Backyard Garden Rules: Nature Favors Diversity

Confession: I’m a lazy gardener

I’ve always operated under the assumption that most people are too. Life is busy, of course, and there are lots of moving parts. I love my garden, and love eating the bounty that it creates. I just don’t have the time to care for it. So, I plant and hope for the best.

My personal favorite summer crop is the tomato. This year, in the mountain region of the southwestern US, it got really hot, really quickly, and it stayed really hot (and dry) through much of September. I’ve got a backyard that gets southern sun exposure the entire day. Thus, my tomato yield was negligible– meaning next to nothing. I didn’t can, broil, or make sauce from any of my own tomatoes this year.

But, because my backyard garden was diverse, a lot of deliciousness still grew there. This year, there were strong yields from my cherry and apple trees. I also got elderberries galore, grapes, and raspberries by the handful. And for the garden crops, I got lots of potatoes and kale, chiles, artichokes, squash, corn, peas, and Brassica. Most surprising to me, despite the heat, King Stropharia mushrooms popped up throughout the summer. Some nights, I would sauté them with the tatsoi that grew nearby– so yum.

The arugula, which normally overtakes my spring garden, was quickly culled by the heat.

King Stropharia in my raised bed

But, now as we turn into October, it is returning. My strawberries which languished in the summer are also popping up as we enter into fall.

Since there were enough flowering species throughout the summer, the pollinators stayed busy. Overall, I’ll deem it a success, even though it wasn’t the garden I envisioned in spring.

So, your garden can “beat the heat”, you just need to remember the rule: Nature Favors Diversity.


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