Saturday, 25 June 2011


Some gardeners talk about their gardens being a kind of organized chaos. Seemingly haphazard plantings give an impression of natural growth just springing up of its own accord but there is far more thought goes into these things than one might imagine.

My own garden would terrify those folks who like things in neat rows.

On the face of it this patch looks as if all the veggies are fighting for survival.

No neat rows, no crop rotation, just a wild and tangled mass of plants. There’s peas, onions, broad beans, beetroot, potatoes, nasturtiums, marigolds, lettuce, carrots, parsnips and turnips all doing well and promising a bumper crop. In the background the soft fruit bushes mingle with flowering shrubs and the assorted containers have even more plant varieties.

The netting is not very pretty but is essential to keep some crops protected from predators.

The idea of all this ‘wildness’ is to attract as many types of beneficial creatures as possible and,  apart from an aphid infestation on the currnats, I’ve had no pest problems at all so far this year. The plants are generally very healthy and thus more able to withstand attacks by pests and diseases. Around the edges of the garden are lots of undisturbed areas with piles of decaying vegatation which are home to frogs and hedgehogs. They, of course, eat slugs and snails, as do the many birds which nest in the vicinity.

Companion planting of onions and carrots close together does seem to deter root fly and the marigolds and nasturtiums also seem to play their part in keeping some of the nasties at bay. Close spacing means that weeds are not a problem either once the crops get established. So, no digging, very little weeding, what more could you ask for?

Another view, complete with dog and more containers. Herbs grow along the front to get maximum sunlight.

Marjoram, mint, rosemary and summer savoury with a young gooseberry bush behind.


All this luxuriant growth comes about as a result of a very healthy soil which has taken five years to achieve but which is easily maintained if you recycle and compost as much waste as you can.

I realize this kind of arrangement will not be to everyone’s taste. Some folks like neat rows of the same plant and get excellent results that way. I like my chaos, it works for me and I feel comfortable with the idea that I’m not in a constant battle against nature.

1 comment:

  1. It all looks good to me!
    I like your chaos, and the fact that you try to work with nature. I think that some people would be surprised at how little digging or weeding you have to do. Flighty.