Amish gardening is an incredibly important part of Amish culture. It reflects their faith, their deep connection to the Earth and their abiding commitment to a simpler way of life.
The Amish use biodiverse heirloom plantings and various systems to coax plants into the plentiful harvests that feed their families and the larger community. They also practice crop rotation and avoid commercially-available fertilizers, as well as fossil fuels for agricultural equipment.
Heirloom plantings are the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly way to grow food in a traditional, small farm setting. They're gentle on the soil, especially in contrast to tractors that destroy heirloom seeds and can contaminate the land with diesel fuel and rubber tires.
They plant a wide variety of foods in close proximity to each other for companion planting, which provides biodiversity, repels pests and disease, maintains soil nutrition, attracts beneficial insects, suppresses weeds, and more. This system can boost yields, promote strong root growth and help plants adapt to their environment.
Companion planting is a natural and long-standing technique that allows farmers to combine plants that share similar needs in a smaller garden space, often within the same row or in an adjacent field. This helps to improve the soil, repel pests, and reduce water consumption and labor by promoting good crop rotation practices.
Another advantage of using companion planting is that it reduces the amount of chemical pesticides required in the garden. These chemicals can be toxic and have a harmful effect on the environment.
Many Amish gardeners choose to rely on naturally occurring pesticides, such as garlic powder or apple cider vinegar. Amish gardeners also make a point of collecting organic mulch and compost, which they add to the garden beds and spread on the ground around the garden to help keep weeds and soil nutrients in place.
They also have an aversion to synthetic fertilizers, which they feel are toxic to both humans and the environment. They also tend to use livestock manure, which they consider to be the best way to enhance fertility and retain the soil's natural resources.
The Amish value biodiverse heirloom plantings, which they believe are the most sustainable way to grow food in a traditional, smaller farm setting. They also practice crop rotation and avoid commercially-available nitrogen-based fertilizers, as well as fossil fuels used for agricultural equipment.
Heirloom seeds are a treasured possession for Amish farmers, and they treat them with care. They collect and store the seeds gently to ensure a steady supply for the following planting season.
In addition to growing the nutrient-rich foods they need, Amish gardeners grow flowers and herbs for medicinal purposes. They include things like basil, oregano, chamomile, goldenseal, wormwood, valerian, and echinacea to keep their bodies, minds and spirits healthy.
They also harvest honey from the beehives in their backyards to sell at roadside stands or for direct sale in local stores. These hives are a valuable resource for the Amish and a sign of their respect for the natural world, which they believe is the gift from God that is their birthright.