Understanding the importance of biodiversity to healthy land helps give us direction in how to manage our own gardens. Biodiversity is a result of habitat diversity. The more dynamic and varied our garden environment is, the more potential for life. It is not hard to imagine why conventional agriculture struggles with so many problems, all stemming from a lack of diversity. Monoculture is the modern production method of tilling and amending every year as a means to produce a single type of crop. This is the epitome of a lack of diversity. Unfortunately we see this monoculture model overlap into home gardens and small scale farms, ultimately bringing those big scale problems to our backyards. The only real defense against disease and imbalance infestations is to diversify the environment we grow in and therefore increase our ecologically dynamic potential in the garden.
One of the misunderstandings that arise from common agricultural dogma is thes idea that good soil is sifted and uniform. Look at store-bought potting soils and large scale composting facilities, which reflect the idea that uniformity is superior and the more processed the medium, the better it will be for plant growth. This idea is born of conventional agricultural mindset. Soil uniformity creates a monoculture medium. This goes against ecological reason and begins to help explain why so many problems are associated with growing plants. A long-term solution that can help prevent the need for pest and disease interventions requires a shift in our attention to promoting habitat rather than discouraging it.s. Establishing habitat diversity may be one of the most cost-effective practices you could pursue in the garden, as it provides resiliency that is associated with bio-diversity. By effectively creating dynamic habitat in the garden, we establish homes for a diverse array of life both big and small.
The best way to begin is by observation of a biologically diverse habitat. My homework for everyone who wants to aid in garden health is to take a walk in the forest where biodiversity is high. This is where we can learn all the tricks for creating and maintaining diverse habitat. Nature has been hard at work for a long time, evolving this planet into a rich and extremely complex ecology. If we strive to maintain such complexities, it would be in our interest to mimic and work with nature rather than against it—to create what we want in our garden landscape.
So the next time you are wondering “What do I do to enhance my garden’s production and health capabilities?”, I say incorporate logs and branches, rock piles, sunken beds and raised beds, diverse plant species, hedges, trees, bushes, wet areas and dry areas—there really is no limit to how to diversify habitat. Ultimately, this is what will balance out deficiencies and provide defenses for outbreaks. Invite life into the garden rather than suppress it, and you will do yourself and your garden a big favor.
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