Monthly Archives: December 2016

Create A Synergistic Vegetable Garden In 10 Easy Steps

Everyone who’s seen a Japanese garden would like to emulate the feeling of calm and relaxation it brings into their own homes. After all of these gardens are created to invoke meditation and reflection, and are meant to be havens of Zen.

If you’re looking for a place to unwind in the comfort of your own home, it is a perfectly good idea to create a Japanese garden in your backyard. Here are some tips to help you design your own garden:

1. Consider creating a rock garden

Designed to portray a scene of mountains and rivers, a rock garden makes use of different sizes of rocks and sand. Sand gravel is meticulously arranged to symbolize water, while rocks layered on sand symbolize mountains.

2. Make use of moss

As moss thrives in Japan’s humid and rainy climate, it doesn’t need much rain to flourish. This easily makes it a key component of Japanese gardens.

3. Invoke zen

The main purpose of a Japanese garden is to invite calmness and meditation. Whether that means creating a pond, a rock or a moss garden, the goal is for you to recreate the elements of tranquility in your own home.

4. Use natural colors

While some of these gardens feature pink blossoming flowers and red bridges, these design elements actually come Chinese culture. In order to stay true to the Japanese garden design philosophy, make use of different shades of green and brown as your primary palette. This means you should be selective when it comes to your plants. Flowers shouldn’t be too colorful as to be distracting. Their role in the garden is to highlight the green that acts as the balancing color of the garden.

5. Keep it minimal

These gardens are a testament to simplicity and purpose. For this reason, it is important to keep your design simple and small. The best way to go about is to incorporate natural materials that are functional. These can range from bamboo tubes to small stone pathways. Similarly, you shouldn’t be incorporating a wide variety of plants into your garden. It is best to stick with two or three to keep lines clean. Apart from that, it’s also going to be much easier to maintain.

6. Learn more about the design philosophy

If you are building a Japanese garden from scratch, you need to first understand the ancient foundations. This helps you understand the true philosophy behind the materials chosen and the harmony of all the garden elements. This doesn’t mean you can’t improvise or create a unique haven of Zen in your home. It only means having a good foundation by which to root your design.

At the end of the day, the rules are not set on stone as to how you should build your own Japanese-style garden in your home. It is up to you to match your aesthetics with the ancient Japanese garden design philosophy to create one in your home that invokes peace, tranquility and calm.


Create A Synergistic Vegetable Garden In 10 Easy Steps

Vegetable gardening shouldn’t be hard work. Look at all of the abundance that mother nature grows, do you see her out digging, weeding, pruning, fertilizing? No, of course not! Natural systems do all of the work and synergistic vegetable gardening puts those systems to work in your garden, producing a bountiful harvest the natural way.

So how do you get started building a synergistic vegetable garden?

#1. Build raised beds. You don’t need to build wooden frameworks and fill them with soil. Just create long mounds of soil about 4 feet wide and 10 – 30 inches high. Flatten the top of the mound.

#2. Cover the mound with mulch. This can be a mixture of materials – straw, shredded cardboard, sheeps wool, leaves, sawdust, shredded branches, newspaper etc.

#3. A few days before you are ready to start planting open the mulch on top of the bed to allow the soil to warm up.

#4. Plant seedlings in the bed and close the mulch back up around the plants. Seeds are planted in the same way.

#5. Place beneficial plants – called companion plants – through out your garden. You can plant them into the sides of the beds. Marigolds, will for example protect your plants from nematodes.

#6. Do not use compost on your garden or add fertilizer. It is not necessary and causes harm to the soil.

#7. When it is time to harvest from your garden, cut plants off just above the soil and leave the roots in place. All of the vegetation that is not used should be placed on top of the mulch right where that plant was growing.

#8. Never walk on your beds, till them or dig them.

#9. Weeding is still necessary at first, but due to the mulch the amount of weeds will be greatly reduced. Over time as the mulch builds up, less weed seeds will find there way into the soil.

#10. Water the beds during dry spells. The mulch prevents a hard surface developing on your soil which leads to water run off. The mulch also reduces evaporation. A hummus rich soil holds onto water, making it available to the plants for longer.

So there you have the basics in a nutshell. The idea of synergistic gardening is to mimic a system which builds the soil naturally. It is the bacteria and earthworms in our soil that create this fertility through their life processes. We do not need to interfere with a process that nature has perfected. When we do, we just create more work for ourselves along with reduced soil fertility.