Organic Gardening is essentially gardening the way nature would. Too often non-organic gardeners attempt to force a garden to comply with their wishes, contaminate the soil, vegetables and water table with pesticides and fertilizers, and spend a hefty amount for expensive soil treatments and exotic or hybrid plants. All of these might result in a pretty garden and big produce, but at a dangerous price.
Organic Gardening, on the other hand, is a basic method of gardening that was used for thousands of years prior to the invention of chemical treatments. It protects people and animals from the dangers of chemicals leeched into drinking water and sprayed on vegetables, it reuses kitchen and yard waste, and it maintains the natural diversity of native wildlife.
The keys to organic gardening include staying away from chemical pesticides and fertilizer, using organic compost, and gardening with plants suited to your local environment.
The basics steps to start organic gardening are:
Create Natural Compost. Building a compost heap is a basic step that you can take at any time. It basically turns your kitchen and yard waste into a pile of nutrient rich soil which you can separate out and spread around your garden plants.
You will need to start with some loose dirt, a bunch of worms, grass clipping, fall leaves, and kitchen waste. Simply pile all of these together and using a shovel or other turning device, mix the items up on a regular basis. Do not add meat or animal fat to the pile. Speed up the process by making sure large leaves and vegetables are chopped into smaller pieces first.
Use Natural Pest Control. There are natural ways to avoid the damage caused by garden pests. The solutions will vary based upon the problems you are encountering. Some natural solutions include the introduction of insects that prey upon insect pests, complete removal of roots of plant pests, and using fencing or certain edging plants to repel animal pests.
Since the problems and solutions vary greatly by location, soil type, amount of sun or shade, and types of plants, you will need to research your specific situation for the right type of pest control. A great place to start is OrganicGardening.com or your state agricultural outreach agency.
Buy Natural Fertilizer. The compost you are creating is one of the best fertilizers you can use on your plants. If you haven’t had time to develop any compost yet, you can purchase quality organic fertilizers. Many of these are specific to the type of plants you are growing. There is also the natural fertilizer that has been used for hundreds of years — manure. It is not a pleasant smelling fertilizer, and can increase the presence of mosquitos and flies, but it will help certainly help your garden grow if used appropriately.
Plant Native Plants. Plants that grow wild in your area are considered native plants. These have been a part of your local eco-system longer than people, they have not been brought from another region, and they will grow happily with little or no assistance.
These often are the wildflowers you see growing in unplowed fields or along the sides of country roads. They will reproduce themselves every year, either from seed or from root. Native plants are also suited to the local wildlife, and often are the food or shelter of choice for native birds and butterflies.
Time and effort are just about all that is needed to begin gardening organically. Making the switch will save you money and increase the health and environmental factors of your garden.
I will be starting a teeny tiny garden on our balcony this spring. I seriously miss having a garden and it will be nice to have veggies we grew ourselves. It will be different growing in containers, but I’m up for the challenge. KC
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Dawn and Kate