Hobby gardeners can work in a cycle
Raised bogs are water reservoirs and habitats at the same time. Peat extraction for gardening purposes causes them great damage.
Anyone who sees his garden not only as an easy-care green environment for the house, but also has the pleasure and time to work in the garden, will create a vegetable garden. Even grown vegetables whose growth has been followed from seed to harvest simply taste twice as good. And gardening is also a useful pastime that is fun when done with the right tools.
The small gardener, who works a lot by hand anyway, can keep pests in check much more easily without chemicals than a farmer in the fields he lives from. This was also the opinion of the Baden-Württemberg state government, which – apart from a few exceptions – banned the use of pesticides in allotment gardens. In the past, it was unfortunately the case that allotment gardeners used three times as much poison as farmers.
Those who have their vegetable garden on the Baar must take the harsh climate into consideration. Although almost all types of vegetables can be grown here despite long winters, they must be protected from the cold. Sensitive plants such as tomatoes are therefore planted very late in the garden and it is better to grow them in flower pots indoors for a while. Or one drives somewhat more expenditure and puts on a cold frame, under whose glass hood the warming sunbeams are concentrated as in a trap.
When fertilizing, too much is often done for the good. In the garden, too much is unhealthy. Anyone who uses nitrogen fertilizers in excess contains a lot of unhealthy nitrate in their vegetables, is susceptible to aphids and has little shelf life. Too much phosphorus leads to deficiency symptoms of trace elements, and too much potassium inhibits growth and yield.
Mineral fertilizers can and should not be used in allotments. The same applies to peat, for the extraction of which the last raised bogs are destroyed. If you compost your garden and kitchen waste (more of it in a later episode), you have enough fertilizer and soil improvers for your garden. The shrub waste and grass cuttings that accumulate in the garden can then be reused in the garden in the cycle.
Another environmentally friendly form of fertilization is green fertilization. This is the cultivation of plants that increase the amount of nutrients in the soil, e.g. by binding atmospheric nitrogen. These include, for example, buckwheat, winter rape, lupins or the bee-eater (Phacelia tanacetifolia), which thrives on all soils. Most of these plants can be sown in August, when a bed has already been harvested. The green manure plants are usually cut off before flowering and worked into the soil.
Mixed cultivation and crop rotation
Experienced gardeners know: certain plants get along very well with each other, others do not. Perhaps best known is the beneficial effect that bulbs have on strawberries and carrots. Since small areas are already cultivated in the house garden, it is a good idea to mix mutually beneficial vegetable species or plant them in alternating rows.
The good results of mixed cultivation can be explained by the different growth forms and nutrient requirements. A plant with deep roots thrives better next to a plant with shallow roots than another with deep roots. In addition, certain plants drive out pests that attack other plants. Spice plants are particularly favourable. Wormwood, for example, keeps earth fleas away from radishes and radishes, although it may not be planted next to fennel. Valerian, on the other hand, has a beneficial effect on all other plants.
Since the plants have different nutrient requirements, it is usually unfavorable to cultivate a vegetable species on the same bed for several years. Variety leaches out the soil less and uses the nutrients more effectively. Of course, there are certain rules that can be taken from a good garden book.
In the past, it was generally recommended to dig deep into the garden. Organic gardeners, on the other hand, swear by loosening the soil only superficially. This protects soil organisms, which are crucial for fertility. Of course, you also need special tools for this.
The hoe or cultivator is pulled flat through the soil, which is then loosened. At the same time the weeds are removed, and with this instrument compost can also be worked in well. In beds that are already overgrown, the Sauzahn is more suitable. It has only one tooth at the bent steel end and allows precise processing.
Where the soil is too hard or heavy for these tools, it must be loosened with a digging fork or a spade without turning it, however.
Competition with aphids and snails
In agriculture, within the framework of integrated pest management, there is an increasing tendency to tolerate a certain pest infestation. A certain number of pests is even good, because otherwise their predators could not exist, which help to prevent mass propagation. Only when a damage threshold has been exceeded and if really significant crop failures would occur do control measures make sense. Therefore, one should definitely tolerate one or the other aphid without immediately resorting to the (forbidden) lethal injection.
A strong pest infestation is also usually a sign of horticultural mistakes. If the vegetable plant and soil type
or if too much fertilizer has been applied, pests have an easy game. Damage caused by powdery mildew is most likely to occur if the cultivated plants are too dense. And a strong aphid infestation on certain ornamental rose species indicates that this variety is simply unsuitable for the Baar climate.
If you have to take action against pests, you now have a whole range of ecologically harmless methods. Aphids can be controlled with a (short-drawn) stinging nettle manure or a tobacco brew. Effective broths can also be obtained from field horsetail, garlic, worm fern and wormwood. Preparations with Bacillus thuringensis can help against some small butterflies.
All the household remedies against snails, from beer traps to calcium hydroxide, are only partially effective. If one wants to do without slug pellets, the only option is to surround the beds with a sheet of sheet metal bent outwards. If this is too much work for you, you have to collect the snails regularly.
Weed control accounts for a significant proportion of gardening. Fortunately, herbicides are rarely used in allotments. The risk of damaging crops would also be too great. As a rule, weed control means weeding and chopping.
One can certainly prevent a too strong weed if one mulches systematically. In other words, organic material such as raw compost or grass cuttings are spread between the cultivated plants to cover the soil and prevent weeds from rising. Mulching also keeps the soil moist and improves fertility.
Of course, especially in neglected gardens, there are sometimes weeds where you have to use heavier guns. Quecken and Geißfuß will not be eliminated by chopping. However, the couch grass will become small if it is systematically cut off as soon as it has grown a bit. With gout foot and other stubborn weeds, only one thing helps: cover the floor with light-proof newspapers or corrugated cardboard. If the above-ground shoots cannot grow, the underground shoots will also die after a certain time. At least in the following year, the bed can then be managed normally.