Garden Basics

What Is Organic Gardening And How Easy Is It To Achieve

To garden organically means to garden with all-natural products, no chemicals or synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.

Organic gardening and sustainable landscaping is getting back to nature and is available to everyone. It is about first improving the ecosystem to sustain and nourish the soil, the microbes and beneficial insects and therefore nourish the plants naturally.  

Start an organic garden or improve an existing garden with organic principles.

Feed the soil, and it will feed the plants.

Organic Home Garden

organic-garden-at-home

Don't be overwhelmed by starting to garden organically at home. It's easier, healthier, cheaper, and much more fun and environmentally friendly than gardening with harmful practices.

  • Keep the soil covered and create the perfect soil.
  • Start to make your compost.
  • Propagate your plants from cuttings and seeds.
  • Collect rainwater.
  • Reuse and recycle.
  • Encourage wildlife and biodiversity.
  • Companion plant.

Keep The Soil Covered

soil-covering-with-crushed-stone

The benefits of keeping your soil covered at all times with a layer of mulch such as woodchips, compost, living mulch and even stones will ultimately establish a fertile layer of soil for all your future plantings.

A thick layer of mulch will also help to:

  • Prevent soil compaction
  • Protect against soil erosion
  • Conserve water
  • Control weeds

Using Natural Pest Control

natural-pest-control

Just because a pesticide such as neem oil is a natural product does not mean it will not kill beneficial insects.

If we interfere by using harmful pesticides, we upset the balance. When left alone, Mother Nature will keep the pest population in check. Here are a few things to give Mother Nature a helping hand naturally:

Building A Healthy Soil

healthy-soil

Building healthy soil is the first defense against garden pests. Building healthy soil will produce healthy plants, and these healthy plants will be able to resist being attacked by pests and diseases.

Pests will always go for the weakest stressed out plants, therefore building healthy soil helps keep the plants healthy and the pests away.

Try to keep digging to an absolute minimum, always mulch and compost regularly.

Plant A Variety Of Plants

mixed-planting-garden-bed

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to control garden pests is to interplant with a variety of plants.  

If you have a diversity of plants, it confuses the pests. They cannot pick up on the chemical scent of the plant, so they leave. Interplanting also encourages different pollinators that go from flower to flower.

Interplant onions and herbs amongst the other vegetables and in your flower beds as onions and mosts herbs deter pests.

Companion Planting

companion-planting-with-chives

Companion planting has been around since the year dot.

It is mostly used in vegetable gardens, such as planting marigolds and nasturtiums with your vegetables.

Plant fragrant herbs amongst your garden beds as most repel pests and their flowers attract the beneficial insects.

Attracting Beneficial Insects

ladybug

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden is another great natural way to reduce the pest population. Keep the beneficial insects happy by providing an environment that encourages them to stay.

Give the beneficial insects food, year-round shelter and water to keep them happy and content in your garden by providing them with lots of organic matter and never use harmful chemicals.

Harmful and even organic chemicals not only kill the bad bugs but will kill the good bugs too. Beneficials have a slower reproductive cycle than the pests.

If you use harmful chemicals and kill most of the pests, there will nothing left for the beneficial insects to eat, and they will leave your garden if the harmful chemicals didn't kill them. The next pest to arrive - and there will always be more - will have full reign of your garden.

Grow a selection of flowers that bloom at different times during the year, so there will always be food available. Allow your herbs and some of your vegetables to flower.

Keep the beneficial insects happy during winter by providing shelter. Only cut back your plants once the weather has warmed as this provides a winter home for them.

Encourage earthworms to multiply in the garden as their castings are one of the best organic fertilizers.

Beneficial Insects

Predators (eat pests)

Parasites (lay eggs inside pests)

Spiders

Brachonid Wasp

Ladybugs

Trichogramma Wasp

Praying Mantis


Lacewings


Dragonflies


Money Spiders


Hoverflies


Robber Flies


Assassin Bugs


Ground Beetles


Getting Rid Of Weeds Organically

weeding-the-garden

When you mulch regularly, pulling weeds is so much easier as the soil is fluffy and viable.

If you need to get rid of many weeds or turn a grass section into a garden bed, lay down cardboard or newspaper, water well and add a thick layer - 4-6 inches (10-15cm) of mulch, such as compost or woodchips on top of the paper. The weeds and paper will decompose and enrich the soil within a few weeks.

Irrigating Your Organic Garden

rainwater-haversting

Keeping your soil well mulched regularly and it will cut down on watering needs.

Collecting rainwater, if allowed, will go a long way towards keeping the water costs down.

Importance Of Organic Gardening

child-and-dog-playing-ball-in-garden

As plants become weaker because of chemical fertilization, pests will multiply. Then the poisonous insecticides are applied to kill the pests. The pests then became resistant to the insecticide, and so a cycle begins.

Buying produce at the supermarket that looks like it could be used to model at a photoshoot is not without poisons added to it. Shop bought tomatoes are all the same size and shape, and color - once you grow your organic tomatoes, you will notice the variations and the taste.

Knowing that your children and pets playing on your lawn or in your garden will be safe from harmful chemicals will keep your mind at peace.

Takeaways

  • Gardening organically creates a healthy and safe environment for ourselves, our families, plants, and wildlife in our garden.
  • Mulch, mulch and mulch. Always keep your garden well mulched.
  • Gardening organically will give you deep satisfaction and peace of mind.

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