DIY raised garden beds for healthier plants

Raised garden beds are ever popular for different reasons. Personally, I am really keen on the no-dig gardening method and for me, it’s all about soil health. For others however, it may come down to finding it difficult to bend, or being challenged with clay soil. To start preparing for DIY raised garden beds, needs a focus on soil and how to ensure nutrient-density and water-retention plus drainage – similarly to preparing a bed in the ground.

How to create DIY raised garden beds:
1) Draw out a design and decide where this raised garden should be. Make sure you incorporate moving space, or pathways, around each bed. Also pre-plan which plants are positioned where, and for this the number one consideration is the sun and wind factors unless you are working within a greenhouse. Wind-hardy plants should take the most wind in the front and for sun-sharing, the low-growing individuals should grow in front of the taller plants. Areas to consider are those that get sun for at least 6 hours every day and little to no wind.
2) The best height-dictator is the plants or flowers you wish to grow and their root characteristics. For deeper root systems, you will need a greater depth of soil and for small ground covers, you will need less soil. Building a raised bed that is about 1m high is really ideal as you can use this bed for anything in the future. But 1m heights are not absolutely necessary (unless you only want to grow shrub-sized plants) and usually a 30cm high bed will be perfect.
3) Decide on the site and size of your garden and lay out the perimeter with rot-resistant corner posts in position. Next take a string and create the mock-up frame work of the bed to be. Form a rectangle with the front/end and side boards and screw to the corner posts.
4) Next you can finish assembling the bed frame by securing each side wall. Screw together all sides with the previous and next end boards.
5) Level and secure the frame by compacting the soil around the frame and corner posts.
6) Remove all rocks and other hard objects that are visible inside the bed. Lay cardboard down inside the bed and follow with grass clippings or leave mulch. Then add a handful of organic fertilizer and brown mulch such as wood chips with a final layer of compost. Repeat these layers, but instead of cardboard again, use newspaper. Finally end on wood chips and make sure the matter is moist through, but not dripping wet.
7) Rest the bed for 2 – 3 months and you will find a raised bed that is heaven for plants to grow in, or
8) alternatively, skip steps 1 – 7 and simply fill the beds with good soil and compost that is ready for instant planting.
9) Consider adding irrigation and wire fencing if needed in your DIY raised garden beds. Your future self will thank you.

One of the biggest advantages about raised beds is that you have control of your soil conditions. If you have raised beds and advice that can be useful for us, please share in the comment box below.

DIY garden path steps and ideas

Photo by Niko Lienata on Unsplash

When you first plan a new garden, you have to establish what stays. Let’s call this the skeleton. Maybe it’s only your house or the fence, or perhaps that list includes trees. Secondly, the sunniest areas will be your best vegetable bed areas and these growing areas should be marked out. At this point, a garden path is planned according to the what stays and where-is-sun factors. Garden paths are extremely necessary and valuable as soil, seedlings and plants need protection from compacting through walking. I add further below a how-to and easy to follow DIY garden path steps and ideas.

In a no-dig garden such as my own, my DIY garden path steps consisted of simply placing cardboard sheets (non-glossy and all plastic removed) down in the shape of my desired path. I covered this up with wood chips and the whole exercise took me about 15 minutes. Yes, I need to top the layer up every 6 months or so, but only where needed and that’s an even faster process. This must be the easiest method in gardens where such a natural option is both practical and attractive. But it is not the only option available.

Other garden paths include bricks and gravel, paving stones and decking material, a combination option and mown paths.

For a brick path…
Pre-edge your path design with a frame of plastic or brick, and fill with soft sand. Compact the sand and follow with bricks. The bricks can be placed in any pattern of choice but must be followed with compacting again and finally a deep watering.

For a gravel, your DIY garden path steps…
Pre-edge your design as for a brick path and line the insides with plastic weed-restrictive plastic sheets. Follow with your gravel. Best gravel sizes are 5mm (1/4 inch) in size with rounded edges. These paths are good security measures as they sound under movement.

For a paving stone path…
Ask your local cement yard for reject pavers – they are usually happy to sell them to the public at a much reduced rate. As with brick paths, pavers follow an edging first, then sand process. If you plan to space your paving stones apart, make sure to add a weed-restrictive plastic layer before the sand.

For a decking material path…
Decked pathways are always raised on a frame and building and connecting smaller, rectangular shapes is the easiest method. Your local building warehouse and/or wood yard will be able to show you what wood will suit your needs best. A frame that stands 15cm off the ground level, topped with slates of decking will be neat and you can move the different frames around as needs change.

