Former Shows & Episodes

The Manic Gardener

Kate Gardner

The Manic Gardener – Mixing It Up in the Veggie Garden

Here’s a riddle: how do you grow vegetables without a vegetable garden? Answer: polyculture. Which means that you either tuck the tomatoes and lettuce into with your existing flowerbeds, or you bring herbs and flowers into the vegetable patch.

Yes: not only does this method do away with rows, which segregate one vegetable from another; it does away with separate beds, which segregate flowers from herbs from vegetables.

My guests this week are David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth, who put polyculture at the heart of their latest book, What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden? 100% Organic Solutions for All Your Vegetables, from Artichoke to Zucchini.

On the show, David and Kathryn explain the principle of polyculture and its benefits, which range from thwarting both pests and disease, to creating lovely, creative plantings. They describe several uses of polyculture gardens: easy combinations such as the “salad bowls” Kathryn keeps just outside her door, plots focused around carrots, or tomatoes, or melons, and how to integrate various vegetables into an existing garden.

Then (we’re not done yet) we move on to organic solutions to pests and problems, a conversation that includes rather more about slugs than you might expect. It’s a fun, lively hour, full of practical tips nested in an easily grasped theory that can be applied to gardens everywhere.