Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening

 

If you plan and take care of your Organic Garden, you’ll save money, enjoy a fulfilling hobby, and take good care of your health.

 

“Organic Gardening” is the term for growing fruits and vegetables without relying on synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or fertilizers.  This does not mean that you do not feed your soil and that you cannot control weeds or pests. There are many natural ways to maintain your garden.

 

By eating organic produce, you can limit the amount of genetically modified foods that you consume.  There are many preservatives, colors, dyes, fertilizers and chemicals that are added to foods in order to enhance the look and shelf life of fruits and vegetables.  Without these additives, you will consume more natural vitamins and minerals and boost your immune system.  It’s true that organic fruits and vegetables can be expensive — BUT not if you grow them yourself!  Going organic in your garden is easier than you might expect, and the impressive yields you can obtain with natural methods may surprise you.

 

Organic gardening is all about stewardship.  It’s managing your garden for long term yields.  This means having a give-and-take relationship with your soil.  You give the soil rich organic nutrients, and the soil gives you the freshest fruits and vegetables possible.  You also need to learn your soil’s strengths and weaknesses.  Climate and soil type help to dictate what and when you plant.  If you grow plants that don’t fit your climate and soil conditions, you may have to add too much to the soil to get a reasonable harvest.

 

Here’s what you can do to “Go Organic”:

 

  • Build your Soil
    • Composting occurs in nature and is a process that keeps organic nutrients cycling from soil to plants and back to the soil.  You can use organic waste from your home to return needed nutrients to the soil. Things like fruit peels, grass clipping, leaves, etc. are great materials to recycle and mix into garden soil. Composting has many benefits, including: (1) Reducing municipal waste, (2) Improving soil moisture retention, (3) Boosting plants’ immune systems, and (4) Reducing the need for chemical fertilizers.
    • Successful composting depends on the proper mix of “green” material and “brown” material. Green provides nitrogen, Brown provides carbon. With proper air circulation and moisture in your compost bin, a mix of two parts green to one part brown should decompose fairly quickly.
    • There’s a ready supply of both green and brown materials in the average household.  Kitchen scraps such as orange and banana peels, for instance, would be considered “green,” while fallen leaves would be “brown.”  So you can use the leaves you rake in autumn for compost, as well as for mulch.

 

  • Fertilize your Garden with Organic Compost
    • Using organic fertilizers that are created from plant compose and manures, you will recover and recycle nutrients important for plant growth.  Their slow release maintains healthy balanced growth and improves life-supporting soil over the whole season.
    • Chemical fertilizers round out the “big 3” of environmental pollutants in landscaping.  Fortunately, it’s very simple for homeowners to switch to a natural approach when it comes to providing the landscape with nutrients.  For instance, did you know that you can be mowing your lawn and fertilizing your lawn simultaneously?  Well, you can, at least if you use mulching mowers.  With mulching mowers, you can let the grass clippings fall where they may, acting as an organic fertilizer.

 

  • Use Organic Mulches in your Garden
    • Reduce yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer and mulch.
    • Compost also helps with aeration in soil, as well as helping soil retain water better — so that you won’t have to water as much.
    • Got a soil that’s too clayey?  Add compost and it will help clayey soil drain faster.
    • Got a soil that’s too sandy? Add compost and it will help sandy soil retain water longer.

     

    Composting at Home

    Recycling organic matter into soil conditioning, fertilization, and enrichment material requires a process that is known as composting. It is a technique that uses living organisms to enrich the soil that plants need in order to grow and stay healthy. Composting is a great and inexpensive way to help the environment as well as cut down on the need for fertilizers and some types of pesticides.
     
    To learn how to compose at home, go to: www.improvenet.com/a/guide-to-composting-at-home
     
    A big “Thank You” goes out to librarian Diane Miller (and her after school study group of bright kids who are learning about online research) for finding this information about composting at home!