Why so many gardeners struggle

A couple of days ago I talked about my recent run-in with the flu.

(Thanks by the way for the emails and the comments – I’m feeling much better, just still have some weight to gain back and some bags under my eyes to get rid of).

Back to talking about gardening in today’s video (or feel free to scroll down to the article, if you prefer reading)…

My more detailed article on biology and chemistry is here

After the flu video, a number of people said in the comments and their emails to me that nobody’s invincible and the flu can happen to anyone, and I agree – but I do feel strongly that there’s always a reason.

There can be a lot of different reasons, but for me, it feels very much like a nutritional issue because my mind is happy and not too stressed and my exercise routine is good, but my eating hasn’t been very good this winter.

Anyway, the bottom line is that I’m disappointed that my immune system allowed me to get the flu.

My garden
My wild garden

But the good that’s coming from that is that I’m going to expand my organic garden this year to make sure I have enough nutrient-dense food next winter to keep my immunity up through flu season.

In a few days I’m going to share with you my checklist of things I’ll be doing in the garden this year – many of them as soon as the snow melts and the ground thaws.

I’ll be doing them in order to ensure my existing crops have as much nutrition as possible, and to prepare a new area for new crops.

More nutrition means less sickness and disease, which means more time to enjoy life.

But it’s also important to point out that there are many additional benefits of growing healthier, more nutritious food than just that:

  • Flavor. The reason so many kids don’t like vegetables these days is because most vegetables don’t taste good, and that’s because they’re so low in nutrients (I’ll share more about why that happens in a couple of days). When your food has more vitamins and minerals in it, that translates to much better flavor.
  • Yield. When plants have optimal sunlight, water, air, temperature, biology and chemistry, they can reach their maximum yield. An organically grown tomato plant may produce just 10-20 tomatoes in an average garden, but will produce hundreds of tomatoes if it’s given those optimal conditions. By focusing on growing nutrient-dense crops, we can surpass the yields of the conventional chemical approach. Academy member Kathleen told me “I have the MOST productive garden this year I think I’ve ever had, so many strawberries, raspberries and blueberries that my freezer is full and they just keep on coming!! Plus all the other bountiful veggie crops.” So yes, we can be highly productive using organic methods.
  • Storage. A lot of the food you buy today will rot within days or weeks if you leave it out of the fridge. Again, that points to a lack of nutrition. Nutrient-dense food, on the other hand, will store for a long time. It doesn’t even rot – it just very slowly dehydrates while retaining its flavor and quality.
  • Insects, diseases and weeds. Most of the pesky ones go away over time. Your food is so nutrient-dense that insects and diseases can’t digest it because they don’t have the enzymes to do so, and your soil is so fertile that most weeds have no reason to be there because there’s nothing that needs fixing (that’s what weeds do – fix poor soil).
  • Cost. And all this for a lower cost. It can cost some money up front if, for example, you purchase inputs such as rock dust to remineralize your soil, but in the long run, as the system begins to take care of itself, costs get very low. There are no pesticides to spray, very few fertilizers to apply (and many of them you can make yourself), very little water to apply because the soil holds onto rainwater for weeks, little seed to buy because you’re already growing the best seed there is, and so on.

Most gardeners struggle to achieve the above goals because they’re not doing even half of what I’ll be laying out in my checklist, often not even 1/4 of it – not that you have to do it all, but the more you do, the more success you’ll have.

Today I’ll briefly share what it is we’re actually doing when we implement the checklist. If the checklist will be how to do it, this today is what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

The main thing to remember is that most of the steps are aimed at improving the biology or the chemistry of the soil and of the plants directly.

Spraying PesticidesPesticides kill biology (“cide” means to kill)

Biology means the living organisms.

Most of the organisms in our garden help to improve the soil, feed our plants and control pests.

This biology is one of the most important factors in the garden to think about whenever you’re doing anything there, to make sure you’re helping them rather than harming them.

I believe we’re in a gradual shift from a chemistry mindset in the garden towards a biology mindset.

And so one of our primary goals is increasing the diversity of beneficial microorganisms, insects and plants while “controlling” harmful microorganisms, insects and plants.

About 6 of the 17 steps on the checklist directly bring in these beneficial organisms, while 9 of the other steps feed them. All of the steps on the list help improve garden health, which repels harmful microbes, insects and weeds, while about 7 of the steps repel them directly. Weeds and dogWeeds decrease dramatically when soil biology and chemistry are improved

Chemistry mainly means minerals, but also other biostimulants like vitamins and enzymes.

Note that doesn’t means synthetic chemicals (we’re still talking organic here). It just means the periodic table of the elements – chemistry. About 11 of the steps in the checklist bring more minerals and other nutrients into your soil or directly onto your plants.

We need the right balance of minerals in order to have a fertile soil, to have happy biology, and so the plants can take them up and incorporate them into themselves and the food we eat.

There are a few other important steps on the checklist that focus on other things, but biology and chemistry are the big ones.

I don’t want this video to get too long, so if you want to more detail on this biology and chemistry topic, you should definitely read this post I wrote last year and updated yesterday.

For today, I just thought it was worthwhile to share that:

Bee Pollinating

  • Nutrient-dense foods have not only better nutrition – so you can prevent the flu and most of the devastating diseases of our time – but also better flavor, yield and storage time along with fewer pest problems – and all of this at lower cost in the long run.
  • Most of the maintenance tasks we perform in the garden in order to grow this nutrient-dense food are aimed at improving the biological diversity in the garden and providing more nutrients for the garden. We need to do both.

And that’s what the upcoming checklist will help you with, too. I’ll post that in a few days.