Update 8-1-13: I’m also looking into hydroponic organic gardening, but the method below is also a very efficient way of organic gardening.
Update 4-11-13: With the proliferation of highly dangerous GMO food dominating our food supply, there is an even more urgent need to grow our own organic food from NON-GMO SEEDS. Click here for a list of NON-GMO SEED COMPANIES.
I’m going to start my own garden this year….tired of paying high prices for organic food! Jonathan White has developed an excellent method to create your own lush organic gardens that will produce all the food we need and more. He has developed a method for organic gardening without needing any land for the gardening, with step-by-step instructions on creating these organic gardens for an abundance of fresh, organic vegetables. I’m going to try it this Spring! I believe Mother Earth/Gaia has given us everything we need to survive, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes that are rich in phytonutrients. I’m tired of being poisoned by the chemicals used in our fruits and vegetables and no longer want to pay high prices for organic food at the grocery store. Jonathan has excellent advice if you are new to organic gardening. I’m excited to try this in the Spring. I did see a harbinger of Spring today…A beautiful Blue Jay perched outside on my wisteria and sang a song of spring as it bathed in the sun.
The post below is part instructional editorial, part advertisement for Jonathan’s Food4Wealth instructional ebook and videos. I will be testing his methods this Spring and will report back to you all then!
Ecological Gardening: Sustainable Food Production at Home, for a Healthier Earth and Happier and Wealthier People
By Jonathan White, author of Food4Wealth
For more information on growing your own food with Food4Wealth, Click Here.
When we think of organic gardening and permaculture we tend to conjure up images of leathery-skinned bearded warriors who dedicate their lives to working long days in their vegetable plots. Whilst this may be a wonderful way to live your life, it doesn’t suit the average suburbanite with a full-time job and a hefty mortgage.
Growing food is typically seen as either an art form or damned hard work. It’s no wonder very few people do it on a serious level. But what if a technique came along that was so easy and so prolific that even the busiest corporate executive could grow a significant portion of their family’s food in less time than it takes to drive to the shops. Ecological gardening just might be the answer. In my experience, it’s the ultimate modern-day convenience veggie plot.
I didn’t have a light bulb moment that said, “Ah, so this is ecological gardening”. My vegetable garden was no different to anybody else’s for many years until I made a few changes. The first and probably most significant was squeezing far more plants into a given area. The second change was to never dig the soil. And thirdly, I upgraded my composting system. Once these simple strategies were in place I noticed the garden taking on a life of its own. Weeds virtually stopped growing in the beds and plants started living much longer. The garden could endure longer periods without water, I was yielding far more than I ever had and I could harvest every day of the year. I wanted to know what was happening at a scientific level and applied my university training as an environmental scientist to understand why I was getting such amazing results. I had to completely let go of all my preconceived ideas as a gardener and look at the plot through the eyes of an ecologist. After some time I realized that I had created an ecosystem made up of edible plants, and it behaved in exactly the same way as a natural habitat. I became more of an observer than a gardener and the role of head gardener was pulled from under my feet as nature took up the reins.
Employ Nature, she works for free
The wonderful thing about nature is that she works tirelessly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Nature follows very simple laws and works in the same way, on any system, anywhere in the world. When we create an ecological garden we are creating a living, breathing ecosystem. By doing this we get nature working for us, and not against us, and her great stamina works in our favour.
Niche Spaces and why they are important
A pristine ecosystem is made up of thousands of living and non-living components all coexisting in a given area. Each living component occupies its own niche space and the role of the niche space is very important to understand when creating an ecological garden. Let’s look at an example. Imagine a giant rainforest tree crashing to the ground after standing tall for hundreds of years. Such a large tree would have filled an enormous niche space. Lying in the soil, hundreds of dormant seeds spring to life, desperately fighting for their opportunity to occupy the best real estate in the forest: the empty niche space. The niche space is quickly filled and harmony is restored.
