Julie is an organic gardener from England who shared the following story about a transformation that took place out in her formerly “organized” veggie patch. Her experiences offer some great tips for the backyard gardener.
I can almost picture Julie standing in front of a gathering of vegetable growers and delivering the following testimonial at some type of gardener’s anonymous meeting:
Confessions of an Organic Gardener from Great Britain
I used to be a neat and tidy “plant it in rows” type of organic gardener. I covered cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc, with netting but the butterflies always left a good covering of caterpillars.
Then one year I got behind with the preparation and only had room to pop a plant in here and there. Plants were dotted around the garden – not only on the vegetable plot but in amongst the flowers, the front garden, around the pond, everywhere I could find a space.
Of course I couldn’t cover them and I didn’t have the time either. Come harvesting time nearly every plant was in perfect condition with not a caterpillar hole in sight.
I have tried this for about four years now with great success. My conclusion is that the butterflies simply don’t see the plants, and if they do then they only see one at a time so chances are that most will survive untouched.
Plants in rows look lovely but really they are planted that way for ease of spraying and harvesting for the commercial grower. A gardener, especially an organic gardener does not need to plant in rows.
At first I thought planting vegetables in the front garden wasn’t “the done thing.” Possibly passers by think I am a little eccentric but they are quite a talking point and no harm is done.
By the way your site is so interesting; I often pop in to have a look. Some things are the same as in England and some different. I love it all!! – Julie
Spicing Up the Garden with a Variety of Veggies, Herbs, and Flowers
Thanks for sharing the gardening tips Julie, you’re preaching to the converts around here when it comes to shunning planting in rows. I also love to mix things up in the garden rather than to grow large patches of identical and monotonous plants.
It never hurts to add a little variety to the raised vegetable bed by sprinkling in herbs, flowers, or even an occasional wild plant. You can also alternate vegetable plants that have similar growth habits by planting them in the same area and allow them grow elbow to elbow with each other.
I’ve noticed similar results to those described by Julie and believe that diversity in the garden can help reduce insect problems, enhance plant growth, and make for a much more interesting and attractive organic vegetable garden!
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