What is organic gardening?
Organic gardening brings the principles of organic agriculture to your garden. This involves matters such as how soil is built, how soil is conserved, and how pests are managed. From a big picture point of view, organic gardening involves working in cooperation with nature. It involves viewing your garden as part of nature as a whole.
In simple terms, organic gardening means that you grow your garden without using synthetic products or chemicals such as those used in pesticides and fertilizers. With organic gardening, you will be using sensible and natural methods to replinish your soil like feeding the soil with compost, and rotating plants to different areas each year to get the soil enriched naturally.
Creating and maintaining an organic garden can be fun and satisfying .
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.
Soil can be of different types. 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.
The gardener’s job of watching over the garden and plants diligently remains the most important first step. Secondly, the key is to adopt a mindset of acting in a way that is in cooperation with nature. Thirdly, the gardener has to recognize that old methods of gardening won’t necessarily be consistent with the desire to be an organic gardener, and so they have to commit to become more knowledgeable about the specific issues faced by their plants and then look for natural options 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.
Sometimes, it is valuable to look to nature to see if there are other insect that are natural predators for the pests inflicting your plants. If so, it would suffice to introduce a small number of the “beneficial insects” into your garden to solve your pest problem. For example, ladybugs love to eat aphids.
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
- Move crops around the garden and rotate crops from year to year to disrupt the cycles of pest reproduction
- Use row covers to protect plants during pest migrations
Becoming knowledgeable with methods like these will help 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 have nutrient-rich soil , 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 sole purpose of adding nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Leguminous green manures like clover and vetch fix the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil 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 suppresants 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 a decomposed combination of plants, animal and other organic materials that is rich, black soil. As an additive to the soil, compost provides a rich growing medium and nutrients 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 special kind of ground cover placed over the soil to help it retain its moisture, and suppress weeds from growing . Organic mulches also provide nutrients to the soil as the cover decays.
As an organic gardener, you work in synch 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.