Informative horticultural discursions & arguments with practical advice
I've heard it said that many Japanese try to eat thirty different foods a day and one hundred and fifty a week. The Chinese approach to food as medicine similarly emphasises a wide range of foods to ensure adequate nutrition. Our Elizabethan ancestors were said to eat nearly three hundred and fifty different plants though we are taught solely about nobles eating sides of beef. All over the world 'primitive' people once stayed alive by eating an amazingly wide range of different foods so by comparison our modern diet is rather restricted.
I contributed an article to Kitchen Garden, in 2009, on how we gardeners should be able to cope with most weather problems brought about by climate change. Mostly because we did so already! Though to be fair the probable increasing randomness and severity of the future’s weather will test us. The whole point however was that we already have tried and tested methods for dealing with unfavourable conditions. We know what we can do to mitigate late frosts, drought, flood, high winds and so on.
If you believe the weathermen we are experiencing more erratic and extreme weather conditions than gardeners of a century or more ago. Although reading old records one realizes they did not exactly have an easy time of it. Back then their weather if harsh was apparently more predictable. Winters were colder, indeed frighteningly so, but the seasons were obvious with their changes allegedly more marked than now. Their summers were apparently sunnier even if on average they were not as warm as we now experience.
At this time of the year our memories are still fresh and we can recall how our harvesting went over the last few months, our successes and failures and so on. If we are sensible we note which crops did us well, which varieties performed above average and which below. Over the years we select and choose those ones that fit our needs most closely. Hopefully we don’t waste our efforts growing crops we never use and even more hopefully we don’t run out of favourites too soon.
In part 1 I postulated that with the thousands of different plants that grow in our gardens it seemed unlikely that none had some effect on another. That it was only scientific to investigate how such interactions could take place, and how plants might do so above ground.
Fifteen years before this I had just finished writing my first book on Companion Planting. Back then even 'Organic' was widely misunderstood and not considered scientific by some. So I could almost understand the hostility of the supposedly 'science based' gardeners to such another piece of 'muck and magic'. Of course even back then I found it strange to say the least that allegedly scientific people would dismiss companion planting effects out of hand.