The other day my neighbour was trying to ask in as polite a way as possible why my garden (and those of other organic and permaculture gardeners) is on the messy side. Knowing how much I love the garden he probably found it genuinely puzzling. I have been messy in the garden for so long and with such happy results that for my part I was surprised to be asked.
My messiness consists of allowing leaf litter to accumulate, using mulches, leaving piles of twigs and small branches to decompose on the ground, allowing “weeds” to grow and generally not having a formal structure to the perennial beds. Mulches are probably the most untidy aspect as they often comprise material that has only just been cut / pulled rather than fully composted material (as per my post on 23 July 2011). There are two main reasons for the messiness:
- It reduces workload. This is not to say that I am lazy, rather that I want to find out how I can get the most out of the garden for the least input of time and effort. Reducing work is also likely to be useful to people who have limited time or physical capacity for work.
- By generally leaving things in situ rather than clearing up and putting them in the compost bin or council green waste bin I am missing out a stage of work. It also creates an environment akin to that occuring in nature, providing places for different types of organism to decompose dead or dying organic matter and recycle it back into life giving nutrients.
I therefore am not apologetic about the messy tendency! Below is a picture taken today of mulch I put round some oca and a kale in July and another taken on 22 July. There has been a lot of growth in between.