|2006 - a long forgotten orchard|
Since we first started growing vegetables at La Pasera we have always made notes on what was grown where and when. As the beds have developed, we have kept small diagrams of them with brief notes indicating crops. Salad crops and spare seedlings are often put in empty spaces in-between the main crops.
I suspect that as we don't grow mono-crops, crop rotation makes very little difference but we do it anyway. Unfortunately we don't produce enough home-made compost to replenish the beds on a yearly basis nor do we have a great supply of manure but the compost, manure, leaf mould, ash, and green manure that we do have access to seem to keep the beds in good condition and healthy.
We try and remain organic in our approach to food production and will only use natural pest controls and organic products on the garden. Where possible we make our own including nettles or comfrey as a natural fertiliser, garlic and soap spray, rhubarb leaf and horsetail concoctions for insecticides and fungicides.
It's all a question of balance at the end of the day. Our methods try and encourage natural cycles, attempt to promote the natural food chain and do as little harm as possible in doing so. A healthy garden is one that works with nature not against it. We encourage the birds and we have created a range of habitats for insects, amphibians and small mammals. The pond, fedge, wild areas, woodpiles and bog garden all contribute to the control of pests to maintain and nurture a natural balance.
|The fedge and wild grasses and flowers|
We are lucky with the climate here in Asturias as it is mild enough on the coast to grow throughout the year. The recent addition of sandy topsoil and making raised beds has been a real help in producing all-year-round crops as we are no longer struggling with clumpy clay which inhibited winter crops.
This year we are expanding our companion planting as last year's efforts seemed to pay off. We will plant nasturtiums amongst the beans to attract the black fly, carrots amongst the leeks and onions and marigolds for general help. We might try some borage but I doubt if we'll manage to source it here.
Do you have any tips on companion planting? What grows well with what? Get in touch or send us a link, we welcome tips and experience.