Organic gardening is not so hard to make when you take the time to actually study and do some research as to the best possible approach to accomplish your goals. Naturally wholesome, environmentally friendly gardening is more of what is not used, such as synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetically altered organisms, growth hormones, or anything that does not meet the basic requirements, standards, and strict guidelines set by the USDA. Natural gardening is becoming increasingly popular, or in the least, more desirable, than conventionally grown foods.
Preparing your soil is an important first step, and one that many easily overlook. Natural nutrient rich potting soil is readily available at most garden shops, and is always good to keep on hand, if you do not keep a compost going. Your compost can be any combination of grass clippings, vegetable scraps, fall leaves, even decaying plant waste, or any other organic matter, all which are the best components that will make up the fundamental ingredients and building blocks for a healthy and productive garden. Add the compost to the soil about ten to twelve inches down, smooth over with the rake, and dig up any weeds that spring up over the next few days or weeks. Incorporating nutrient rich organic matter to your soil helps to create a more balanced ecosystem, a healthy environment in which your garden grows and thrives. When you are ready to plant, dig out a shallow trench and plant your seeds. The soil should be moist before planting the seeds, as they may wash away if watered after planting, press the seeds into the soil to make sure there is good soil contact. There is no special way to organize a garden, and is entirely up to the gardener. As the surface dries, sprinkle with water or until the seeds start to grow.
Chemical Free Mulch For Natural Weed Control
Use mulch as it helps to nourish the soil, retain moisture, and control weeds. As mulch decomposes, it will enrich the soil, provide necessary nutrients, and prevents weed seeds from taking root. Mulch can be found at most garden supply stores, or if you prefer to go natural on your own, you can make your own mulch from natural sources, such as table scraps, cut grass, fallen leaves, tree bark, or even hay, or a variety of other organic matter. Although mulch also consists of organic material, it is not fully decomposed, and it should be placed on the top of the soil, where it will continue to decompose, help retain moisture while it prevents weeds and erosion of topsoil. Grass clippings are good for mulching, although they will decompose quickly, they can, however, become matted, so use wisely. Shredded leaves are many gardeners’ favorite mulches, as with grass clippings, they are plentiful and natural. Keep in mind, if leaves are not shredded, they can become matted, preventing water from getting through to the soil. The use of newspaper is a favorite for many, as many newspapers have converted to the use of organic or vegetable dyes, it will not harm the environment or your garden. Layer the newspaper down, moisten lightly, and spread another organic type of mulch over the newspaper. Newspaper mulch works well to help keep weeds at bay, keeps soil moist, and good for maintaining soil temperature.
Insects and pests are very much an integral part of any garden, and many are beneficial and vital to the delicate balancing act of natures’ ecosystem. Keeping your vegetables and plants healthy in the first place is one of the best defenses. Pests tend to attack and prey on unhealthy plants and vegetables, so it is important to make sure they are in an environment that they are well-suited for, and that they are not too dry, wet, and that they have enough sunlight, and are not undernourished. A natural and truly organic way to abate and reduce unwanted pests is to use harmless predatory insects, such as lacewings and ladybugs. The larvae will eat the insects and pests while they enjoy and feed upon the flowers’ nectar. Other helpful predators are lizards, toads, even spiders and certain birds. As your vegetable garden grows, it is important to keep all bad or infected leaves and plants removed. There are natural pesticides that contain neem oil that work well, and some gardeners even use hot pepper or soapy water sprays.
Diverse Mix Using Companion Planting
As you continue to research and experiment with gardening, you are sure to discover new tips and tricks. One such strategy is companion planting. Many organic gardeners have adopted this practice, and have found that it is mutually beneficial for the garden and environment. There are so many different combinations of flowers and vegetables that work so well together, attract the right predator pests, and provide needed shade, as well as combinations that repel undesirable and unwanted insects and bugs. It is well-known that garlic chives and roses work well together, as the rose pests are naturally repelled by the garlic chives. Cabbage family plants and dill is a good combination, the dill helps to control pests that are damaging to the cabbage family plants. Basil grown with tomatoes and asparagus helps repel flies, aphids, mosquitos, and a host of many more pests. Coriander grown with many vegetables repels aphids, while attracting bees. Marigolds are a winning combination to tomatoes, strawberries, roses, beans, and potatoes. Marigolds discourage destructive nematodes. Just as there are many winning combinations, it is important to do the research, as there are also incompatible combinations. Understanding the symbiotic relationship in what nature provides, allowing nature to do its job, the natural holistic concept of companion planting will encourage a healthy garden and harvest.