I'll never forget the first time I walked into a garden store and asked for some straw bales for my garden. The folks practically laughed me out the door, scoffing at the fact that I wanted straw to nurture the ground floor of my garden, and that I hadn't planted my plants in perfect rows. They said I would be back to get weed killer. Weeds would love the straw and overgrow, and then I wouldn't be able to weed around my plants because they weren't lined up in neat rows. They didn't mention that weeds (like chickweed, which my yard is full of) are edible. They only gave me the same homogenized thinking that I was trying to break away from when I purchased my straw.
I had recently been introduced to the topic of permaculture and the thought that you only need to give the soil what it needs, and let it grow!
When I saw this, I got really excited! The conventional method of gardening seemed daunting, and felt like it was too much for me to handle. Upon reading about this "alternative" gardening, I was given inspiration to allow myself experimental gardening freedom. That's what I really needed.
Conventional gardening always left me with two burning questions:
1) Nature knows how to make everything grow. So why do we feel like we have to manipulate her so much?
2) Why are some plants demoted to weeds and treated as less, when they're edible and abundant?
When we're farming specific crops as our livelihood, it makes sense that we would want to manipulate nature to make them grow, but I wanted to see what she would grow for me.
I'm not growing my food for survival. I have a grocery store down the street.
I believe in edible landscaping, that food should be abundant everywhere, and that plants that don't provide food for me or any creatures (read: ornamental non-flowering bushes) are more or less pointless.
So my theory was, let's throw some seeds and plants out there, make some compost to nurture the soil, and see what mother nature gives back.
Believe it or not, she does give back.
So far this year, I have a thriving kale plant, a burgeoning strawberry patch and an abundance of lemon balm. I also have a massive aloe plant in my bathroom which I use daily and a blueberry bush in its second growing season.
Last year I had a huge amount of tomatoes, cucumbers and snap peas. I did till the ground, so I'll need to get more seeds if I want to regrow them. I didn't save any of the seeds last year (whoops!).
The reason I'm writing this to you?
To tell you that you can start anywhere. Just do it. It doesn't have to be a 'magazine-cover' garden. Every time you eat something, save the seeds and throw them outside. See if anything takes. Or buy one plant that's easy to grow (anything in the mint family usually takes well), put it in the ground, and let it grow.
Section off a part of your backyard that is designated for crafting your wild garden if you need.
Nurture your soil.
See what happens.
Read any books you can find by Masanobu Fukuoka.
This is exactly what he believed in.