Vegetable garden Creole garden Lettuce Onion country MartiniqueVegetable garden Creole garden Lettuce Onion country Martinique
©Vegetable garden Creole garden Lettuce Onion country Martinique|MDES

The Creole Garden

At a time when agro-ecology has the wind in its sails, the Creole garden is regaining its credentials. Traditional in the West Indies, it endures among many inhabitants of Martinique, also called “jardin bo kay“. It is the result of Amerindian traditions and colonization allowing then the inhabitants and slaves a small food autonomy. It is a self-sufficiency garden in which one finds food, medicinal and ornamental plants. This type of garden is found throughout the Caribbean, Central America, Africa, Asia, India and even Europe (it is the same principle as the French priest’s garden).

An ancestral know-how

The Creole garden, a small plot of land (rarely larger than 200 m2), bears witness to an ancestral know-how in its structure – with different strata, from grasses to trees – and in the thoughtful association of necessary plant species. Each has its role: here to provide nitrogen to neighboring plants, there to cover the soil by fighting erosion. Even if nowadays the Creole garden has a role as a food supplement, it remains very popular.

The Creole garden as a source of inspiration

The subject of numerous studies for its exceptional yield (up to 70% more than in monoculture!), it emerges that it is precisely the multiplicity of species planted that ensures better harvests with less pollution and no pesticides… If it has not yet delivered all its secrets, it appears today as a model of agro-ecology.

The food crops grown in the "bo kay garden"

in the "bo kay garden"


yam, cassava, malanga, sweet potato, taro

Cereals and vegetables:

corn, beans, peas, pigeon peas…

– Vegetable plants:

tomato, cucumber, caribbean pumpkin, eggplant, cabbage…

Aromatic plants:

cinnamon, chili, chives, parsley

Medicinal plants:

bitter thyme, lemon grass, rosemary


pineapple, banana, mango, guava


A Pesticide-Free Garden

Planting on the same patch of land 5 different vegetables is effective against pests. As a matter of fact, each vegetable attracts different insects that will compete with each other instead of attacking the plants. Thus no need to pollute the soil with different insecticides or pesticides!