Finally, I have come to the culmination of all my research on pesticide free herbs and vegetables. It’s called a Creole Garden. and described as follows in this article on JW.org, “When you walk by a Creole garden, you may feel drawn to enjoy its beauty up close. Once inside, you can admire blossoms and leaf arrangements as the sun highlights their colors. Meanwhile, the breeze stirs a mixture of fragrances that bottled perfume cannot imitate.”
As stated in the referenced article, from the 17th century onward the slaves of Guadeloupe and Martinique were denied just about every human right imaginable. “Many plantation owners on the islands made the slaves responsible for feeding themselves, so the slaves planted gardens. More work was the last thing they needed, but at least they could grow foods that they liked. . . They also cultivated medicinal herbs as well as spices for cooking.”
In 1848 the French government abolished slavery on the islands, but the newly freed citizens kept planting their gardens. Today the people of Guadeloupe and Martinique, many of them descendants of those hardworking Africans, continue to cultivate what are now known as Creole gardens.
In his blog Bob Fisher relates that “The Creole Gardens are also referred to as Les jardins de résistance (the gardens of resistance), which is both an appropriate metaphor for this nutrient-rich landscape but also a very realistic expression of Creole history in Martinique and the struggles of people of African descent in this former French colony.” He goes on to call these gardens “one of the best examples you will find anywhere of good land management, of cultural self-determination, and of natural beauty. . . today these gardens are models of sustainable agriculture.”
They took advantage of every resource and technique modern organic farmers should heed. Unfortunately, interest in this form of agriculture has waned as diets and lifestyles in Martinique and Guadeloupe have “Americanized.” As a result a project was launched in 2014 in attempt at revitalizing interest in these techniques.
The project mentions the use of each of the techniques I have already blogged about.
Using a “mix plant species in the same areas” – Companion Planting
The “use of green manures between cultures” – Cover Crop
In addition it talks about water conservation and other techniques. Undoubtedly including, though not mentioned, planting to encourage natural predators.
I look forward to trying this myself. It should be fun and budget friendly.