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Gardening With Nature's Bounty

Updated on April 12, 2021
Bob Ewing profile image

Bob is a permaculture designer and garden writer. His ebook From My Garden, is widely available.

Nature's Bounty

There are only a very few ways I enjoy investing my time that surpass the moments I spend in my garden. Some of those activities such as reading only surpass gardening in the winter months when my garden beds are under four feet of snow and are all settled in waiting for spring.

Even then I read seed catalogues, surf the net looking for gardening ideas and turn to my personal gardening library for something to read.

One of the many things I enjoy about gardening is the knowledge that I am working with Nature as I plan and build my garden; whether it be a new garden bed or tending a vegetable container garden, I rely on Nature to not only provide the materials I need but for ideas and techniques that I can use.

There is a large, old tree right in the middle of the backyard and this means that not only do I have shade to consider when laying out a design but I also have tree roots competing for the water soil and nutrients.

The tree presents a challenge one that makes gardening all that more interesting but it also provides a resource, its leaves which fall in autumn and give me more raw material than I can use.

I place some in my compost bin, others are laid down on top of the soil, watered, if it is nor raining, as wet leaves are less likely to blow away in the rain.

This provides a blanket for the bulbs and plants that are covered which helps during the winter months but also serves as a source of nutrients as the leaves break down.

Decomposition is a natural process and one that any gardener who uses compost is employing to good advantage.

Composting is a great way to transform kitchen scraps and leaves into nutrient rich organic matter which can be sued to build new beds or revitalize existing one.

Grass clippings are another excellent material to work with and if you have a lawn it will need cutting, so rather than seeing this as a chore view it as a means of providing organic material for your compost bin and gardens.

I rake up the lawn after every other cutting and put a small portion in the compost bin, and more on my garden beds.

When I am starting a new bed which I am doing behind the garage I use leaves, grass clippings, tree branches (twigs really) cardboard and water, rainwater that is to get the bed started.

My next step is to get a rain barrel this spring so that I can sue this resource so generously provided by Nature to water the cut flower garden which is what I am building behind the garage.

Growing food for my body is essential but I also need to feed my mind and eyes; cut flowers around the house are an excellent way to do so. They also make great gifts when going to dinner at someone’s place.

The sun provides the energy that our plants need to grow; even those who like the shade rely on the sun, although their need is more indirect. I know we have turned the sun into soemthign to be feared and it is now wise to reduce exposure time that we spend in it but it is still the source of life and our gardens and ourselves will not thrive without it.

There are some material I use that are the work of humans and not natural but also not harmful when used in a garden, especially to build a new garden bed.

Cardboard is one, newspapers are another.

The new cutflower garden behind the garage was begun by laying out both cardboard and newspapers on the ground that had just been watered; this works well if done during a light rain or just after a rain.

A rainy day is a good day to garden, not a heavy downpour but that gentler rain that makes the ground easier to work and means you do not have to turn on yoru tap to provide the news seeds and seedlings with their first drink.

I do not like to waste anything be it time, materials or energy; when you understand how you can work with Nature’s bounty and also use some human made materials in your garden you reduce waste and create beauty.

Behind the Garage

building a new garden bed: Bob Ewing photo
building a new garden bed: Bob Ewing photo

Mini City Orchard


Nature's bounty:  Bob Ewing photo
Nature's bounty: Bob Ewing photo

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