ladybug-life-cycleIn our ignorance we gardeners have taken ourselves rather seriously. We thought it our job to feed our plants, and to protect them from their predators and as a result - unaware of the elegance of the web of life destroyed the soil ecosystem with toxic chemicals.

We thought we could improve on Nature and create order out of chaos. But Nature is already ordered and perfect, and plants already know how to take care of themselves.

In ignorance - and some say arrogance - the human species has devastated the planet’s natural vegetation and soils - its life support systems - to the point of possible self-destruction.

It is even more humbling to realize that on our own we are powerless to repair what we have destroyed.

It is not our task on this planet to capture carbon and nitrogen from the air, and gather the minerals from the soil and turn them into organic form. That is the domain of the plants and the soil-based web of life.

At best we can support them, to help them do their jobs as efficiently as possible.

How can we help?

To start with, we need to do a lot less.

We need to stop treating the garden as if it were a room needing decoration. We need to stop injuring our plants by cutting them into shapes that please us.

We need to stop killing - stop poisoning the soil and waterways and air, stop poisoning the insects and plants themselves.

We need to consciously think and work differently. Organic gardeners are not governed by maintenance schedules and social conventions. Instead each of our actions is evaluated for its effectiveness in supporting plants, animals and microbes to perform their ecological function.

Our role in the garden is to ensure optimal ecosystem health.

This is easy when we think of gardening in terms of
• creating communities,
• feeding the soil dwelling organisms,
• increasing microbial diversity, and
• ensuring sufficient water for ecosystem health.

We go much deeper into this topic in our online course, which you can discover here:

Organic Master Gardener Online