Most home gardeners want to do as much organic gardening as they can, but often feel it will mean more work or won't work as well as using chemical gardening products. Both of those premises are not true. By following these 10 organic gardening tips, the effort and time spent having to weed, fertilize, and spray will actually be cut back substantially. Often organic gardening methods will last longer and solve more gardening problems than quick fix chemical methods.
1. Control weeds by mulching heavily with leaves or straw placed over several layers of newspapers or cardboard. Check with the newspaper printing office to be sure the ink used in printing is safe. Grass clippings from the yard usually contain seeds from the grass or other weeds and with some grasses even the grass clippings will re-root in the garden. Also be sure to play Santa Claus with any weeds that do come up, well before they go to seed, you know - hoe, hoe, hoe!
2. Place soaker hoses under the layers of paper and mulch, to water more efficiently and cut back on water loss due to evaporation. Use a rain barrel and gutters to catch free water for the garden. This water is free from any treatment additives and would otherwise just be runoff.
3. Buy vegetable varieties that are resistant to plant diseases such as anthracnose, powdery mildew, fusarium, verticillium,, tobacco mosaic and nematodes.
4. Instead of using commercial fast release fertilizers that do not improve the soil structure and add to water pollution problems, use slower acting organic plant nutrients. Some good sources of organic fertilizers are; cotton seed meal, bone meal, compost, fish emulsions, and wood ashes.
5. In the fall preceding the gardening season, add soil improving and nutrient containing materials such as fall leaves, a green cover crop, a layer of compost, along with some rotted manure, to the garden soil and till it in well. The materials will breakdown through the winter months and release their nutrients next spring and summer.
6. Don't over react to pests, a few worms in the corn or on the beans won't ruin the whole crop. Use hand picking and the old two-step to deal with limited infestations. Stink bugs can be knocked into cans containing kerosene or mineral spirits. Watch for clusters of eggs or young insects to destroy them before they cause damages.
7. Use the least toxic methods for dealing with major insect outbreaks. Insecticidal soaps, light weight oils, and strong jets of water can be used for aphids and white flies. BT (bacteria thuringiensis) is a safe treatment for all kinds of caterpillars. Diatomaceous earth can be used to treat for many kinds of insects and it is non toxic to other life forms if used correctly.
8. Make your own topsoil through composting kitchen wastes, yard wastes, and garden wastes. Done correctly, compost will be weed and disease free and is a great way to recycle. By controlling what goes into the garden, there will be less danger of dangerous chemicals building up in the soil.
9. If nematodes are a problem, use soil solarization and organic, chitin based soil treatments to control them. Soil solarization can be used to sterilize soils, killing off many soil pests and weed seeds.
10. Use beneficial insects, soil organisms, and companion plants in the garden to fight pests. Lacewings, ladybugs, beneficial nematodes, marigolds, basil, mints, and many herbs, can all be used to repel and kill many garden pests.
For more useful vegetable gardening information check out my website using the link given under my avatar above.