For a combination path…
Many gardeners like to combine gravel and paving stones for example. See each option for the how-to.

For a mow-it path…
Focusing on soil health is my number 1 priority and often case a path can be mown into a wild flower meadow or other beneficial cover crops. I personally love this idea.

How wide should the DIY garden path be? 1m – 1,2m is ideal. If you also have a frame to lean on or have garden tools that are wide, you can take their widths into consideration too.

Aim for the investment to be a one-time only output and try your best for a practical first, but definitely beautiful garden path as it will make such a difference to your garden. Do you have any good DIY garden path steps suggestions, advice or ideas? please share them with all of us in the comments below.

Plants that attract bees for regenerative gardening

Regenerative, thriving gardens include plants that attract bees and butterflies. Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash

The secret to growing a regenerative and ecologically-successful garden, is diversity in plantlife, inclusion of wildlife and plants that attract bees and other pollinators. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. Plant as many different varieties of as many different ornamentals, vegetables, fruits and grains as you possibly can. Cover the soil with a cover crop so that the soil can recover and return to health. Insects, birds and critters, animals and reptiles all play a role in either boosting growth or controlling pests. Copy nature… it is that simple.

A site that has dead soil and nothing going on, can literally be turned in a regenerative food heaven in 3 years and by year 7, if you encourage all animals and insects to play with, you will have a space that can look after itself.

To do this, you need to start with the soil and I have discussed in how to easily create soil health.
Create swales where you need them so that water can be directed where you need them.
Plant the biggest variety of plants available to you.
Encourage insect life and allow wildlife. Included below is a list of plants that will attract the most important pollinators.
Lastly, remember that all challenges are simply dealt with by shuffling details around. For example: if you have too many snails, consider getting ducks as they love hunting for snails all day long. Invite owls to keep rodent numbers in check as bigger birds also deter starlings and other fruit-loving birds that my become a problem. Dead soil and a lack of bees can simultaneously be fixed by planting a wildflower meadow as cover crop and also providing cover in the form of insect hotels for example. And always, ALWAYS stay organic.

Flowers and plants that attract bees and butterflies:
Bee balm
Butterfly bush
Globe thistle
Musk mallow
Nasturtium (Kappertjies)
Purple coneflower
Queen Anne’s lace
Sage (Salvia)
Shasta daisy
Plants that attract butterfly larvae:
Plants that attract bees:
Bee balm
Giant hyssop
Globe thistle
Paint brush
Wild rose
Trees, Shrubs and Fruit that attract butterflies and bees:
Wild lilac

Have you got any tips for attracting bees, moths or butterflies? Please share in the comment box.

Plants that are Companions thrive together

Smart, not hard

What you plant now, you will harvest later. Much like people, plants that are companions thrive together. Bad companionship will be inhibiting. Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

The benefits of the right matches made in the plant kingdom are endless if you are looking for a healthy pollination system and pest control. Plants that are companions thrive. The reasons are often incredibly simpleand our micro-managing pests and feeding is usually uunnecessary. Marigolds are everyone’s friend and favorite as a popular pest-control and pollinator-attractive cover crop

Below are easy-to-include suggestions for the general veggie grower. It is by no means conclusive, but a start-here list. Please comment your own tips below this piece for us to also learn through your experiences!

Asparagus – After harvested asparagus hills can be planted with tomatoes and/or parsley on both sides.

Beans – Beans (as all legumes) love being near a grain as they exchange nitrogen with carbon and both plants will thrive. Additionally, they make best friends with carrots, beets and cauliflowers cucumbers and cabbage. Keep away from gladiolas.

Beets – Beets love corn, onions and kohlrabi, beans and ornamental garlic or even lettuce and brassicas.

Cabbage – Cabbage, kohlrabi, spinach and broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale, collards and turnips love being neighbours – especially when planted near aromatic dill,chamomile, sage or celery, peppermint or rosemary. Avoid beans, strawberries and tomatoes.

Carrots – Carrots benefit from being planted near sage, wormwood and rosemary as they repel carrot fly and also loves being near onions and leeks.

Corn – Sweet corn thrives near peas and beans, potatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin, and squash. Cucumber, melons, squash and
pumpkin like the shade provided by corn and peas and beans can use the corn to climb into.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers can be grown near nasturtiums, corn and radishes, but not near aromatic herbs or potatoes.

Lettuce – Lettuce thrive near carrots and strawberries, cucumbers, radishes and lettuce.

Onion – Onions love all members of the cabbage family, beets and tomatoes, strawberries and chamomile. They do not get on with peas and beans.

Sweet Pepper – Sweet Pepper and basil are a good match.

Squash – Squash get on well with radishes and nasturtiums (a good idea is to plant them in each hill for pest control)

Tomato – Tomatoes love cabbage and chives, onion, parsley, marigold, nasturtium and carrot. Garlic planted between
tomato plants protects them from red spider mites and don’t want to be near potatoes and fennel.

Next I’m going to talk about pest control, the natural way.
Please add to our knowledge. My truth + yours = the actual truth. Comment below with your experiences and what you have learned so that we can gain from each other.

Flowering plants for shade that pollinators will love

Photo by Vincent van Zalinge on Unsplash

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have large, or sunny, gardens to grow theur own food in. And in order to have a successful vegetable garden, pollinators and bees are essential. To know if your garden gets enough sun to grow food in, you can simply put a solar-energy toy outside. If it runs, you have enough sun to grow most vegetables and the pollinator-attractive plants in-between. Kerp your sunny space for vegetables and your pollinator-friendly flowering plants for shade wherethere is not enough sun.

Bees, butterflies, moths and other pollinators will love your ornamental, but shady garden – and in turn they will work on your pollination sector for free. Please share your own shade-loving plant names and tips with us in the comment section below.

Below is a list of gorgeous flowering plants for shade:

Astilbes will handle shady spots with moist or wet, sandy, loam or clay soils. They have gorgeous colourful flower spikes and multiply by means of clump-formation.

Hydrangeas offer old-world charm and fantastic food and housing to our pollinators. Shrubs vibrates with life especially during their spring and summer flowering period. As long as they are never too long in deep shade, but as little as a bit of morning sun, you will find them low-maintenance and a pleasure.

Begonias are firmly on the favorite list. They add beauty and vibrancy to shady patios.Tubers can be replanted the following year if stored dry over winter.

Chaenomeles (flowering quince) are perfect plants for cold and shady conditions. They bare gorgeous flowers and scented yellow fruits.

Coleus foliage always energizes the space it grows in. The coleus varieties differ in colours, ranging from greens to purples, yellows, oranges and reds – plus textures can be velvet-soft, scalloped-edged or fringed.

‘Burning Hearts’ dicentra are easy to grow and charming with its deep red, heart-shaped flowers from spring to summer. This perennial will thrive in low-light beds.

Cornus florida is a dogwood variety that does not need sun and will tolerate semi- to full-shade. It carries gorgeous white spring flowers and reddish-purple autumn / fall foliage color.

Aristolochia macrophylla, or Dutchman’s Pipe, is famous for its unique purple flowers, dense foliage and fast spreading habit. A climber worth having in gardens that lack sun.

Hellebores are easy to grow evergreens (or just about) and often referred to as Lenten rose due to their spring flowers. They thrive in shade and struggles with sun.

Impatiens is a highly shade tolerant plant with many varieties to choose from, including Impatiens balsamina or Impatiens rosulata.

Lily of the valley is gorgeous… even in dark corners. They don’t need much maintenance and will spread happily by themselves while also providing your with gorgeous, albeit highly poisonous, white blooms.

Myrtle is a drought-tolerant, sun or shade shrub that is tough enough to make a great hedge. Pollinators love the white blossoms.

Pelargoniums are tough by nature and love to please. They have thrived in every type of soil and sun-quality garden and will flower almost on neglect. They have many varieties to choose from with bright reds, pinks and purples flower options.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories in the comment section below, so that we can all learn together!

Best Medicinal Plants list: something for everyone

“Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.” Erma Bombeck

Photo by federico passi on Unsplash

Below is my best medicinal plants list (and further down is an interesting video on medicinal little wild plants that volunteer to grow any and everywhere). Important: Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

-Aloe Vera
Uses: Treating skin irritations, burns, cuts or superficial infections. Juice helps for digestion. Parts used: Leaves.

Uses: Treatment of diabetes, asthma and stress, antiviral and antioxidant properties, and also used to repel insects. Parts used: Leaves.

Uses: Sedative for anxiety and relaxation, wound healing and to reduce inflammation or swelling. Parts used: Flowers. Important to note: It is possible for Chamomile to interfere with the interaction between your body and certain medicines. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

Uses: Excellent diuretic and liver tonic. Sometimes used to treat eczema, regulates blood sugar levels and arthritis. A little plant that punches strong on my best medicinal plants list. Parts used: all. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

Uses: Treating / preventing common colds, flu, and infections, and for wound healing. Parts used: Leaves, stalks, roots. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

Uses: Treating fevers and arthritis, and also possibly preventing migraines. Parts used: Leaf. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines. Feverfew can cause mouth ulcers and digestive irritation and should never be used alongside non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines and definitely not with Warfarin or other anticoagulant medicines.

Uses: Lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, has antimicrobial effects, possibly reducing total and LDL cholesterol levels and possibly cancer preventing. Parts used: Cloves and root. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines. Garlic should be avoided with Warfarin users, because large amounts of garlic may affect clotting. Because of it’s blood thinning qualities, it should also be avoided before surgeries.

Uses: Anti-inflammatory and digestive aid, easing nausea and motion sickness. Parts used: Root. How? in dishes, teas and tinctures. Highlight this one on the best medicinal plants list!

Uses: Extract from the Ginkgo leaf is used to treat memory loss and prevention of dementia, asthma and bronchitis, fatigue and tinnitus. Parts used: only leaf extracts. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines and especially Ginkgo

-Golden seal
Uses: To treat diarrhea, as an antiseptic and treatment for colds, and to treat eye and skin irritations.
Parts used: Root, rhizome. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

Uses: Lavender has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties can help with treatment of anxiety and insomnia, migraine and depression.

-Milk thistle
Uses: Treating liver conditions and high cholesterol, and also to reduce cancer cell growth. Parts used: leaves and fruit. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal medicines.

Uses: Treating headaches and skin irritations, nausea or diarrhea, pain or bloating, digestion or chest congestion. Parts used: Leaves and stems

Uses: Treatment in slowing down Alzheimer’s disease, as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal treatments. Parts used: Leaves and stalks.

Uses: As an astringent, a diuretic and an expectorant treatment and to reduce fevers and cold symptoms It has excellent toxic substance removal properties (which is why the Russian Government used it as a floor cleaner at the Chernobyl Power Plant after the nuclear disaster). Parts used: Leaves

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories in the comment section below, so that we can all learn together!

Easiest vegetables to grow for beginners.

What’s growing on gardeners? Do you have a tight budget and limited time with perhaps not the biggest garden space, but want to grow your own food?
Let’s look at the easiest vegetables to grow:

Below are 6 plants that will be happy wherever, whenever and however. These will save you time, money and space because all their plant parts can be eaten – or at least most of it.

1. Beetroot has to be at the top of my favourites list. They are super easy to grow from seed, can flourish in even mostly shady corners and the leaves are deliciously sweet. Leaves can be harvested off the plant during the entire growing season but always make sure to leave enough of a crown for the plant to carry on thriving. Consider leaving a few bulbs behind to simply grow for the leaves. Alternatively, plant a shop-bought bulb in a pot for the kitchen and reap the benefits of always having fresh salad leaves.

2. Peas comes in at a close second. I would not suggest eating the roots, but everything else on the pea plant is edible and this beauty can be planted in mostly any area, despite sun, wind or neglect. One good trick is to plant it with grasses or grains. Peas and grasses barter nitrogen and carbon – helping both thrive. Peas are incredibly valuable as they fix atmospheric nitrogen and making that available to to host plants. Which is the reason they make an excellent cover crop. When the plant dies back, simply chop off the stalk and you have successfully fed your soil with nitrogen. It’s that easy.

3. Green beans offer much the same benefits as peas because they both belong to the nitrogen-fixing legume family. They are productive plants that does not ask for much and offer a long list to choose varieties from. Broad beans are one of the easiest of the beans, with bush beans winning on productivity. Germination is super easy and neglect is almost what they thrive on. They will need vertical support and growing them next to garden shrubs is a free and easy way of providing it.

4. Sweet potatoes are of the easiest vegetables to grow.  Plant one anywhere, forget about it and you will never look back. Interestingly enough, the sweet potato’s leaves are it’s most nutritious plant part so you really have a winner on your hands with this one. Keep in mind they can and will take over if you let it, making them ideal candidates for large containers.

5. Radishes are always mentioned on beginner gardener lists. Because they’re that easy to grow. Every part of it belongs on a sandwich and it grows from seedling to mature in no time at all. Sun, shade, sandy or clay – it does not ask questions but simply grows.

