Good yields in gardens close to nature – SWR . knowledge

Many gardeners want not only to create beds for flowers and vegetables. You also want to leave room for insects and wildflowers. We show how all this can be combined.

Red and white peonies bloom at the top, lilac-lavender and blue delphiniums shine next to them. At the bottom, along with strawberries, potatoes, tomatoes and peas grow in oblong beds. Gardening close to nature and good yields don’t have to be mutually exclusive. This is shown in the Lore Gräff garden of Waldlaubersheim.

In the Lore Gräff garden of Waldlaubersheim, elegant plant beds and wildflower beds lie next to each other.


Wild growth and order for natural gardening

At first glance, the garden of Lore Gräff and her husband Karl-Wilhelm looks like a typical home garden. Only when you take a closer look does it become clear that something not quite typical thrives here too. With proper arrangement and proper compost, you can achieve good crops despite a lot of uncontrolled growth.

“Even a natural garden can have a structure.”

Wild weeds are allowed to survive

Among the flowers planted there are always plants that have found their way onto the estate in Waldlaubersheim on their own. They are allowed to stop at Lore Gräff: meadow flowers, or wild carrots, or a bushy plant one and a half meters high with pink flowers that distract about a dozen bumblebees.

In the Lore Gräff garden of Waldlaubersheim, elegant plant beds and wildflower beds lie next to each other.  (Photo: SWR)

The stones at the edge of the spiral lawn provide space for many small animals.


“It was there all of a sudden,” says the 67-year-old retiree. “I’ll let it bloom first so I can see what it is. And if it looks good, it will be nurtured and cared for.”

Now she knows: it’s a wild lupine. She found her new home here. Even weeds are allowed to sprout, like thorns between flowers, for example. She even left a few square meters behind the house for herself.

The arrangement in the vegetative spot is important

On the other hand, in the vegetable patch, the lower Graff does not tolerate weeds. Because that grows much faster than their beneficial plants, it makes potatoes very competitive. “Wild plants quickly take over and remove food from beneficial plants,” she says. This will wilt the carrots.

There are clear boundaries in her garden. Wild growth is meaningless everywhere. Vegetables need a lot of space and light to grow well. For this, the family must be taken care of. But the work is worth it.

“In a completely overgrown garden, you can’t reap anything to eat,” says the former farmer. Because she largely wants to provide herself and her husband with fruits and vegetables, Lore Gräff relies on natural, targeted gardening. There must be some order.

Close to nature – yet targeted!

Wildflowers have their place outside the plant spots. Insects don’t just stop at the hotel. They are also allowed to roam in the dead forest located in various places of the park.

Lore Gräff places extra clay pots among the straw-filled flowers for ear tweezers. Because ear wigs eat aphids and mites. And because many species of wild bees and bumblebees live in the land, there is also room for them.

Insects ensure a healthy garden. They keep pests away and not only pollinate the flowers, but also the food we grow, Gref says. In this way, wild growth in one bed also helps to properly care for the crops.

In the Lore Gräff garden of Waldlaubersheim, elegant plant beds and wildflower beds lie next to each other.  (Photo: SWR)

Small islands made of dead wood or old flower pots are built everywhere in the garden for insects. There is also an insect hotel.


The right fertilizer for already growing in the garden: nettle

The best fertilizer to grow on its own in a landscape garden: stinging nettle. “My husband is not allowed to cut them. They are just placed in the corner. During July, I harvest the leaves and add a little water and mash them. Then I cut this paste into the plants,” says Laure Greve. .

Unlike dung from stinging nettle, harissa does not smell unpleasant, but it also fertilizes, for example, tomatoes. As heavy consumers, they need a lot of nitrogen, Laure Graf learns. And nettle provides it. Otherwise, it is mainly fertilized with horn shavings and eggshell.

House feature plants

And wild growth in flower beds has another big advantage: native plants, which grow here on their own, are well adapted to local conditions.

For example, they use much less water than thuja or oleander, which are popular with many gardeners. This allows more plants to live in the same space. This pleases insects – at the latest during harvest – also Lore Gräff.

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