Garden 2017 Concept Sketches

Pictured above is a concept sketch for my garden(s) next year. It’s actually an instance of a pattern which I will try to detail with examples.

Clustering

The idea is you have a few basic components, you cluster them in groups (I think plants like to “grow together”). So my basic units are:

  • Hardy perennial culinary herbs
  • Wildflowers
  • Various types of berry plants
  • Diverse fruit trees

Clusters, though not necessarily formal, and not necessarily regular distances:

Note: individual clusters will be a bit more mixed: some herbs in with berries, etc. 

Then each of those clusters is part of a larger cluster set which continues with random variations across the landscape:

Not quite a “Food Forest” per se, but an extremely biodiverse, mostly wild-cultivation technique which can still produce both short term, middle term and long term yields as the ecosystem develops.


Wild sown components

Interspersed among and between clusters is a sort of “grab bag” of whatever seeds will be on-hand, with the intention of continuing to stock the soil seed bank with biodiverse plants that will adapt on their own over successive generations, especially:

  • Mixed cereals (wild sown)
  • Mixed vegetables (wild sown)

Assumptions

  • Climate Change is happening.
  • We don’t know/can’t predict with much accuracy now what crop plants will grow here well in 5–10 years or longer.
  • Biodiversity is automatically better: both more dynamic and simultaneously more stable.
  • Biodiversity will attract wildlife and pollinators.
  • No irrigation or fertilization will be used.
  • Randomized mulch where available (wood chips, maybe hay and cut material from garden) and deeply mulching where possible.
  • Plants like to grow together in mixed-type clusters: in communities, touching, exchanging with dense connections between them. Same thing on an ecosystemic level with non-plant actors.

Non-goals

  • Conventional companion planting. I won’t pay any regard to “what people say” are good plants to put together. I will go by “feel” and by observation.
  • “Natives” vs. “Invasives” arguments. My axis of qualifying component plants is more a useful/unknown use.