.

Organic practices are healthier for your plants, food, and the environment. Strong and healthy plants may withstand attacks, but larger animals like deer or rabbits cause severe damage.

Therefore, protecting them early on is better than redoing everything later. We must not obsess too much over prevention. Instead, start by selecting the right seeds, and complementary planting with other odor-producing plants helps repel attacks.

6.2 Cultivating Peace and Serenity

imgWe may have incredibly bountiful years in the garden with hardly any pests or attacks. Sometimes, I get so caught up in the joy of gardening that I even forget to pick my strawberries, only to discover them untouched the following day. With this confidence, I began preparing my young seedlings in trays and potting them up without any concerns. I was surprised when I discovered a medium-sized frog managing the garden quite nicely.

We must remember that nature comes with a friend and foe. We must cooperate with nature to have a successful garden instead of fighting it. Gardening works best when we find peace and serenity amidst the potential chaos of the natural world.

6.3 Preventing Weed Growth

imgNon-invasive weeds are helpful in pollinating fruits and vegetables by attracting insects with their blooms. Even though some plants are considered "weeds" and unwanted in a particular area, they still benefit insects and enhance the garden's beauty.

However, when adding weeds to the compost, be cautious as they may continue to grow and spread.

Planting new crops closely together is a smart strategy in the vegetable garden, as it reduces the amount of bare soil and helps to control weeds.

I also like to leave some weeds to grow to see what might appear, as stray calendulas, violas, and poppies add lovely pops of color to the garden.

imgIt is crucial to start with the ones that reoccur. While hoeing the surface, we cut many small weeds. Others have deep root systems that require more caution. For example, you must carefully remove the horsetail's intricate root system to prevent regrowth.

Bindweed is another problematic weed to eliminate, as its roots are widely dispersed and deeply buried. Some weeds have taproots that are challenging to remove, such as dandelion and dock.

Smothering them with mulch limits their access to light and prevents them from reseeding to eradicate them.

Letting the wildflowers have some space can be an excellent alternative to masses of weeds, which can be a temporary fix until the veg are established and fill the holes themselves.

6.4 Introduce Winter Cover Crops

Although the no-dig method has many benefits, removing stubborn weeds may require deeper digging. Unfortunately, even this method is not fully effective in preventing weed growth. With seeds floating in the air, new weeds will continue to appear.

imgCovering the soil with cardboard or tarp sheets, or garden mulch helps to reduce the number of weeds that sprout up.

We also cover the ground through winter with cover crops of grasses which capture nitrogen in the air. Some crops include Winter Rye, Crimson Clover, Hairy Vetch, and more.

These stop soil erosion and hold onto nutrients that may get washed out. Remember to cut them before they seed in spring, as they will grow all year.

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Grow Your Own Food in the Kitchen Garden

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