Lots of gardeners love organic gardening techniques as a means of growing a bounty of edible, delicious crops, never using any of the man-made fertilizers or chemicals. Organic growing methods benefit wildlife because many of the chemicals used by some gardeners cause an imbalance in nature’s food chain because of garden run-off.
Growing flowers organically produces blooms and foliage that are just as beautiful as when using chemicals. Growing food for your family organically guarantees produce that tastes better and you’ll know exactly how it was grown. It is not hard to change the way you garden. At first, it might feel a little daunting, but you will reap long-term benefits.
Here are ten ways to begin organic gardening:
- Improve your soil. To promote healthy plant growth, good soil is required. Composted bark, leaf mould, and garden compost can be amended into the soil or spread over the surface where worms and weather will get it into the soil. The bulk with which you amend the soil will create better drainage in heavy soil and let dry soil hold moisture and nutrients much better.
- Make your own compost. Peelings, pruning’s, old flower heads, tea bags, and even small pieces of newsprint can become rich, nutrient-filled compost. Just fill a compost bin with a mixture of both brown and green material, always avoiding the use of only green items such as lawn clippings, and the mixture will become a smelly sludge. Get the biggest compost bin you can fit into your garden. If the bin is small, try a compact, neat worm bin.
- Choose the right plants. Sturdy plants are not as prone to pests or disease, so choose plants to grow that fit your garden location and soil. Select plants that are naturally disease resistant varieties, such as tomatoes like “Ferline” which is blight-resistant or “Resistafly” carrots that resist the carrot fly.
- Control weeds naturally. Reduce weeds by spreading a thick layer of bark mulch mixed with composted straw and leaf mould over your soil. If weeds do sneak in, pull them before the get a chance to set seed. You can compost weed seedlings but don’t incorporate tough weeds with big root systems in the compost bin because they will reproduce in the heap of compost.
- Control insects naturally. If you have pest problems you can use biological controls bought from mail-order suppliers. There are many available, including tiny parasitic wasps that can be used to control whitefly in greenhouses and a microscopic worm that kills vine weevil grubs.
- Make wildlife work for you. When you plants are attacked, resist the urge to reach for a chemical spray. You can, instead, make a garden haven for birds, insects, and animals and they will take care of any pest problems for you. Welcome hedgehogs and toads which devour slugs and snails, invite lacewings and ladybirds which devour the greenfly. Install some bug boxes and habitats’ for these creatures to hibernate inside.
- Control diseases naturally. Rotate crops by switching the position of various crops each year to avoid building up disease in the soil. Don’t let your plants become dried out because they will be stressed and will be more likely to succumb to disease.
- Try companion planting. Grow plants with strong scents beside food crops so the pests will be confused to attracted away from the food crops. One example is planting French marigolds around tomatoes to avoid whitefly infestations. strongly scented plants alongside crops so they either confuse pests or attract them away from the vegetables. For instance, plant French marigolds near tomatoes to deter whitefly.
- Patrol your garden. Inspecting plants often can prevent major trouble. If a few greenflies are present, squish them before the become a real outbreak. Prune away diseased plant parts before the disease can spread.
- Learn to live with imperfection. When gardening the organic way, you want your plants to thrive, but lean to accept the odd leaf that’s nibbled and be ready to sacrifice some seedlings or fruits. This way you will learn to garden without fertilizers and chemical pesticides.