6. Summer Squash leaves are edible, highly nutritious and the younger foliage is delicious too. This is a high-yielding plant, so you will probably only need a few to feed a family of 4. Provide wind-protection and watch them go. The usual favourites are Green Bush, Gold Rush and Sure Thing varieties.

Some say: When you grow your own food, you increase your income. This is only true if your vegetable grow easy and successfully. There is little point to trying to grown spinach out in the Canadian winter snow, unless it is in a greenhouse. Selecting the easiest vegetables to grow is often wisest because you can elliminate buying thise items altogether.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

Easiest lawn removal steps – no effort

Grow more food, less lawn. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Do you have a wish to replace your lawn but don’t know where to start? Lawns, like all other mono (single-type) crops are devoid of natural balanceand many people opt for natural, pollinator-friendly or edible gardens. We show you the easiest lawn removal steps – no effort.


You will not find a thriving environment hidden in lawns but with the easiest lawn removal steps, you can turn it into rich, nutrient-dense soil that will be heaven to grow your plants in. 

Our previous generations loved controlling nature and lawns were popular methods. These pieces of visual control, would be sprayed with poison to kill and fed with artificial fertilizer to ensure only grass grows. Add non-stop irrigation and maintenance to the equation and you’ve lost me on why anyone still carries on with this antiquated idea of what makes a garden.

The idea of having to dig out a lawn and sweat many days to remove every last root is the most common complaint we hear. The solution includes the easiest lawn removal steps, plus it turns your lawn into beautiful soil food.

-Does the area get enough sun energy to grow anything in it? A simple method to test the sun strength is through a solar-powered toy. If it operates in the area you have in mind, you’re good to go.

-Also keep in mind that food gardens are more successful when closer to the home. Out of sight, out of mind has never been more true than for kitchen gardens.

– How about wind or winters? Ensure a favorable microclimate in an area that provides shelter. Study wind directions and see where you can benefit from a wall for instance. The south side of your house will be a good consideration for cold climate gardens.

– Have your considered your annual rainfall and irrigation requirements? You can grow kitchen gardens and orchards even in desert gardens by including swales. Read more here….

O.K, now that you’ve considered the above, follow these 5 easy steps!

1) Mark out the bed shapes you wish to have and place cardboard sheets down inside these shapes. The cardboard should be placed on top of the lawn and overlapping each other.

2) Build a simple wooden frame to place on top of the cardboard. A height of at least 15 cm will do.

3) Fill the raised bed frames with a thick layer of green mulch (food scraps, manure or leaves), followed by the same amount of brown mulch (compost or wood chips for example), sheets of news paper and wet so that it is only just moist.

4) Repeat the above layers to the top and moisten again.

5) Moisten only when dry. These beds will be ready to use after 2 months.

Are you wondering what happened to the lawn at the bottom? It became soil food and you will be amazed at how rich and fertile these beds will be to grow in.

Charles Dowding inspires like nobody else.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

Plants for Regenerative Gardens and growing

Plants for Regenerative Gardens is all about Plant regeneration – definition: Plant regeneration refers to the physiological renewal, repair, or replacement of tissue in plants.

On the list of gardeners and plants for regenerative gardens are examples of magic, and believers in magic. To see a small dice-size sweet potato sprout turn into a crop that never runs out… that is magic!  “Eventually, my eyes were opened, and I really understood nature. I learned to love at the same time.” – Claude Monet 

How magic are these TOP 10 plants for regenerative gardens. They literally re-grow themselves. Two for the price and effort of one!

