Have you ever wondered how the seven year cycle works as it applies to crops?
Initially, I thought that the point was to store up and preserve as much food as you could for the upcoming year. Accidental happenings in the garden have me thinking differently. I wonder if we work too hard to plant, and might rather be better off leaving the plants to grow themselves.
I’ve been building a large garden, in the hopes that it will require less work, but provide benefit to insects and soil, beauty, food, natural pest control, and long term sustenance.
Perennials, heirlooms, companion plants, natural borders, and predator bug attraction are primary components. As is a need to relax and not be constantly pulled by things needing done in the garden.
You could say that I’ve tossed aside conventional wisdom when it comes to gardening. There are no neatly hoed rows, no tidy sections of ground in this garden.
When the plants start to bolt, I allow several to completely go to seed. The purpose was to harvest seeds – what happened is that many plants dropped seeds, and had seeds scattered by the winds.
The result has been that there were volunteer plants galore: cilantro, butter-crunch lettuce, Minnesota midget cantaloupe, and rattlesnake pole beans. Yes, beans survived a hard winter and took up residence all over the garden this year.
Tiny potatoes left in the ground have produced potato plants three years now.
This year, I’m going to take this concept farther. I’m going to let a portion of everything in the garden go to seed, then mulch over the garden in the late fall.
We’ll see what ‘grows of itself’ next spring.
Here’s a quick garden tour:
marigold borders tomato with dill
cosmos shields the ground for the grapevine
flowers in the curcubits and squash
volunteer beans with the cucumbers and bolted lettuce
weed and herb and beauty
overgrowth of pumpkin vine
hugelkultur bed with raspberry and thyme anchors
marigold to guard the beans
sunflower anchor to bean trellis with scattered flowers and weeds
weeds and flowers and herbs and vegetables share space
walking onions move into the parsley and lemon balm bed
zinnia highlights the oregano gone to flower
I can tell you that this garden does not produce great quantities, so far. I’ve harvested a lot of herbs, some lettuce, minimal peas, a decent garlic crop, and walking onions. The pole beans are now ready to start harvest – last year I harvested until September. Dry beans have been super productive, as have the cantaloupe. Asparagus, grapes, raspberries and blueberries are all new plants, so they are continuing to stake their space.
That’s my Hebrew garden.
Are you growing food this summer? Do you incorporate new ideas into your garden? What works best for you?