Each growing environment is made up of many interconnected elements that shift and change over time. We need to work with all the elements that can influence the quality of the food we grow. We also need to understand the relationships between them and how they can change over time.
This contrasts to the mechanical, reductionist approach common amongst many food growing approaches today, which works with each element of a garden in isolation.
Working with the basics of a wholistic, dynamic integrated approach always gives you a better chance of achieving an abundance of nutrient-rich food. This includes learning a few important skills, using appropriate tools and taking actions in the correct order.
A garden’s ecology (its environment, the many life forms in it and the relationships between them) is by its very nature wholistic, dynamic and integrated.
As there is a wide diversity of environments on the Earth and even more in the life in each place, each garden’s ecology is unique. So, as you gather general information about growing food, you must always adjust and make it relevant to your individual garden.
We work with the fact that you, the gardener, are part of the garden’s ecology. Therefore, your actions will always be critical to what happens.
If growing nutrient-rich food is your goal, choosing plants with the right genetics is essential. If a plant’s genes do not carry a strong “blueprint” for nutrition, their nutritional value for you will be limited, no matter how well you grow them.
To achieve an abundance of nutrient-rich food, we select plant varieties whose genes are best suited to an eco-friendly growing approach and carry the greatest potential for nutrition.
We choose open pollinated varieties of vegetables and herbs and traditional varieties of berries & fruits that we know will produce high levels of nutrients when grown in eco-friendly ways.
All life in the garden that contributes to the final food we eat must get the nutrients they require to grow and thrive.
To achieve an abundance of quality food, you need to help facilitate the movement of nutrients through the whole food chain of your garden’s ecology (microbes, insects, plants, animals, yourself).
For your vegetables, herbs, berries and fruits to be nutrient-rich, you must ensure that all the macro- & micronutrients they need are present in the garden’s ecology and are available in forms the plants can uptake in the amount they need, when they need them.
We use a biological approach to deliver the plants the nutrients they need. Therefore, we are focused on achieving a diversity of beneficial, active soil life in the garden.
As a gardener, you need to understand all the elements of your garden’s environment (sun, climate, landscape, water, soil, etc.) and how they are interconnected. With this understanding, your mission is to create optimal conditions for each element and find the combination that is best for your garden and the crops you are growing.
We work with the fact that Nature moves to create its own dynamic balance in each unique situation. We learn from this and apply it to our actions as the starting point to achieving an eco-friendly garden.
This involves making decisions not to do certain things, such as apply synthetic fertilisers & toxins. Most importantly, it involves doing things that support nature’s balance in the environment, such as taking actions to attract beneficial bacteria, fungi and insects into our gardens.
The more we work with nature’s balance, the less work we will have to do to succeed in growing an abundance of nutrient-rich food.
Our design process creates a roadmap to help you navigate through each growing season. It provides the easiest route to achieving your goals as a gardener, wherever you live on the Earth.
Following the series of steps in our design process, in order, will ensure you make wise decisions for your garden, take appropriate actions and get the best results possible in your situation. It will also make it much easier for you to adapt and make improvements as your garden and/or personal circumstances change over time.
We contrast this to the commonly promoted approach of following a predetermined gardening “recipe” based on one of various growing “methods”. Unfortunately, using gardening recipes has many pitfalls and gives you at best a 50/50 chance of succeeding in your specific situation.
Working with design is well worth the effort, as it enables you to find the best solution for your garden and personal circumstances and gives you a much higher chance of success.
Seeing the garden as a "living lab" and viewing gardening as a fun, ongoing “experiment” is a great way to become a better gardener. No matter how much existing knowledge and experience you have, there is always room to learn more! We encourage all gardeners to get involved in research.
As gardeners working with our own unique garden ecology, we find ourselves always running "experiments" to better understand how our ecology is working and how what we have learned from others can be best applied in our situation.
We utilise modern technology, which enables us to “look into” the microscopic aspects of the world of the soil life, soil, plants and food we grow. Combining scientific understandings with the knowledge of gardeners built over centuries has opened up incredible new frontiers and potentials to improve our ability to grow quality food.
But this is a mission beyond the resources of a single gardener. So, we have joined with other like-minded people internationally to collaboratively address these issues.
Gardening is a journey of learning, experimentation and discovery. As with any journey, learning to be a good gardener takes time. And there are lots of pitfalls along the way if you try to do it alone.
We’re here to help point you in the right direction so you can: