And I make no apologies for that, I am happy to have a productive garden. The trick in making the natural environment work to suit us is to make sure we do no harm doing it. We don't use artificial fertilisers on our garden, we don't spray insecticides around, we don't kill snakes or lizards; we manipulate our environment knowing that we must be careful doing it.
One of those gentle manipulations is this water collection system Hanno rigged up. It's simply a 200 litre open trough that collects rain water from a down pipe attached to the roof of the chook shed. Those 200 litres are used fairly quickly, always in the space of a week, before any mosquito larvae have a chance to hatch, but it's 200 litres less that we have to take from our water tanks.
Red paw paw (papaya) growing next to the chook shed iron wall which radiates heat and helps the plant to grow.
It's a similar thing on our roof. We have solar panels there which use the sun's rays to heat our water, and skylights which direct sunlight into our house to light two rooms inside without the use of electricity. I am hoping that we will buy more solar panels in the next year and not have to use any electricity from the grid, in fact, our solar generated electricity could very well go back into the grid. A very small collection point in that vast network.
If you have a vegie patch, one of the things you could easily do to become part of the natural system is to grow comfrey and keep chooks. They will provide most of your fertilisers. Comfrey is richer in nitrogen than chook poo and is easily made into a nitrogen-rich tea, although, be warned, it stinks to high heaven. If you can't do that but still want to garden organically, buy fertilisers like blood and bone (bone meal) and seaweed concentrate. Seaweed is a wonderful boost for plants and provides them with the potassium required to flower well. More flowers, more fruit and vegetables.
We're getting ready for our main planting which happens here in March. There are seeds growing in the green house and THE pineapple will soon be picked so Hanno can prepare that bed with chook poo, compost, worm castings and blood and bone. We do that every year, and in between each planting so we always have rich soil for our vegetables. I know many of our northern hemisphere friends will be planning their gardens now. Don't forget to treat the soil in your garden with respect, because unless it's healthy and teaming with microbes, your garden will be a disappointment to you.
So who is planning a vegetable garden this year, and how many of you are first time gardeners?