I am really proud of our home ‘garden’. Well, we first moved in, it was a garden. Grass. Ornamental plants. Some flowers. However, slow and steady, over the last five years we’ve been conscious cultivating its diversity.
If that sounds like hard work– well, it hasn’t been! Living in a semi-rural area, we’ve scavenged indigenous plants that we know are edible from the road side, local forests and fields. It’s a methodology called analogue forestry– i.e. building up an ecosystem that is the analogue of indedgenous forest ecosystems.
Basically… what grows naturally!
Consequently, our forest garden needs next to no care. Well, sometimes we have to stop our landlord from trying to clean it up! However, slow and steady, it has matured and thrived. As it has done so, its diversity has cascaded on its own. By holding the intention of supporting diversity (as opposed to holding it down to a set of ornamental species), the number of species in our garden has cascaded. More and more lizards and bug and butterflies, birds, bats and plants and animals have joined the party.
They love space, and they love us back!
The forest is so bountiful that Ani have what we call ‘fruit rain’. Fruits fall faster than we can consumed them. While writing this another passion fruit has fallen out of the jackfruit tree. Meanwhile, the almost orange star fruit, yellow coconuts and red chilies glisten through the foilage. I love greens– and consequently 60% of the ground cover is eligible for my morning smoothly.
We estimate that our garden provides about 30% of our food. Another 30% coming from our neighborhood.
One of the very first things we did was to setup a compost. The next, was to start dig up the grass and plant native sweat potatoes. And after that… well not so much. Slow and steady we’ve lazily let indegenous food plants take over the grass and ornamentals. Yes, a little work was required to dig things up and put things in, but by and large, we’ve let it go on its own. That’s the beauty of not trying to compel non-native plants to grow. You don’t have to do much at all!
Somehow our neighbours passion fruit made it over to our yard. We let it go, and it climbed up the pre-existing jackfruit. It has taken over the canopy and so, not only do we get a seasonal burst of massive jack fruits, we get a constant rain of passion fruit. Meanwhile, by guiding the growth of edible greens, that has taken over the grass and we have a vast and diverse supply of greens for our smoothies.