When we look at a traditional vegetable garden with this type of insight, what we see is a very unnatural system. There is very little diversity and a lot of empty niche spaces. Nature enforces her will on vegetable gardens in exactly the same way she does a rainforest, and this means that empty niches spaces will be filled as quickly as possible. However, in a traditional vegetable garden there are no desirable seeds waiting to fill the niches spaces, so weeds fill them instead.
The solution is to create a garden that has tightly filled niche spaces so that weeds don’t have any opportunities. We can do this by planting the garden very tightly with a diverse range of plants of differing shapes and characteristics. The result is a dense jungle-like planting arrangement that can yield an unbelievable amount. The denseness also creates a highly protected micro-climate. This ideal growing environment causes your plants to last much longer. Greens don’t bolt to seed as soon as a hot spell hits and cold sensitive plants are more protected as well.
How to manage an ecological garden
Managing an ecological garden is different to managing a traditional vegetable garden. With an ecological garden, there is far less to do. As you become the observer and allow nature to take over as head gardener, you will notice that the garden is in a continual state of gentle change, just like a natural ecosystem. It can be difficult for the traditional gardener to stand back and observe as we, human beings, like to control things. This style of gardening calls for a great deal of faith in natural laws. Sure, there will be times when you need to step in and direct the system in a certain way; however that is almost always because a certain plant species is getting too successful and the system is at risk of loosing diversity.
Natural Pest Management
The dense mixed-up nature of the ecological garden creates a natural form of pest management. Pests generally locate their target plant species using sight or smell. Imagine how much more difficult it is to see your target plant when its outline is blurred by a sea of green. And how on earth could you smell your target plant when there are so many conflicting smells.
No More Need to Rotate Crops
Crop rotation is practiced by dedicated gardeners for a very good reason. Different plants require different minerals from the soil, in different proportions. After an area has been planted with a certain species, the soil can be left depleted of certain minerals. To lessen the effects of this depletion a different crop will be planted in the area the following year. In addition, many gardeners rest their garden beds periodically and grow a green manure crop, usually a legume such as Lucerne or field peas. These plants add nitrogen from the atmosphere through a process called nitrogen-fixing. However, crop rotation simply isn’t necessary with ecological gardening because the mixed-up planting arrangement counteracts the effects of mineral depletion because a single species doesn’t dominate a single area. Likewise, green manure crops are not necessary as nitrogen is topped up in two ways. Firstly, through planting edible legumes such as peas and beans within the jungle-like mass. And secondly, by the addition of compost to the surface of any bare areas.
Compost is an important part of the ecological garden and is a very valuable commodity. To me, composting is a way of building valuable nutrients that will, one day, feed me and my family. The average person buys food from a shop, consumes it and then sends the waste away. This is simply buying nutrients, taking what you need for that precise moment, and disregarding the remainder. It’s a nutrient flow that only flows in one direction, like a fancy car roaring down the road. You admire the car for a moment, but after a second or two, it’s gone.
My goal is to slow down the car and then get it to do a U-turn. I want to keep the nutrients within my property where I can capitalise on them. By doing this, I am able to use the nutrients again, so I don’t have to buy them for a second time. In effect, I am creating a system that is self-sustainable. Composting is a vehicle in which we are able to create a nutrient cycle within our property. We are part of that cycle because we consume the nutrients when they are, for a brief time, in a useful form. Then they return to the compost and slowly make their way into another useful form where we consume them again. This cycle can go on and on indefinitely.
Throw away the hoe
Natural ecosystems don’t require gardeners with shovels and hoes to come along every season to turn their soil, and neither does an ecological garden. However, it is best not to walk on the garden beds as this will cause unnecessary compaction. Of course, this requires the installation of permanent pathways that are positioned in a way that the gardener can obtain access to the plot.