  • Romain lettuce and Bok Choy will regrow when you add the stump to a glass and fill with water to the shallow depth of about 1cm. Refresh with new water daily and watch how it’s growing on. It’s that easy.
  • A sweet potato can be kept in a plastic back at the back of a cupboard to allow for side shoots to form. Cut a little chunk off the tuber, around from where the vine grows from. Plant these slips in the soil and watch it all unfold. You will wonder why you have ever bought sweet potatoes.
  • Spring onions are at the top of the easiest list. Pack the little bulb ends in a glass together, so that they fit snug enough not to fall over. Fill the glass with 1cm of water and make sure you replace this water with fresh water every day. Expect new plants within a week.
  • Sprouting garlic bulbs will provide you with greens for your salads and sandwiches that are packed with flavor. They have furthermore amazing anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Additionally, one cup of chopped greens can give you a whopping third of your daily Vitamin C needs. So we can see that immune systems will be boosted and so will your dish. Place the cloves in a class, packed (like spring onions) together firmly. Fill the bottom centimeter with water and refresh daily.
  • Ever considered growing carrots for their greens? Place discarded carrot tops in a dish with you their stumps just covered with water. Replace and refresh water as needed. Carrot leaves are not only edible but will give you at least 5 times more vitamin C than the root, while also rich in other vitamins, minerals and protein, calcium and potassium.
  • Celery and lemon grass can both plants for regenerative gardens and can easily
    be grown from their bottom stumps by the same method of standing in shallow water.
  • Love onions and like the idea of never having to buy them again? The bottoms that are usually thrown away can be planted in well-draining good soil and covered with a 2cm layer of soil. Make sure to first dry this piece for a day or 2. Within a week or 2, leaves will poke above the soil. Remove from the soil at this time together with shriveled skins. Take a sharp knife and cut the bottom into sizable pieces, each with their own roots. Replant in good soil and cut back the top two thirds of the leaves as this will help bulb formation.
  • Pineapples are fantastic plants for regenerative gardens and heads should be re-planted! Remove the bottom leaves so that a slender crown is left. Plant the bottom in soil, firm down around the crown and forget about it. The new pineapple plant needs patience and will only grow a new fruit in about 2 years. Pineapple plants are great for those areas in the garden that little else works for.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!

Closed loop system garden is pure logic

Nature recycles organic matter and nutrients back into the same soil and thus boosts sustainable and regenerative environments.

Keep it all in the family with a closed loop system garden. Providing food and habitat for insects create a barter system in which they offer pollination and pest control part of the deal.

When you look at an untouched environment, you will see closed loop system garden, or environment systems, in action. Nature recycles organic matter and nutrients back into the same soil and thus boosts sustainable and regenerative environments. When farming or gardening, this method is gold as you preserve nutrients and carbon levels within the soil.

In closed loop system gardens, the following will be included:

  • Chop and drop de-weeding practices return the nutrients to your soil that the weeds took. By leaving the weeds on the soil surface, you are also adding a protective mulch layer and thus protecting the soil from UV rays plus improving water retention.
  • Always keep and use pruned materials such as twigs and branches for other uses. Bigger material like branches can be stacked to create raised beds in a Hugelkultur method. Twigs can be placed in a basket-shape around seedlings to provide much needed wind and sun protection.
  • Fallen leaves can be raked up and used as a wonderful mulch in vegetable gardens, flower beds and around bigger plants as they (when brown) are high in carbon. Or instead of raking, use a lawn mower with a bagging attachment to shred and collect leaves fast. A 6cm layer of shredded leaves is perfect to discourage future weed-growth but make sure the soil that is already weeded though!
  • Grass clippings can occasionally be used as mulch too, as they are nitrogen-rich, an especially great choice for vegetable gardens.
  • Look at your space and how water acts when it rains and consider planting alongside swales as they are wonderful water-directing and retaining solutions. Swayles are a fantastic and important step intothe world of closedloop systems garden. Material from your garden can be used to fill the swales, such as rocks removed from your soil, prune clippings and rotten wood.
  • Build habitats from unwanted garden material by leaving heaps of twigs, for example, against a tree trunk. This will provide much-needed protection for certain wildlife while also helping the soil retain water. Stacking rocks and twigs together to form a beneficial insect hotel is another great idea.
  • If your garden is also your own food source, all kitchen waste can be buried in shallow trenches. Incorporate paper and some. compost or comfrey leaves to activate decomposition. This method ensures constant soil food, free of charge.
  • Chickens are often in the closed loop system garden as they will turn your unwanted green matter into manure which will in turn be the best addition for your compost heap. They are also excellent pest-control and will reward you with the best eggs
  • Aquaponics = fish and plants. This method is incredibly successful and edibles grown this way are typically nutrient dense.
In a closed loopsystem garden, a you smile, I smile attitude wins – where everyone wins. Insect hotels provide habitats to creatures whose greatest challenges include where to stay. On our side, they offer free labor. A win-win situation.

In short, a closed loop system garden are also called “zero-waste farming. Look at everything and the space around you and ask yourself what you can do if you were not going to spend a penny. You will be surprised at all the solutions waiting to be used around you.

Swales are easy methods to harvest and retain water. Gardens that include this water-savvy method, just about need no additional irrigation.

Please send us your pictures, challenges and success stories so that we can all learn together!