I am attempting to create and maintain my small home garden with an environment that will enable vegetable plants to thrive, which I have called a "Micro-ecosystem".
Such a garden would consist of organic soil, essential microbes and other animal forms plus sunlight (spectral energy), air (CO2), water, and nutrients optimally interacting together to enable plants to thrive.
The concept is similar to a microclimate that holds over a small area within a garden determined by the shade or shelter provided by the trees and buildings, land slope, etc., but rather is created by the gardener to be an optimal sustainable situation for vegetable growing in a small manageable garden.
The aim for ny garden is that it receives and or contains:
- Six to eight hours of sunlight or more on average per day during the growing season with suitable shade cloth coverings to control temperature while maintaining adequate spectral energy for photosynthesis
- A timer-controlled irrigation system to provide requited water supply for plant growth and fruit and vegetable maturation.
- Organic soil of the required texture, water holding capacity and nutrients and microorganism to allow the complex interrelationship of organisms in the sub-terrarium environment to occur
- Preventive disease and risk management programmes, including companion planting
The creation of such a system in my garden is an ongoing challenge with shifting targets as the seasons and weather patterns change.
However, it is a worthwhile endeavour that includes keeping up to date with the literature. It also includes tracking environmental and biochemical conditions, growth rates, yield, product quality (colour, taste, size, texture and taste), appearance and difficulties experienced in growing quality vegetables in my garden.
From these data, I make, as my experience and knowledge grows, inferences and recommendations for an ideal Micro-ecosystem and for growing methods required to produce nutritious organic vegetables and herbs for small home gardens.
My interpretations should be seen as my humble attempt to understand the beauty and complexity of this god-given miracle and in no way can be taken to reflect rigorous research. Instead, it simply reflects my story of participating in this complex discipline.