Digging soil upsets the soil structure which, in turn, reduces the soil’s ability to pass on valuable nutrients to plants. The loss of soil structure also reduces the soil’s ability to hold water. Developing good soil structure is actually the best water conserving technique I know, and when practiced in conjunction with a dense planting arrangement creates a holistic soil ecology management plan. A dense planting arrangement will shade the soils surface, stopping surface crusting which causes runoff and nutrient depletion. Developing good deeper structure will allow soil organisms to do what they do best – turn organic matter into available plant nutrients.
If you are lucky enough to visit a pristine rainforest you will probably be awestruck by the towering canopy. However, the future of the rainforest lies in the soil in the form of seeds – tiny cells of life waiting for their opportunity to prosper. If we are going to create an ecological garden then we have to make sure it too, has a future. By allowing some plants to go to seed, we can build up seed stores, just like the rainforest. And like the rainforest, we should aim to have thousands of seeds of many varieties spread right across our plot. Most of these seeds will never germinate because in the ecological garden the niche spaces are so tightly filled that opportunities for new life are limited. However, eventually a plant will be eaten and an empty niche space will appear. If we have thousands of seeds lying dormant, the chances of the niche space being filled with something desirable are pretty good
Who should set up an ecological garden?
Absolutely everyone from farmers to inner-city townhouse dwellers. It may seem strange, but if you have never grown food before then you are, in some ways, at an advantage. Experienced gardeners may like to see themselves as adopting some ecological gardening techniques, but find it difficult to let go of the need to control the system. Like all industries, the gardening industry can get stuck in doing things a certain way and most seasoned gardeners will inevitably over-work the garden. As a species, human beings prospered when we learnt to cultivate food using tilling and other traditional agricultural methods, so it’s difficult to turn back to where we came from – nature. It might even feel like a step in the wrong direction. But if we can let go of our need to control every living thing on the planet, and start to work with nature, we actually gain more control by being able to grow food more efficiently than ever before. It’s a paradox – but it works!
Setting up an ecological garden
Any existing vegetable garden can be converted into an ecological garden. Firstly, get your pathways laid out so that you never have to walk on your garden beds again. After that, get a good composting system going and apply it to the soil surface. Then plant densely and diversely.
If you don’t have a vegetable garden, my suggestion would be to create a classic Esther Deans ‘no dig’ garden to get you started. Once erected, simply follow the ecological gardening method.
If you live in a unit or townhouse with no soft ground you could create a mini-ecological garden using a series of containers. Polystyrafoam boxes with drainage holes are ideal. Fill them with good potting mixture and arrange them side by side using as many as you can fit onto your verandah or patio. Rather than developing a large composting system, you could purchase a worm farm and add the worm casts to the soil surface as fertilizer. Once the boxes are set up, simply adopt the ecological gardening method.
The Ecological Gardening Method – the key principles.
- Plant densely
- Plant a diversity of plants within a given area
- Get a good composting system set up and use the compost as a surface mulch on bare patches
- Allow some plants to go to seed
- Only interfere with the system when a single species of plant over-dominates and simply scratch out excess plants when they are small.
Growing food is not hard work, especially when you have nature helping you 24/7. A small area can provide you with such a bounty of food, saving your family thousands of dollars per year. Most of us don’t have much time to spend in the garden, including me. I only invest around eight hours of time per year to growing my food, and although I live on a small farm I only use a space of around 6 x 6m. That’s an area that could fit into many suburban backyards several times over. The most wonderful thing about this method is that I know I can ignore my vegetable garden for months and it won’t miss a beat. So, if you believe growing food is only for tough bearded warriors with lots of land and time, think again. Ecological gardening could be just the thing for you.
Jonathan White is a self-employed environmental consultant and landscape designer. He is the author of Food4Wealth, an eBook and video package that shows the reader exactly how to set up and maintain an ecological garden. It is available at Food4Wealth.
Information on purchasing Jonathan’s
Food4Wealth instructions and video:
Everything you need to know to grow healthy, fresh organic food, without all the problems.
This is a method of growing food that is reliable, produces an abundance of food, and is easy to understand. His package includes a step by step manual plus audio book version and over 60 minutes of video.
