Whether you’re an amateur gardener or knowledgeable expert, it’s never too late to learn about organic gardening. So, what is organic gardening? And how does it differ to conventional gardening? Read on to learn more about why you should take up this environmentally friendly gardening method.
Organic gardening revolves around using natural systems and materials, respecting the environment and eco-system around you. This means things such as pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals are not used. Instead, organic gardeners look for other substances and techniques that are just as effective – but more eco-friendly.
Sometimes, chemicals like pesticides are harmful to humans as well as the planet. Firstly, such chemicals that are sprayed onto the plants will contaminate the soil, water supply and air. Meaning that the atmosphere and environment can be contaminated for decades after. By gardening organically, you’re preventing such substances from getting into the atmosphere. Other main benefits include:
There are various non-chemical ways to discourage pests from destroying your crops. Including floating row covers, crop rotation, sticky traps and homemade pesticides. Homemade sprays can be made with vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and castile soap. All of which are safer to use than chemical solutions. Alternatively, pests can also be sprayed off with bursts of water, though this is best on more hardy, durable plants.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to starting organic gardening:
Organic gardening begins with the soil. The richer and healthier the soil, the better the growing environment for plants and vegetables. This way of gardening supports the micro-organisms that live in the soil. Test your soil type with a home testing kit. This will tell you the pH and nutrient levels. It will help you pick the right plants to suit your garden.
Create your own home compost! Start collecting vegetable peels, coffee grounds, garden trimmings and tea bags. Then either make your own compost bin or simply add them to a heap at the end of the garden. You can then use this natural compost to bring your organic garden to life.
Furthermore, it’s best to select your plants from your local farmer’s market. That way you know which plants are native to your area and work best with your soil type. Many plants are best grown from seed, such as poppies, coriander, fill, sweet peas and squash. You can plant them in raised flower beds. This will keep the pests at bay and promote circulation.
One top tip for organic gardening is to water your plants in the morning. This is because there’s less wind and so little water is lost to evaporation. Also, water should ideally be collected rainwater. You can do this by placing a container underneath a redirected drainpipe or invest in a water butt.
Finally, harvesting your organic produce is the best bit! The general rule is to harvest often, as then the plants will continue to produce more. Check your garden every day, especially if you’re growing herbs or salad greens. Additionally, it’s always better to cut with a sharp knife or scissors. Tearing off or pulling the crops can damage the plant tissue.
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