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Book details
  • SubGenre:Organic
  • Language:English
  • Pages:144
  • eBook ISBN:9781483555409

An Ecological Gardeners Handbook

How to Create a Garden With a Healthy Eco-System and Garden Sustainably

by Valerie Payn

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An Ecological Gardener's Handbook explains how Nature get's plants to grow - without a human in sight. It reveals the hidden connections between plants, living creatures, and the state of the garden environment. in easy- to- follow, practical ways, it shows how gardeners can use these same processes to create healthy, vibrant, highly productive garden eco-systems, where ever they are. Explore the general qualities of eco-friendly gardens, and how to use these in your own garden. Learn to adapt your garden to suit harsh conditions and the local climate. Discover how to build healthy living soil that doesn't require the use of chemical fertilizers, and to create sustainable plant communities. Learn how to manage pests and diseases using natural methods. Discover the roles useful garden creatures play in garden health and how to entice these into the garden. Learn to grow some of your own organic food, and join the local food revolution, or simply create a beautiful garden that is ideally suited to your environment.
An Ecological Gardener’s Handbook explains how Nature gets plants to grow – without a human in sight. It shows how gardeners can use these same natural processes to create healthy, vibrant, productive gardens without using toxic chemicals or pesticides. Each chapter focuses on one aspect of creating a vibrant garden eco-system, and provides gardeners with a range of simple, practical steps to follow. Stunning photographs of unusual gardens from a wide range of environments illustrate the book. Chapter 1 explores the many benefits of creating a healthy garden eco-system. Chapters 2- 3 explain, in simple terms, how healthy ecosystems function. They explore the connections between culture, gardens and ecology, and show gardeners how to analyse their own needs and expectations for their garden. Chapter 4 highlights the 5 basic qualities of healthy garden eco-systems, and gives gardeners numerous tips on how each of these qualities can be developed in the garden. The 5 principles are as follows:- 1 – Eco-friendly gardens suit local conditions. How to create a garden tailor- made to suit local environmental and cultural conditions. 2 - Eco-friendly gardens are rich in biodiversity. Why biodiversity is important and how to build it into the garden 3- Eco-friendly gardens are multi-functional. Save money, time and effort, make optimal use of space, and create a resilient garden by building multi-functional uses into the garden. 4 - Eco-friendly gardens change over time. Appreciating change as an important element of eco-friendly gardening. How gardens change over time. Working with change. 5 – Eco-friendly gardens recycle. How to use recycling as a means of developing a healthy garden ecosystem. Chapter 5 - looks at how extreme conditions affect the garden, i.e. cold, heat, drought and wind, and gives tips on how to cope with these. Chapter 6 – explains the challenges, and benefits, of gardening in various climate zones. It offers gardeners practical advice on how to garden in different climate zones, namely: moist, tropical and sub-tropical regions; cool, moist, temperate climates; dry, arid and semi-arid areas. Chapter 7 and 8 look at the importance of creating a health soil eco-system. These explore the role that the combination of plants, soil minerals, beneficial garden creatures, microbes and gardeners play in creating healthy (or unhealthy) soil. A wide variety of natural ways of improving soil fertility are discussed, including composting, mulching, green manures, the use of compost teas and EM, Bokashi, companion planting, crop rotation, and suitable plant selection for prevailing soil conditions. Chapter 8 provides various easy to follow compost recipes for different uses, and a quick reference table for compost ‘trouble shooting’. Chapter 9 discusses how gardeners can learn from natural plant communities to build resilient, locally well-adapted plant communities. How to use succession planting, and create plant guilds for various purposes, are explained. Chapter 10 explains how to use natural methods to manage pests and diseases in the garden, without using toxic pesticides. Chapter 11 looks at the vital role of pollinators, and how gardeners can create pollinator friendly gardens. Chapter 12 provides some notes on the pleasure and benefits of growing your own organic food. It also highlights some unusual food gardens. Chapter 13 provides an encouraging summary on how to transition your garden into an ecologically vibrant environment. Gardeners who follow the practices outlined in this book will begin to see many benefits to their garden over time. These include :- improved soil health, healthy plants that thrive with little attention, and that seldom suffer damaging pest or disease attacks, plants that are less susceptible to drought, to pests and disease, and to extreme temperatures and weather changes. They will be able to save money, time, energy and water, whatever size garden they have.
About the author
Val Payn has been a very keen gardener and garden writer for most of her adult life. After completing a garden design course through renowned British landscaper David Stevens’ International Garden Design School in the early 1990’s, she practiced for many years as a professional landscape designer and consultant, wrote regular articles for a popular South African gardening magazine, and ran practical workshops for gardener's on garden landscaping. In 2008 she returned to university to read for a post-graduate degree in Sustainable Development Planning and Management. There she was inspired by what she learnt about ecological design, organic agriculture, permaculture, and the connections between human actions and the state of the environment. These inspired her to write this book. She hopes for a future in which roofs, balconies, parks, pavements, walls, wastelands and gardens, in every town and city, become life regenerating, resource creating, productive, mini-conservancies. Val lives in a large rambling garden on Burnside Farm, Harding, South Africa.