In the last month I've dealt with how to regenerate your garden soil and garden. I described 12 very basic regenerative gardening activities. These were all intentionally small steps, that could be accomplished easily. I'm concluding the series today. I don't want there to be too many things to remember to do, and to get too complicated. The next series will be on the benefits of regenerative gardening.
But before heading into the next series I will sum up.
The five principles of regenerative agriculture are minimal disturbance (no chemicals, ploughing, digging or weeding), keeping the soil covered, cultivating diversity, leaving living roots in the ground as long as possible and integrating animals. I've explored how to apply these principles in regenerative gardening in an urban space, especially how to adapt the last principle about integrating animals, because we can't have herds of cows in our garden. Several posts explained how one could try and replace the cows by imitating what they do to the land, to try and get the same benefits. Smaller animals like chickens and rabbits could also do part of the work.
Activity 1 on the 6th of October was about clipping for fertility. The grazing of cows stimulates the growth of some plants like grasses, which stimulates soil fertility, and we imitate the grazing by clipping some plants, especially grasses, back.
Activity 2 on the 9th was about how to trample weeds instead of ripping them out, to imitate how cows trample the pasture, promoting composting of some of the plants, but leaving their roots in the ground.
Activity 3 on the 7th was about spraying the garden with dilute urine, which is one of the benefits the cows bring. I also compost humanure and sprinkle it on the garden, but its more of a process and I think I should deal with it in a later deep dive into regenerative activities.
Activity 4 on the 8th was about clipping for diversity. I describe how instead of weeding, to eliminate 'unwanted' plant species, I use my clippers to create balanced diversity in a garden bed.
Activity 5 on the 12th was a bit complicated, about making soap that is plant and closed grey water system friendly because the sodium in most soaps can be bad for soil. Both kinds of soap can be bad for the environment, it depends on your setup.
Activity 6 on the 13th was about getting to identify and know your weeds better. They may be there for a purpose, and have great benefits, just that we don't understand that yet. They add diversity.
Activity 7 on the 15th was about feeding worms. Vermicast is not so much a fertilizer as it is a fabulous way of inoculating your soil with a rich diverse microbiome.
Activity 8 on the 16th described an easy way to make biochar. Char is a soil additive that boosts the bacterial population of your soil, and that is beneficial to most vegetables.
Activity 9 on the 25th was about how to select soil benefitting and highly diverse cover crop seed. My seed mix was the most successful of my regenerative experiments thus far. I saw regeneration in action.
Activity 10 on the 26th was brewing up plant beer for your plants, which is also a soil microbe diversity boost.
Activity 11 on the 31st of October was growing native food trees from seed to add to tree diversity in cities.
Activity 12 on the 4th of November was telling people in your neighbourhood about what you are doing. We need to regenerate whole landscapes, the more households involved the better, to get all the benefits of regeneration.
I am extremely happy at the success of this blog series and I thank all of you who read my pages and invite you to comment in the window at the bottom of the page. I would especially like to know if you feel I've left something very important out of the basic activities, so that we can quickly deal with it before moving on to the benefits of regenerative gardening which are so extensive, it could go on for a while before I revisit the theme of activities. I want everyone to know what to do first, something to start with.
Thank you !
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.
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