Conversation with Paul Ferris for an ecological garden

Conversation with Paul Ferris for an ecological garden

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Author of numerous works on nature, plants and the environment, Paul Ferris gave us a little time on the occasion of the release of two works by Marabout editions "Jardiner avec la lune" and "Faire son compost". This is an opportunity to discover some tips for an ecological garden.

Tell us about your background regarding the garden.

We're not going to use the famous expression "I fell in when I was little" but that's a bit. I lived with my grandparents who had a large garden. We were close to nature and we always gardened with the moon and we always had a compost. I then had my professional life as a journalist, editor and writer then around 35 I had my own garden thanks to my country house in which I then lived. In fact, I have always gardened apart during my professional career. And the advantage of taking over a garden late is that I was able to use my knowledge as a journalist. We will say that I am both a theorist and a practitioner.

You are a specialist in ecological gardening, is this the key to a healthy garden?

This is essential ! A garden is a balance, so if you start killing aphids with phytosanitary products, you also eliminate all carnivorous insects. Suddenly, by killing aphids, you leave the field to other insects such as ants. It is a vicious circle: the more we put in, the more we have to put in, and this is found in fruits, vegetables and groundwater as well. You have to start from scratch and tell yourself that the garden is balancing itself. And to solve the problems, there are natural solutions. To return to aphids for example, the first thing is to eliminate the ant nests at the feet of roses. You can use strips of organic glue around the trunk to prevent them from climbing, because it is the ants that bring the aphids, or you can treat with nettle liquid or garlic oil for the aphids do not settle. And for fungus-like diseases, sometimes it is enough to stick garlic cloves at the foot because garlic disinfects and has a repellent effect at the same time. It's simple and economical!

How do you garden with the moon?

The moon influences the earth and that's what explains the tides. As plants are 90% water, they also feel this water pressure, which increases with the movements of the moon. So when the moon is full or at its perigee (closest to the earth), it has far more consequences on the earth. And when we know that, we can draw laws from it: for plants to take root we sow them after the full moon (waning) and for plants to grow faster, we sow them before the full moon. The trees will be pruned at the waning moon to prevent the sap from flowing through the cuts. These are simple rules of observation.

What is the point of making your compost?

It is a matter of logic since composting is a matter of recycling. It is the ideal solution for an organic garden since you know what is in your compost. Then, from a citizen point of view, you limit the carbon consumption linked to the treatment of garbage because your household waste enters the compost and limit your garbage cans. A family of four disposes of 200 kg of waste per year, which can be transformed into 25 kg of compost!

Can everyone make their compost?

Of course, it's very simple! We can put everything except what is not organic! In town, you can't make your compost without a minimum of space; however, there are collective composting points where to deposit its waste and the city then reuses the land for green spaces. In the countryside, count 1 m² for a family of four and a turning area to be able to recover the land. Finally, in town as in the countryside, you can opt for vermicomposting and this even in your kitchen or your living room since there is no smell. In fact, it is a tiered bin where earthworms pass from one floor to another as the earth is made. It is quite fast and it will take you two to three months to get fertilizer but know that you have to be patient the first week while the worms adapt.

Could you give us a garden address that you like?

The Parisian public gardens all pay great attention to ecology, but I particularly like the Bercy gardens because there are several pleasant and informative ecological corners: an organic vegetable patch where educational activities take place, a rose garden, a citrus greenhouse , a fed up…

And where do you advise us to buy our seeds?

The Kokopeli association sells organic seeds from around the world with incredible varieties. She has fought for many years for the preservation of seeds and does a remarkable job! > More info on