After reading and watching Food4Wealth
you will know how to:
- Set up a garden that produces many times more than a traditional vegetable garden
- Set up a garden that only requires 8 hours of light easy effort per year
- Grow food that you can harvest every single day of the year, no matter where you live
- Set up a garden that NEVER needs digging
- Set up a garden that naturally REPELS PESTS
- Set up a garden that has virtually NO WEEDS
- Grow vegetables and fruit ORGANICALLY
- Grow food in any soil, ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD
- Collect your own SEEDS
- Grow your own established seedlings – for yourself and to sell
- Grow more food than you need and sell the excess
- Grow the tastiest, fattest tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, celery, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber and more!
- Fertilize your garden for free using waste from your household
- Produce food in the world’s most environmentally and ecologically friendly way
- Create a garden that regenerates all by itself, year after year
By Jonathan White
Environmental Scientist and Horticulturalist
and creator of Food4Wealth:
Here I am in my garden surrounded by fresh, healthy organic carrots, lettuces, tomatoes, zucchinis, celery, spring onions, swiss chard, baby spinach, parsnip, cucumber, potatoes and pumpkin. A week earlier I pulled out some delicious sweet corn plants that had finished, and in their place tiny broccoli, cauliflower, and chinese cabbage seedlings are emerging, in perfect time for the winter crop…
…without me planting a thing – they just came up by themselves.
This method is based on ecology, and not horticulture. You see, the problem with horticulture is that it is problem-focused. Have you noticed that gardening books are filled with ways to fix problems? People seem to love creating problems where problems don’t need to exist. Well, it doesn’t have to be that way!
In my experience, the study of natural ecosystems reveals everything we need to know about growing food. After all, Mother Nature has been doing it this way for millions of years.
From my own results I can say, with absolute certainty, that this is the way we will be producing food in the future. It’s just commonsense. Why wouldn’t the world want to use a method that produces many times more food with a fraction of the effort? The biggest challenge is convincing traditional gardeners. Like many industries, the gardening industry gets stuck in doing things a certain way. And for many dedicated veterans, it can actually be quite threatening when an embarrassingly simple solution comes along.
Food4Wealth is so simple, everyone Can Do It.
The Food4Wealth step-by-step instruction manual has been laid out with clear simple instructions and illustrations so that you can easily get started. Food4Wealth is also provided as an Audiobook so you can listen whilst you are in the garden, jogging or commuting.
There are also 14 short video tutorials, over 60 minutes, showing you every step of the way, so that you can see exactly what you should be doing.
Plus you will also get an easy to follow step-by-step project plan listing what to do and how to do it. You will also get a maintenance plan and checklist to guide through the whole process.
This information contains everything to get set up and start producing organic food for years to come.
Feedback Received From
Some of the Thousands of Food4Wealth Customers.
I am totally hooked on the whole thing and I am growing vegetables from seed and watching them grow. If it wasn’t for the original inspiration I got from the whole concept of your low maintenance, minimal effort system of vegetable gardening, I can categorically assure you that I never would have started it at all.
Thank you very much for enriching me in this way. My life has a new ‘back to nature’ dimension which helps me feel quietly contented and fulfilled in the knowledge that I have clawed back some sanity in this crazy, ridiculous world.
All the best
Peter Woolfe, Australia
Your information has been very inspiring and working with land is so easy that most of the time you spent lying in the garden and enjoying the moment. I never understood all spiritual masters talking about abundance, but now I can “see” it too.
You have saved me some future anguish, not to mention a pile of money.
Thank you so much for the Food4Wealth concept.
Patty Bray USA
The information you provide will be of great benefit especially to people who have never planted a garden before, because it will immediately impress upon them the necessity of providing their plants with a good nutritional base and also that diversity is the mainstay of any food-producing venture.
