Using Nitrogen-Fixing Plants to Restore Abused Garden Soil

By now it's fairly well documented that I am a committed Lazivore. I like home-grown food, but the act of eating it has more appeal to me than laboring to grow it. That's why I am putting my garden to rest for a year, and planning to return with a much smaller, intensively planted plot. It's also why I am doing a lot of reading onlow-work gardening methods. Which brings me to this interesting "experiment" in remediating heavily abused garden soil by Simon Watkins at Permaculture Magazine. What started out as a comparison between applying a sheet-mulch compost and growing nitrogen-fixing green manures quickly morphed into a parable about the importance of flexibility. Watkins had intended to plant one half of his newly uncovered garden with alfalfa, the other with a sheet mulch, and then wait till next year to compare crop growth. But he forgot about the compost, got excited about planting some crops, and seems very happy with the result:

Of course, without the other, non-alfalfa side of the garden (which I still haven't got round to clearing of gravel) to compare growth rates with, I've no way of knowing whether the alfalfa has helped any of these other plants. But then weekends are for changing your mind - in the end it's all about growing food, and in spite of the shady aspect of the garden, the tomatoes are looking pretty robust this year.

Tags: Agriculture | Composting | Permaculture | United Kingdom