This blog called garden for life is about integrating food growing and biodiversity. This is done using indigenous plants and creating diverse soil regimes. It means that I apply regenerative techniques to create soil high in nutrients and organic material for growing exotic vegetables. But I also apply judicious neglect to create zones with fewer inputs where native plants can thrive. The use of organic or regenerative growing methods gives nutrient dense food but also helps build soil that sequesters carbon and helps restore our local small hydrological cycles. Growing indigenous food also gives greater nutrient quality and supports biodiversity.
I go through my gardening experiences using shorter than usual articles in nice bite sized pieces. I enjoy writing long articles that the search engines love, but not everyone likes to read a lot, so the blog is for my more telegraphic and frequent communication.
Indigenous plants are of wilder stock and often far more nutrient dense due to their lack of breeding. The greatest diversity of native flowering plants is found in poor soil, as they are out competed by the vigorous plants one finds in rich soil, and this is true world wide. However in the Fynbos region of the Cape this is even more true. We have very ancient leached sands that consist of almost pure silica. Plants adapted to this exceptionally low nutrient environment are not only outcompeted in rich soils, some of them will die when their roots take up too many nutrients. You can kill proteas with Nitrogen fertilizers as my sister will attest.
So our soils are famously depleted, and regenerative techniques for creating nutrient and organic rich soil are not good for biodiversity in this region. But most of our food plants are exotic and require a nutrient status much higher than local soils can offer. The solutions is to learn how to eat native food plants, and to separate the soil regimes into different zones. I create high input zones for the exotic vegetables in what permaculture calls zone 1. I have many articles on this part of my garden and the regenerative gardening theme, but there is also an art blog that links to my designs. You will also find a general blog including all the writing on art and gardening on this website, which is generated automatically by this platform.
Below you will find what I've written about boosting biodiversity and gardening against extinction, some elements of regenerative gardening, the 4 regenerative questions series, and below that the 'how to' series with 12 simple tips for regenerative gardening. These 12 tips were the first project for the regenerative gardening blog, a series of articles designed to make it really easy to do regenerative gardening, one task at a time. This comes in response to a demand for simple and practical suggestions, tips and activities. I wrote a polemical article titled poly-regeneration, but based on the reaction, I see that many people prefer practical solutions on how to do it, rather than theory.
Tap on the green text in each entry to go straight to the blog posts. The practical, how to series sometimes duplicates some topics I've written on in greater depth, so I will link you to those topics as we go.
Workshops and organizations furthering biodiversity in Cape Town.
The benefits of snails. What are they really doing in your garden ?
Learning about small secretive mammals and more in the Cape Flats Nature Reserve.
Grow against extinction ! Garden for wildlife using native food plants.
website home page with links to many topics on environmentally friendly, diversity promoting work for restorative, permaculture aligned, regenerative practice in the garden.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or stories to share on gardening, permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests, natural gardening, do nothing gardening, observations about pests and diseases, foraging, dealing with and using weeds constructively, composting and going offgrid.
Check out our selection of ecological designs printed on T-shirts, accessories and decor items. The designs are about soil regeneration, indigenous Cape wild flowers, wild African animals and other fauna, as well as bible quotes and geometric patterns.
Build your own system and grow fruit and vegetables with your dish water and other waste water at home
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