About Eat MY Shrubs

Since very early in my life I have been into organic gardening.  Sometime because I wanted something to eat, like a carrot fresh from the ground.  Sometimes because I had to weed between the rows if I wanted to stop for Ice-cream after baseball practice.  In rural New Brunswick in the mid eighties, there was no organic gardening as we know it today.  There was only gardening, and it was everywhere.  Everyone gardened, at least in comparison to today, and everyone cooked with the fruits of their labour and shared any abundance with their neighbours and family.

Somewhere between then and now (though some would argue an even earlier start to the decline) we have lost the sense of fulfillment and gratitude that comes with planting and harvesting from your own land.  Many if us now don’t have the large swaths of land required to have a garden that would suffice our families needs for the year, or at least we don’t believe we do.  Many also don’t believe that we have the required time to commit to tending to the garden throughout the growing season.  We seem to live in an instant world.  Gardening and land”scaping”, have become more industrial and commercial and instant as time goes on.  On Monday there could be a bare lot and by Tuesday, there is what appears to be an established lawn, and twelve year old tress!

But, if we can slow down, gardening and land “care”, especially using what we now refer to as “organic practices”,  reminds us to enjoy the life that we work so hard to create for ourselves.  And, with modern innovations, some of ancient technologies, the time and space commitment that has hindered us before, are becoming less and less of an issue.  That trend will continue as more and more people are reminded of how things from the ground are supposed to taste, and how important it is to really think about what we put in out body for nourishment.

Out of that thinking for my own family, Eat MY Shrubs was created as a way to bring people back, at least in modern terms, to a way of living that was once just living, but now is considered “organic” or “sustainable”.

In my work, there are no harsh chemicals.  I think the roughest thing I use is cleaning vinegar.  From time to time a small machine is required to complete a task economically, and I do move material with a pickup truck, so there is fossil fuel usage, however, only as needed, and rarely is it needed.  Hand pruners and reel mowers, when properly maintained and used do a superior job than most gas powered tools, when looking from a plant health point of view.  That is why essential oils have become an important part of my practice.  They are what the plants use, nothing that foreign to throw off the chemical balance of the soil.

When we switch to organic practices, the soil begins to come alive once again.  Rushed practices and instant remedies to our properties over the past years have stripped most of the life away from the soil.  There is endless evidence of this.  Every spring herbicides and pesticides, unnecessary fertilizers and enhancers, are sprayed and sprinkled all over the soil killing many beneficial animals, fungi, and bacteria.  They then have to work all summer to recover their population, just to freeze or go dormant in the winter, and be bombarded again in the spring with another dose of death.

Organic Gardening teaches that everything is in the soil for a reason.  Once you realize what that reason is,  altering something in the land to discourage or encourage what we want to have happen will be much less daunting, and deadly.  We must work with the garden to come to some sort of agreement as to what the space will look like.  If we give the microbes and fungi that we want to have, the food they need, and deprive the microbes and fungi that we do not want of their food.  We stack the deck for the beneficial life to win, and in turn, we get the results we desire, or some form of them.

Endless pulling of plants and spraying compacted ground is not going to keep the tap roots like thistle and dandelions away.  Relieving the compaction and improving the microbial life that increase the water and air holding ability of the soil, that will.  It just takes a bit of time.

The name Eat MY Shrubs came from my love of the idea that we can plant beautiful gardens that are completely edible!  Growing food does not have to be in a rectangular shaped, tilled-row garden.  The best gardens are interplanted species, or polycultures.  Some plants are only there to benefit  the plants that we want to eat.  They may attract beneficial insects, or fool herbaceous animals away from the plant we actually want.  And, all this can be achieved without the use of harmful chemicals, or practices that destroy, what we now have come to realize is, the delicate balance of life in the soil.

Hence the tagline, “Not only are they beautiful, you can Eat MY Shrubs”

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