Over the past few years I’ve grown an amazing amount of organic vegetables. I achieved this by carefully preparing the soil, adding compost and nitrogen – thriving plants and resting the area between crops. However, this winter I decided to take a permaculture approach and let the garden fend for itself. Partly this was due to time constraints as much as discovering what would thrive or die.
The results from my permaculture experiment were not unexpected but it did offer a few surprises. The thrivers included silverbeet, a leafy vegetable that seeds all over the place, closely followed by the iron – filled leafy giant, kale. Bok Choy also flourished, as did the broccoli. The artichokes enjoyed frosty nights and cold days as they grew into giant foliage with the vegetable at its centre. Lastly, the self-seeding parsnip, cabbages and broad beans produced smaller crops this year but overall grew fairly well. The losers were carrots with only a few popping up, cauliflower – which didn’t do anything at all – and the asparagus.
It will be time to plant seeds again ready for the spring. I will be pulling out the weeds and mulching the soil. However, my permaculture experiment made me realise that most vegetables grow quite nicely on their own.