Good Gardening Week 6: How Do You Handle Chaos in Your Garden?

Welcome back to Good Gardening! In our Week 5 discussion, we wanted to know how our Good Gardeners manage a drought, seeing as most of the world is in one. We took the conversation to social media and shared anecdotes.

Lucy Becker shared the Al-Baydh project in Saudi Arabia where permaculturalists are restoring dead streams to life by bringing soil back to desertified hills. If you’re interested in permaculture, this mini-doc a great example of its power.

BIG NEWS We had another avid gardener—a professionally-certified permaculturalist, decide to become a regular contributor to our discussion group! Monica Richards is located in hot and dry Arizona, and she gave her expert advice about hot weather gardening.

“We went through a wildfire, the Bobcat Fire, and our entire property burned, right up to our house – though the house was saved. But much of my garden burned and I had to start over in places. This has been a fascinating experience as I saw what came back, and how to rebuild, using the ash in the soil, as well as making use of the burned branches and trunks of burned trees.”

Her answer as to how to conserve water in a drought is as follows: “Water conservation, shade and wind systems, mulching around plants and trees, plus understanding the microclimates around our property and how to add to them. We have a greywater system, and much of our gardens and trees are watered through that. We also catch rainwater and continue to work toward finding ways to create shade.

I had a chat with a friend in the UK about building quick shade systems over her plants, you can do this by crisscrossing branches over the beds, tying old cloths overhead with stakes or creating a teepee system.”

Monica Richard’s permaculture-influenced garden shade system.

Our friends from The Sharing Gardens wrote in from their home in Oregon: “Here in USA (Zone 7B), where we live and garden, we experienced excessive rain in the winter and spring of 2022. It was so bad that it killed off almost all the bumblebees in our area (which are ground-nesters) and are necessary for pollinating several of our annual plants. But then, since July, we’ve had basically no rain. The way we deal with these extremes in moisture is to mulch heavily,” they wrote about how they use primarily grass-clippings and leaves.”

Ismail, a Sharing Gardens volunteer, gathers grass clippings.Hayden, another volunteer, puts the grass clippings on the greenhouse paths to create additional compost.

“The forest floor is a lake,” — Sepp Holzer.

Question 1: How much natural chaos do you tolerate in your garden? Do you allow grasses and flowering weeds to grow?

Question 2: How much de-weeding do you do in an average season? Got any tips on how to keep them down?

Question 3: Got any tips for keeping a garden in order? Raised beds? Rock patches?

Tell Us Here in The Comments… or, send your questions, tips, and photos to [email protected] Join our Facebook Good Gardens thread every Friday on the GNN Facebook Page

Good gardening rules

Green thumbs can help novice greenhorns.
Share your gardening photos and resources.
Garden jargon encouraged!

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