We are still at the very early stages in our education about vegetable growing and frankly, the more we do, the more questions we seem to have. Should we be strictly organic? How can we plan for succession crops? Are we being over or under ambitious with our plans? Will we be able to handle all our crops when they start fruiting?
One question I find I am asking quite a bit is should we be more organic? The truth is that we are somewhat overwhelmed with everything we are learning right now so trying to find organic alternatives seems time consuming. But are we just being lazy? Yesterday we went to buy some tomato food and realised we only had one option (in the particular shop we went to). We had to take either the non-organic one on the shelf or take none. So we took the one there in front of us. Honestly, if there was an organic one I would have probably chosen it, but there wasn’t.
The thing is, organic or not, I am more concerned about the finite cycle of vegetable growing. Gardeners with allotments or a lot of space can practice crop rotation to make the most of their soil. So far we have used some commercial general compost and at the end of the season we might end up with a lot of spent soil that is no use next year. This seems illogical. It is not really a question of money, although the monetary issue is not to be sneezed at. I just don’t understand how it can be efficient. Again, people with a lot of space can probably put some aside for compost so maybe they won’t need to buy compost next season. I don’t think we will be able to get much of a compost pot going in our small space (we’ll see though, never say never).
Of course we are currently in the early stages of our garden so pretty much everything we need has to be brought in; pots, seeds, soil, fertilizers etc. However, in the next few years I hope we can eventually start to collect some of our own seeds, make our own fertile soil and plant food and hopefully use mostly recycled rubbish for our growing containers.
The real question I want to ask is can we use permaculture techniques to enhance our small space growing? Honestly, I have no idea. I know very little about permaculture. I would love if anybody has some tips on books or websites we could use as resources to leave us comments. This is something I intend to research as much as possible because if this operation is going to be sustainable I believe we need to think bigger than organic or non-organic. We should start thinking about improving our soil each year and adding something back to nature instead of always taking from it.