This post is part of a series of Easy Changes to Make Your Garden Act More Like Nature. For the full story, start at the beginning with Tip #1, Get Rid of Bare Earth.
Tip #5: Create some edge
This is something I never would have thought of on my own. We are so used to planting things in nice, straight lines, just because that's how it's always been. But you can fit more in a smaller space with more creative planting arrangements, and the plants also have more "edge" space that way. For example, check out these two different ways you can plant 10 plants:
When plantings are staggered, plants still have the room they need, but space is conserved, there is less bare dirt to cover in between rows, and those little plants in back get to peek at the sun between the heads of the plants in front of them.
Also, "ecological gardening" type smarties tell us that the edge, between two different types of environments, is where the most biological activity is concentrated. For example, more tigers live in the "edge" area between the jungle and the river banks, because there is food and water in one area, shelter and protection in another. In the same way, little things like birds, spiders, pollinators, even earthworms or good bacteria, tend to gather at the edges between different areas in a garden.
So instead of a basically straight line between dirt and garden plants, or grass and garden plants, or pond and garden plants, like in the first set, if you stagger your plantings, you can create a much longer, wavy line of "edge space." The more edge space, the more nature's little beneficial creatures will be able to help your garden along.
Next up is Tip #6: Rethink Tilling
Posted at Small Footprint Friday and Homestead Barn Hop