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GARDENING : How to Build a Garden That Grows Forever



Author's page : http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/lawn-garden/how-to/a25048/how-to-build-a-garden-that-grows-forever/
How to Build a Garden That Grows Forever
Feb 3, 2017

It keeps growing and growing and growing...

Connor Stedman, an agroforestry specialist and ecologist at garden design firm AppleSeed Permaculture, uses a farming practice called permaculture that exploits natural relationships between plants to create a long-lasting garden that will grow without fertilizer. Here's how to do it at home.


Place trees on the northern side of your garden, then try to arrange the rest of the plants in a descending order from north to south. This ensures that no tall plants are blocking the sun from shorter crops. → Try planting pear (rose family), cornelian cherry (dogwood family), and pawpaw (custard apple family) trees together. All three produce edible fruit, but won't spread disease to each other.


Directly underneath the trees, create a functional support system. Wild senna adds nitrogen to the soil and attracts beneficial insects, comfrey brings up nutrients from deep soil and is medicinal for burns, and anise hyssop can be used for tea.


Try highbush blueberries, gooseberries, and Nanking cherry.

Between-bush plants

In between the bushes, plant asparagus, which grows when the berries aren't ripe, and yarrow, which is medicinal for colds.

Three Sisters

Plant corn on the eastern and western edges of the garden, where it won't block the sun from other vegetables. Then plant pole beans and squash in the same bed, as American Indians did. The crops, known as the three sisters, are complementary.


Rule-of-thumb plants to keep together and apart: vegetables in the cabbage family (cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts) like leafy greens and beets, but won't do well with strawberries. Peas don't get along with garlic. Corn, tomatoes, and potatoes shouldn't be planted together because they don't make sense geometrically. Try to rotate your vegetables each year.

This story appears in the February 2017 issue of Popular Mechanics.


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