It's an important issue - how to proceed when you are fairly ignorant but the experts contradict each other? The further we go along the route to self-sufficiency the more important it is to have a good answer to that question. Do we chain ourselves to an ideology - organic, permaculture, biodynamic or anything else - so we are always certain what to do? Or do we pick one expert and follow their advice (if my granddad was still alive I might be very tempted by this option)? Or do I decide that I know best and go stubbornly my own way?
Then I realised I already had an answer to this conundrum. It's an approach I used when planning my homebirths, and then continued to use it for raising the children (which is quite similar to gardening - everyone has an opinion and every opinion is different). This is what I do:
- listen to all the available advice - from people, books, the internet, the instructions printed on seed packets . . .
- weigh up all the different options, giving more serious consideration to some and dismissing others quite quickly
- choose a course of action which seems best to me, but I remember all the options I discarded
- if it works, I stick with it. If it doesn't work, next time I try something different.