Hiya, Duke Farms Gardeners!
Welcome to another lovely season of gardening, one that feels especially important as we navigate the changes we're experiencing as a collective.
I'm Bee, and I've been gardening at Duke since our first season two years ago. My style of gardening is intentional permaculture, and I've created this little newsletter as a way of helping us all to better connect to our gardens in an organic, thoughtful way. Intentional gardening is doing so with the mind that everything can harmonize together.
Take Permaculture for example, "Permaculture is a set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking, simulating, or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. It uses these principles in a growing number of fields from regenerative agriculture, rewilding, and community resilience."
If you've walked by my plots before, you may've noticed a seemingly wild and/or out of control garden, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Permaculture uses companion planting to ensure that plants grow better and with minimal human intervention, flavor and assist each other, and naturally ward off certain pests. Permaculture is easy and fun, and I'm here to assist you if you'd like!
There is so much pressure when gardening to control! Pulling weeds that may be beneficial to our ecosystem, our health. Spraying chemicals that are harmful to the bees, butterflies, and ourselves. Tilling the soil with sensitive microbes and systems already in place, planting rows of vegetables only to see them struggle a bit.
Intentional gardening begs us to slow down and observe our gardens. Aphid problem? Get some ladybugs! Caterpillars on your dill? Hold up! Those are endangered Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars! Our little victory gardens exist not only to serve us, but to serve the flora and fauna around us as well. Before we rush to control, let us take the time to slow down and observe the systems around us. Who needs what we've planted? How does our garden contribute to the ecosystem around us?
Leave the dandelions for the bees, then harvest for your health! As a friend and Herbalist, I am here to help you garden with softness of heart, if you should be so willing to receive!
If you have any questions on Permaculture, natural/chemical-free pest control, etc., don't hesitate to reach out! And if you see some wild red hair bopping around the garden, give me a shout.
I've included below some photos of things you might see growing in the garden already this spring, as well as my favorite companion planting chart on another post, to help you get the best yield with the most minimal intervention. There are so many fun, wild, self-propagated foods around Duke Farm that might be overlooked. Have a gander, and of course, happy gardening!
Dandelion is a great liver detoxifier! Use the greens in a mixed salad or juice them for a nice cleanse! The roots can be washed, dried, and roasted or dehydrator and drunk as a liver detox tea with some cinnamon and ginger!