Our growing philosophy is simple … keep it green. We garden like our great-grandparents did, with the basics: water sun and good soil. Our soil is a mixture of peat, loam and the beneficial fungus mycorrhizae, and we make our own soil blocks to start our plants. We grow everything ourselves from seed or cuttings off our own plant stock and throughout the season, our plants are fed only with fish emulsion and mulched with seaweed harvested from the beach.
The most important thing to remember in growing is to listen to your plants. They will tell you what they need. Grow the plant in the right place (light and soil) and make sure you watch your water. Over- or under-watering is the most common reason plants dies or fail to thrive. So we watch and listen
In the garden we practice crop rotation and are fans of the “no dig” method. Compost and cover crops are useful for building up nutrients in the soil naturally.
Using many of the permaculture principles, we make sure everything we do serves multiple purposes. Growing vertically and plant-stacking lets us grow cool-season crops longer while growing two or three planter in the same space. To enhance crop production we also make sure we keep the air moving in the greenhouse using cross-ventilation to keep disease, rot and pests away while encouraging pollinators to come in and fertilize our crops. We also employ companion plating to keep the nasty bugs away while improving flavor and taste. For example Borage is one of the “Magic Bullet” Herbs.
It keeps the tomato worms away and helps tomatoes, squash, and strawberries thrive! It is also rumored to enhance the taste of whatever to grows near. To keep flies and mosquitoes away, grow basil and garlic as they deter Japanese Beetles from roses, raspberries and beans. We also keep plant diversity high and encourage beneficial insects, which also helps our plants flourish.
There are many benefits to our ‘old-fashioned’ garden practices and techniques, but at the end of the day we really just keep it simple and let the plants do what they really want to do … grow and thrive.