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It is How, not What, You Plant that Matters

Updated on August 16, 2011

How not What

The real gardening question is not what to grow, but, how to grow what you grow. In other words do you buy artificial chemicals and douse your plants with them to kill bugs and just about everything else that the plants need to thrive or do you model your garden on Nature and watch the garden thrive.

A wise gardener builds soil and that is not possible when you are staging chemical warfare against pests and plant diseases.

There is a direct link between the health of the soil we grown our plants in and the health of the plants themselves. Furthermore, if we are eating the plants then there is a direct link between the health of the soil and our health.

If you consume meat or chicken for example, there is a direct link between the health of what they eat and your health.

This is fundamental and ought to be taught in school in the early grades. Without this understanding that what we eat affects our health and what we use to help the foods we eat develop, we enter the world minus vital knowledge; knowledge that serves not only to keep us healthy but to keep the ecosystem around us healthy.

A healthy ecosystem is the first line in health care. It is the first step towards disease prevention as within a healthy ecosystem illnesses or invasions have a difficult time to take hold.

Good healthy soil is nature’s immune system and will help the gardener grow plants that can withstand an assault.

The gardener’s role becomes one of keeping a watchful eye on what is taking place and being sure to feed the soil so that the soil can feed the gardener.

There are several simple techniques that enable the gardener to feed the soil and ensure that it is strong and vital.

Adding organic material by composting is one way and easy enough. Now you can go out and buy compost, I recommend organic or you can purchase well rotted manure and if this is what you must do then that is fine.

When you are starting out to build a garden, you may have to buy compost. It is worth the money.

Mulching your garden is another. Adding mulch to your garden beds is an effective way to conserve water, reduce weeding and enhance your garden’s fertility.

Some people use decorative mulch such as stone or wood chips for the decorative effect. This method can also conserve water and suppress weds but will have less of an impact on the soil’s health.

The equation is simple healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy ecosystem = healthy people.

new garden bed

Bob Ewing photo, no dig bed
Bob Ewing photo, no dig bed


Submit a Comment

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 7 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks Paul, too few growers understand soil biota and its relevance to life.

  • Paul Wallis profile image

    Paul Wallis 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

    The more people get this message, the better. Soil chemistry is complex enough, without people using these truly dangerous chemicals that can totally disrupt organic processes, sometimes for years. The fact is soil needs to go on life support after their use. Really, the compost has to be used to revitalize it, anyway, because it also restocks the soil biota, meaning the chemicals are essentially a new problem, not a cure for anything. They're basically in the way of growth from the moment they're used. Great hub, Bob.

  • Bob Ewing profile image

    Bob Ewing 8 years ago from New Brunswick

    Mushroom compost is great stuff, thanks for dropping by.

  • LifesStudent profile image

    LifesStudent 8 years ago

    A great Hub Bob! I love how you have shown that it's simple really - common sense even when you stop and think about it. I love no dig gardening and funnily enough, my vege beds look a LOT like yours.

    This season we created two new beds using compost we created last year with a few added things like cow manure, blood and bone, dynamic lifter and I even added some mushroom compost... that's the kinda food I'd want to eat if I was soil!