Briefly – starting from scratch

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The vegan-organic garden ideally has a diversity of plants, birds, small animals, insects, fungi, bacteria and other micro-organisms…

The vegan-organic garden ideally has a diversity of plants, birds, small animals, insects, fungi, bacteria and other micro-organisms. These are interdependent and necessary for the production of wholesome food. The quality of food produced by this method compared to mono-cropping systems whose soil structure is destroyed by continual cultivation, chemical fertilisers and toxic pesticides, is superior in vitality and taste due to the variety and activity of the ecosystem.

Include many levels of plants when preparing land for cultivation, from ground cover to fruit trees. Patches of nettles and comfrey will provide cover for insects to lay eggs, the leaves can be used for liquid feed. Consider the physical characteristics – aspect, gradient, hours of sunshine, shade, shelter and exposure. Shelter belts using small trees or shrubs will attract insects and birds.

Make a soil analysis and grow plants suitable for the soil type. Install drainage and irrigation systems if necessary. Use terracing and raised beds, allow areas for perennial crops and composting. Make a pond and bog garden to attract frogs, and a pile of decaying logs and leaves for hedgehogs. Both will provide natural slug control. Use trellises and fencing for climbing plants. Scatter seeds of wild flowers. Plant clumps of herbs, medicinal or culinary, and herbaceous perennials. These will attract beneficial insects such as hover flies and pollinating bees.

Cut down existing foliage If using a no dig method cover the ground with a bio-degradable barrier. Digging relieves compacting. Examine every forkful to remove all perennial roots which will otherwise regrow. Become familiar with weeds and their method of reproduction. A continuous cover of mulch helps to retain moisture, prevents weed growth and provides a steady supply of organic matter. Liquid feeds can be made and applied when necessary during the growing season.

Use traditional varieties of seeds which have proven disease and pest resistance. Sowing and planting can be done according to calendar season or lunar cycles. Use rotation systems, including green manures as part of cropping cycles. Plants can be grown from seed in cells, and transplanted. Potatoes can be dibbed into the ground and covered with mulch. Onions are planted and lightly covered, sow small seeds in rows scraping the mulch aside. Protect from birds, insects and adverse weather by fleeces, clothes and netting.

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