If traditional gardeners can be convinced to give your method a fair go, I am certain that they will very quickly learn that their current methods are outmoded, time-consuming, ecologically unsound and hopelessly impractical. You have done your job well, Jonathan.
Keith Taylor, South Africa
It (Food4wealth) is especially critical to those of us in the USA, to know how to grow some of our own food. Your eBook and video’s are wonderful tools!
Wendy C, USA
I am nearly brought to tears after reading and watching with a feeling of empowerment. This can be so simple and is so much more meaningful being ecologically balanced. The fact that the garden is low maintenance and requires no chemicals is wonderful.
Erin Bailey, USA
I was amazed when I ready about what you have done about gardening. I am 57 years of age and interested in learning your way of gardening.
I live in Botswana, Southern Africa.
Finally I wish to thank in advance for the wonderful research you have done in order to save our planet Earth.
Sepo Mubitta, Botswana
I am writing to you today to simply say thank you and to share with you another successful food 4 wealth garden plot. My husband and I recently moved to the high desert in California. As the economy has been a bit scary, I got on a self reliance kick. I had purchased some emergency seeds and wanted to see if anything would actually grow here. I thought it would be best to try growing something in a non-emergency situation. In my quest to figure out how to grow my emergency seeds, I came across your website and purchased your e-book. My husband happens to be a dentist and a biology major and agreed your system was worth a try
I was so proud of how my radishes were doing with a huge top. When I pulled out one humungous radish, you can only imagine how I felt. Needless to say I feverishly planted LOTS more radish and carrot seeds into the plot. I already can tell that I will have an abundance of food. I have so much lettuce. I came across a great recipe for lettuce soup, which sort of sounds awful, but was delicious and decided to change the name to garden soup.
My husband and I truly thank you for your inspiration.
Darlene , USA
The Food4Wealth Method
Your Food4Wealth garden is basically a natural habitat that is made up of edible plants, and you can create one more easily than you realize. As a matter of fact, it’s far easier than creating a traditional vegetable garden. You won’t have to dig, and you won’t have to heave heavy loads. It will only take a few hours and many of the materials you require can be gathered for free.
Once this amazing ecosystem is set up you will be able to harvest fresh organic food every single day. It will literally save you thousands of dollars per year.
The Food4Wealth 80 page instruction manual comes with over 60 minutes of comprehensive video tutorials. In fact, everything you need to know is on video, or in the book. So, whether you like to read or watch, it doesn’t matter, because it’s all covered for you.
The Food4Wealth Story
When I discovered this method I felt a sense of urgency to get it out into the world where it can start to empower people’s lives. I knew I could write a good book, but I didn’t know how to make it reach all corners of the globe. I was introduced to Michael Guilfoyle (owner of the Windows Cloud Hosting Provider, M6.Net). My dream became Michael’s too, and he helped me transform my book into a full package that includes a fully illustrated step by step manual, over 60 minutes of video tutorials, project plans, quick reference guides and summary tables.
I would love to be able to give this package away for free. Unfortunately, the cost of production grew into the thousands and then there are the marketing costs (which I had no idea about). Gaining a presence on the internet is more expensive than I could have ever imagined. However, we wanted to keep the price as low as possible to ensure that this method was affordable for the majority of people. So we have priced the package at $39.97.
If, after some time, we find ourselves with a surplus of money, I will take this method to the poorest regions of the world where people don’t have access to the internet. I will show these people the method so that they can grow their own food in the most effective way possible.
By buying the Food4Wealth package you are not only buying the most comprehensive guide to growing food in the world’s most prolific way, but also helping to fund the people who need it to survive.
If we are to make a difference to our planet, live economically and improve our lives, we need to start taking action – real physical action. Sitting around talking about it won’t change a thing, but growing our own healthy organic food in an environmentally gentle way will make a positive change for millions of us.
With more people like you using the Food4Wealth method to produce food, we are all bound to spark a revolution in food production that will make our world a better place.
Horitculturalist and Environmental Scientist
and creator of Food4Wealth