Grow from your strengths by getting to know your growing conditions and choosing plants that grow well in these conditions. For example, lettuce, cabbage, and other greens grow best in sunny positions; bananas need protection from strong winds; most fruit trees prefer fungal-dominated soil… so we only plant them where we can provide these conditions.
Growing from your strengths your plants will be naturally stronger, healthier, and better able to look after themselves.
You’ll grow food for yourself, rather than the insects, and will find it easier to improve your growing conditions using the ecological services plants provide.
That’s why ‘growing from your strengths’ is one of the guiding principles in eco-logical approaches to regenerative farming and gardening.
Grow from your Strengths – the Eco-logic
Nature Grows from her Strengths. It is one of the reasons why natural ecosystems are so productive and respond well to changing circumstances. Nature sets goals based on the prevailing conditions and modifies these goals as conditions change.
A walk through any natural woodland or forest illustrates how the distribution of plants varies, reflecting the changes in sunlight, soil, drainage, and other environmental conditions.
You will have seen these patterns yourself. For example, the differences between vegetation growing on the north or south sides of a ridge and different soil types. Being aware of these patterns, you’ll begin to notice other smaller changes, such as how mosses prefer the shady side of a tree and how a hollow can provide a home for water-loving plants.
Patterns in Nature as the vegetation responds to different growing conditions
Imagine you bought a Takeaway Café
The business was popular with locals, well equipped with all the usual deep fat fryers, grills, milkshake makers, and freezers, and had reliable part-time staff. The accounts showed that the business was doing OK, but you believed you could turn over a better profit.
What would be the sensible thing to do? Gut the premises, change the décor and staff, get rid of the fryer, and buy a pizza oven…
OR get to know the business first. Learn what works well and what can be improved. Take an inventory of the machinery and equipment. What’s in good condition? What needs replacing? Quiz customers about what they like and dislike about the café… Then, with this information under your belt, start making changes, building on the existing strengths of the business.
Which approach would make more sense? Be less risky? Yes, you’re right – the second option!
That’s why growing from our strengths makes sense!
Instead of trying to change your growing conditions to suit your plants – giving yourself an up-hill-battle, choose plants suitable for your existing growing conditions, use ecological support and other plants to improve your growing conditions!
How to get to know your Growing Conditions
Whether you are planning your farm, designing a new garden, or retrofitting an old one, there are many resources available to help you get to know your growing conditions. But we think they are overly complicated and take too long to do!
That’s why we developed the GrowMap