Why Understanding Plant Roots is Important in a Garden

As gardeners, we ignore the rhizosphere at our peril. New gardeners naturally tend to focus on what plants look like above ground when planning their gardens. But plant roots and what goes on below the soil is also very important. It might sound very obvious, but we should not forget that most plants take inContinue reading “Why Understanding Plant Roots is Important in a Garden”

Allelopathy and Mutualistic Symbiosis in Plant Interactions

Allelopathy is the biological term for plants having a (usually negative) impact on other plants growing close by by producing one or more biochemicals. The main time that we hear about allelopathy is when it comes to walnut trees or Eucalyptus . Though there are a number of other plants which can also act onContinue reading “Allelopathy and Mutualistic Symbiosis in Plant Interactions”

The Importance of Experimentation in a Garden

In a garden, it is important to experiment. While other gardeners, books, and other media can teach you a lot, learning second-hand is never enough to create a truly great garden. Even the very best gardens are a work in progress. All gardeners have to observe, experiment, and respond to change over time. It isContinue reading “The Importance of Experimentation in a Garden”

Using Trap Crops in a Garden

There are many different forms of companion planting which can be beneficial in managing pests in an organic garden. Trap crops are one type of companion plant which can be an important part of integrated pest management. Trap crops are plants which are placed alongside, around or between the plants which you wish to protect.Continue reading “Using Trap Crops in a Garden”

Fruit Tree Guilds

Working out guilds for fruit trees can feel like a complex business. It can be challenging to work out the best combinations of plants if you are trying to establish a new productive garden, improve an existing orchard, or boost the yield of an existing fruit tree. Working out the most beneficial combinations of plantsContinue reading “Fruit Tree Guilds”

Growing Herbs For Culinary Use

If you are a keen cook, then you will no doubt be familiar with many common culinary herbs. You will know just how much difference using fresh herbs in your cooking can make. But buying fresh herbs can be expensive. So it is far better to grow your own. Many of you may be sowingContinue reading “Growing Herbs For Culinary Use”

Chickweed: A Weed You Want in Your Garden

I know that most gardeners moan at the sight of even a single weed, and rip them all out as soon as they appear. But my garden has lots of weeds – and I love them. Yes, even in the vegetable beds. While not all weeds, of course, are desirable, there are plenty of weedsContinue reading “Chickweed: A Weed You Want in Your Garden”

Companion Planting Tips

First of all, it is important to note that much of the companion planting advice given online has little scientific basis. While there are undoubtedly benefits to combining certain plants, the ways in which plants interact with one another are surprisingly sketchily understood. So take advice like ‘X loves Y’ with a grain of salt.Continue reading “Companion Planting Tips”

Growing Brassicas

Those who already grow their own in a temperate climate will no doubt be familiar with brassicas – members of the cabbage family. These crops are important ones in temperate climates, and are often an important crop family in annual gardens. Where I live, March is the time to sow a range of Brassica plantsContinue reading “Growing Brassicas”

Case Study: Family Garden Planting Plan

This is a portion of a recent project in Georgia, US, that might be of interest to some other home gardeners. This was a suggested design for polyculture beds to maximise productivity in an area of approximately 60 x 30ft. The goal was to produce plenty of annual/biennial crops in addition to cut flowers forContinue reading “Case Study: Family Garden Planting Plan”