What is organic gardening?
Organic gardening involves using the principles of organic horticulture in your garden. Issues such as how the soil is built, how the soil is nurtured, and how pests are managed are of paramount importance to organic gardening. Basically, organic gardening involves working in cooperation with nature in your garden.
Quite simply, in practical terms, organic gardening means that you would not use synthetic products or chemicals, including pesticides or fertilizers. You would use sensible methods to replenish the soil like feeding the soil with composted plants, or rotating the plants that are planted in a given area to allow the soil to get enriched.
Creating and maintaining an organic garden can be a very satisfying experience for a gardener .
Why is the soil so important?
The soil needs to be fed and nourish, so that it can nourish our plants in turn. This simple, common sense idea is a core principle in organic gardening.
You can encounter types of soil in a garden. Clay soil is rich in nutrients and holds water better, but the soil can sometimes hold the water too well and not let enough air in. Sandy soil, on the other hand drains water well, but is usually low in nutrients. The idea, in either case, is to add some organic matter to improve the soil’s nutrient content and texture so it will support plant growth better.
How can you eliminate pests without chemicals?
If you are an organic gardener, does it means that you have to live with pests in your garden? That certainly seems to be a common question in the minds of gardeners unfamiliar with the tenets and methods of organic gardening.
Firstly, the gardener needs to remain diligent in watching over the plants in his garden, and keeping an eye on their health before matters are real bad. Secondly, the key is to adopt a mindset of acting in a way that is in cooperation with nature. Thirdly, the gardener has to become more knowledgeable about the specific issues they face and simple, and natural options that may be there to solve them.
Sometimes, with pest control, if you know the exact nature of your pest problem, you may not need to do anything at all because the invader’s time in your garden may be strictly temporary, and they’ll be gone at the end of the season forever. It is not necessary to be trigger-ready to kill the pests all the time, with this approach.
Another example, with pest control, is the use of friendly insects that would, in turn prey on the insects afflicting your plants. This is an example of using a method consistent with nature itself, where there is a natural food chain of insects that feed off other insects. Ladybugs love to eat aphids. Birds will eat grubs.
Yet another example is to use physical barriers like sticky traps to catch flying insects. Simple, yet safe and effective methods like this abound.
Here are some commonly used techniques to keep your garden thriving, organically:
- Allow for some pest damage. i.e. Don’t set the target to be 100% pest free.
- Select plants carefully. Choose varieties that are disease resistant.
- Use smart planting of companion crops that can discourage pests naturally
- Rotate crops from year to year to disrupt pest reproduction cycles
- Use physical barriers like row covers to protect plants during pest migrations
Becoming aware of methods like these will empower the gardener make wise choices in dealing with pests in the garden.
How can you enrich the soil without fertilizers?
There are many ways to keep your soil nutrient rich , without resorting to chemical fertilizers.
You can use “green manure”. Green manure is a type of crop that is grown for a specific period, with the main idea of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Leguminous green manures like clover and vetch fix the soil’s nitrogen content in a manner that plants can use. Other green manure crops can help increase the biomass in the soil. Some cover crops behave as natural weed suppressants while preventing soil erosion and compaction at the same time. Oat, Rye, Fava Beans, Clover, Mustard, Fenugreek etc. are all popular green manures.
You can use “compost”. Compost is basically a combination of plants, animal materials, and other organic materials decomposed into a rich black soil. When added to the soil, compost provides nutrients and a rich growing medium for plants. You can make compost yourself by using vegetable, food and other organic waste materials from your home. Compose is natural fertilizer for plants, and there are many methods and materials available for preparing compost.
You can use “mulching”. Much is a protective ground cover placed over the soil to help it retain its moisture, and suppress weed growth . Organic mulches also provide nutrients to the soil as the cover decays.
As an organic gardener, you work in sync with nature, and adopting nature-friendly ways to prepare your soil, nourish your soil and keep it safe and healthy. All this without ever having to resort to polluting, dangerous and toxic chemicals!
There are plenty of resources available online that you can avail by using this guide to the best Web resources on organic gardening.
For the best Web resources on other gardening related topics , please consult this gardening guide.