How to grow better food with less work

Most of our store-bought food is processed, genetically modified and nutrient-deficient. To improve our health, it’s wise for us to grow some, if not all, of our own food.

Yet we live stressful lives. How are we supposed to find the time to grow our food? The solution is to work smarter, not harder. We must use a low-maintenance method that takes as little time, money and labor as possible.

Depending on the method you use, you can either be a slave to your garden or your garden can be a source of relaxation, thriving health and delicious fruits and veggies.

Today’s traditional gardening methods include using expensive chemical fertilizers and toxic pesticides. These promise better yields and fewer pests, but create a slew of other challenges.

Chemicals deplete the soil of nutrients and minerals, which cause a dependence on chemical fertilizers. These chemicals create weaker plants, attracting pests and disease. This creates a dependency on toxic pesticides and fungicides.

Bare soil causes erosion and soil compaction, so we till the soil every season. Weeds grow easily in this bare, compacted soil and are difficult to pull. Man’s way works against nature.

Sustainable permaculture works in harmony with nature. No gardener tends to the forest, yet it is lush and green. Sustainable permaculture brings Mother Nature’s method into your garden.

To design an organic, sustainable, low-maintenance home garden, use a mulch covering. The forest floor is covered in leaves and pine needles, which compost over time to feed the soil. The covering retains the perfect amount of moisture, and prevents erosion and soil compaction.

Replicate this method and you will water less. Your soil will not erode or compact, allowing oxygen in the root zone and making weeds easier to pull.

Instead of depleting your soil, it will grow healthier each year, becoming a home to rich and diverse biological life. You won’t need to till every spring. Eventually you won’t need additional fertilizers.

This biodynamic soil will grow sweeter, juicier plants. Pests will bother your garden less. The minerals in your veggies will heal your body.

Woodchips are an excellent covering. You can get these chips from a local tree service or from your own yard, if you have a chipper.

It is important to choose wood that decomposes fairly easily, unlike cedar, and not to till the chips into your soil. If you do, the chips will leach nitrogen from the soil and your plants will suffer a deficiency.

Instead, layer the chips on top of a layer of compost. As they decompose, more compost is created. Every time you water or it rains, your garden will be nourished with compost tea.

Woodchip gardening is a low-maintenance way to grow your own organic, nutrient- and mineral-rich food. It will solve many common challenges and make gardening a relaxing experience instead of a chore.

In a culture saturated with low-quality food and poor health, homegrown food is the medicine we need to turn things around for our bodies and our planet.

Monica Rakowski owns KP Indoor Garden Store in Key Center and blogs at thenaturelifeproject.com.
Living Close to Nature
Living Close to Nature