Organic Garden Tips

An organic garden is exactly the same as a regular garden except that there are no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides used. This can make certain aspects at times difficult, such as controlling disease, insects, and weeds. Backyard organic gardening also requires more attention to the soil and the many needs of individual plants.

An organic garden starts with the soil. Gardeners must add organic matter to the soil regularly in order to keep the soil productive. In fact, compost is essential to the healthiness and well being of plants grown organically. Organic gardening compost can be made from leaves, dead flowers, vegetable scraps, fruit rinds, grass clippings, manure, and many other nature composter elements. The ideal soil has a dark color, sweet smell, and is full of earthworms. Some soils may need more natural additives than regular compost can give, such as bonemeal, rock phosphates, or greensand. A simple soil test will tell you the pH balance and which nutrients you will need to add.

One thing that makes even serious organic gardeners reach for pesticides every now and again is the infestation of pests upon their plants. The best way to defend plants against these pests is to take preventative measures. For instance, make sure your plants stay healthy, not too wet or dry because insects usually attack unhealthy plants. If a plant remains healthy, they can often outgrow minor insect damage. Maintaining a variety of plant types is also a good idea. This will keep pests of a particular plant type from taking over the entire garden.

Perhaps the best way to defend against insects is to make your garden friendly to insect predators, such as ladybugs, birds, frogs, and lizards. You can do this by keeping a water source nearby or by growing plants that attract insects that feed on nectar. Other ideas are sticky traps, barriers, and plant collars. There are some household items that prevent against insects too, like insecticidal soaps, garlic, and hot pepper.

To avoid plant disease in backyard organic gardening, choose disease resistant plants and plant them in their prime conditions. Many diseases will spread because of constant moisture and bad air circulation, so the site of your garden and the way it is watered can help protect your plants against diseases.

Weeds can be an annoying and frustrating part of backyard organic gardening. Organic mulch can act as a weed barrier, but for even better protection put a layer of newspaper, construction paper, or cardboard under the mulch. Corn meal gluten will slow the growth of weeds if spread early in the season before planting, as does solarization. There’s also the old-fashioned art of hoeing and hand pulling that always works. Your best bet in weed prevention is persistence. Mulch well and pull and hoe what you can; after a few seasons you can beat the weeds for good.

Backyard organic gardening is an excellent way to assure that your plants will be free and clear of all pesticides and, if taken care of properly, will be as healthy as possible. Backyard organic gardening may take a little more time and care than regular gardening, but after gardeners get the hang of it and figure out all the quirks of their garden, it is definitely worth the extra time.

Kali Winters is a gardening enthusiast and author who spends much of her time teaching others how to setup and maintain beautiful, amazing gardens. Her latest book, “Holistic Herbs~A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening” is available Here!

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