My garden is pretty different than my vision for it was early this spring, and from any previous year. It has taken me a while, but I am finally fully appreciating and enjoying it for what it has become. Instead of seeming haphazard and messy, it now seems full, textural, thriving and beautiful.
This year I have acted more on cues from my plants than from a preplanned idea. I have worked in defense from pests, and in response to things that might not have worked out as planned. As a result I feel like my garden is really thriving, more than ever! I've even been able to grow broccoli for the first time (not been easy here) and I have made it through a number of problems that came up this year.
When my kale started to suffer from root maggots, for example, I experimented with home remedies (I talked about one of those remedies here) and I quickly started to interplant with onions, arugula, rocket and nasturtium. I let calendula grow where ever it had self sown last year.
When much of my first planting of carrots didn't come through, I re-planted in and amongst other plants that were already getting established. In the light shade of these other plants, germination was quick and easy, and I didn't have to water the "carrot bed" 3 times a day.
The mix of flowering herbs and greens has added a lot of beauty to the veg patch. I didn't have to plant any calendula this year, yet there is an abundance. I have many volunteer ground cherry, fennel, chamomile, bean plants and more. I plan to let some of my arugula go to seed right in place this year, as I am loving the ease of this kind of self-planting, and the fun of the unexpected.
Though my studies haven't been super in-depth or intensive, my long time interests in permaculture, companion planting and high density gardening have no doubt had their inputs. It's been fun to see new ways of doing things take shape, and I am already feeling excited for next year, with my new knowledge and experience.