Judicious Neglect of My Veggie Garden

I’m practising judicious neglect in my garden this year – leaving the coriander to flower and go to seed instead of chopping it down after it’s culinary use by date; growing a head of broccoli amongst the tomatoes; allowing strawberry runners to escape their patch: in short mixing plantings up. 

My back summer veggie garden looks messy, or fantastical depending on your perspective. It’s a tangle of greenery and flowers. Walking through requires dodging bees and careful steps to avoid treading on plants or being scratched by borage.

Any un-gardeners might think I’d lost my way and perfectionist gardeners might chastise me with words along the lines of “why have you planted so many different things close together?” or “you must get your secateurs out tout de suite”.

But I’m practising judicious neglect in my garden this year – leaving the coriander to flower and go to seed instead of chopping it down after it’s culinary use by date; growing a head of broccoli amongst the tomatoes; allowing strawberry runners to escape their patch: in short mixing plantings up. 

The wisdom of such diversity is already showing with a relative lack of pest damage and increasing yields. I watch confused cabbage butterflies unable to find a patch of brassicas to inhabit because the seedlings are now disguised by numerous other vegetables and flowers in their vicinity. Chives, which last year were annihilated by black aphids, are now thriving in the camp of an apple tree, yarrow, nasturtium and rhubarb. I count several types of bees pollinating fruit and am increasingly finding beneficial insects: ladybirds and hover-flies. 

When my secateurs are needed to make space for a particular seedling or such, the trimmings are chopped and left on the ground as mulch. In four short years the gaps have filled, the soil structure has improved and I’m needing to water less.

Close up this area may seem overgrown and out of control but from a distance I have the impression of a thriving ecosystem which needs minimal interference from me … and that feels really good.  The beginning of this garden in this post.

One thought on “Judicious Neglect of My Veggie Garden

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  1. Fantastic Roz – just the way a garden should be – a happy community of plants. Thanks for the inspiration – our veggie patch is suffering from neglect in not a good way. Weather extremes this season have not helped. Perhaps with milder weather hopefully on the way I can start becoming more motivated.

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