Organic Gardening Tips

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Lawn & Garden

Organic gardening is becoming increasingly popular due to its effectiveness. Organic gardeners avoid using synthetic chemicals to protect their gardens from potential hazards. However, the true success of organic gardens lies in the techniques used to promote strong plant growth without relying heavily on sprays. Organic gardening focuses on the soil, which is the life force of any garden.


Add air to your compost pile by placing a PVC pipe in the middle of it.
Check out more garden ideas in the pictures.

When soil is enriched with organic matter, it becomes fertile, moist and airy, which makes it ideal for growing healthy plants. Additionally, it provides a rich habitat for beneficial organisms such as earthworms and nutrient-releasing bacteria. It also promotes root-extending fungi, which help create optimal growing conditions.

Organic gardeners also prioritize prevention when it comes to gardening problems. Properly planting and watering plants in the right amount of sunlight and soil, as well as with adequate spacing, allows most plants to thrive with minimal obstacles.

Learn More

  • Composting
  • Organic Farming
  • TreeHugger: Vermicomposting

This article provides some basic tips for organic gardening. We begin with composting.

  • Layer leaves, lawn clippings, and kitchen waste to make compost the easy way. Then, let it sit until ready. No matter how organic matter is presented, nature’s recyclers will take it and transform it into rich, dark compost. However, the process takes longer in an untended pile.

    To start your compost heap, dump yard scraps in a far corner of your yard. It’s best to have an equal amount of soft or green material (fresh leaves and manure) and brown or hard material (chopped twigs and dead leaves). Alternatively, you can contain compost materials neatly in a wooden slat or wire mesh bin. If you put an access door on the bottom of the bin, you can scoop out the finished compost at the bottom while the rest continues to decay.

  • Jump-start the decay of organic materials in a new compost pile by adding compost starter or good garden soil.
  • Optional Compost-Making EquipmentThese items will come in handy when starting your own compost:

    • Wire composting bin
    • Stackable composting bin
    • Wooden composting bin
    • Vented plastic bins
    • Worm boxes
    • Compost tumbler
    • Compost inoculant
    • Garden fork
    • Compost thermometer
    • Sifting screen

    To start a compost pile, one can use compost starter that can be found in garden centers or ordered from mail-order garden catalogs. Compost starter has decay-causing microorganisms, and some brands contain nutrients, enzymes, hormones, and other stimulants that help decomposers work faster. It can be particularly helpful for hard-to-compost materials like wood chips and sawdust or for quick decay of brown leaves. Good garden or woodland soil contains native decomposers that are well able to tackle a compost pile. It is less expensive than compost starter and can be sprinkled among the yard scraps as the pile is being built.

    To aerate compost piles, one can use perforated PVC pipes. An ideal compost pile will reach three to four feet high, and it needs to be warm enough to steam on a cool morning to semi-sterilize the developing compost by killing disease spores, pests, and weed seeds. However, decomposers need plenty of air to work efficiently and create heat, and not just at the surface of the pile. Aeration is traditionally provided by fluffing or turning the pile with a pitchfork, which can be hard work. Using a perforated pipe in the center of the pile can avoid this.

    To start a compost pile, one can use a bed of branched sticks that will allow air to rise from below. Add a perforated pipe in the center, and build layers of old leaves, grass clippings, and other garden leftovers around it. The air will flow through the pipe into the pile. On-site composting is an easy way to improve soil. Old leaves, livestock manure, and/or green vegetable scraps can be left in or beside the garden until they rot, then worked into the soil. They can also be heaped on the garden in the fall and tilled into the soil. They will decay by spring. One can also dig a hole, dump in the yard waste, cover it with a little soil, and let it rot in privacy.

    When using fertilizer, whether organic or not, it is important to read the package directions to ensure the proper amount is used. Organic fertilizer is a great way to improve plant growth in the garden.

    Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

    Organic fertilizers require a larger volume than synthetic chemical fertilizers because they contain fewer nutrients by weight, typically ranging from 1 to 7 percent. In contrast, an inorganic lawn fertilizer may contain up to 30 percent nitrogen, which is more than four times the amount found in organic fertilizers. It’s important to read the package labels to determine how much fertilizer to use depending on the type of plant and time of year. Additionally, lower-dose organic fertilizers are less likely to damage plant roots or cause nutrient overdoses. Organic fertilizers release nutrients slowly, providing a long-term nutrient supply. They may also contain lesser nutrients, enzymes, and hormones that benefit growth.

    To encourage growth in new plantings, potted flowers, or slow-growing plants, use fish emulsion fertilizer. Fish emulsion is high in nitrogen and easily absorbed by plants. Follow the package directions for best results.

    For more gardening tips, check out:

    • Gardening Tips: Learn great helpful hints for all of your gardening needs.
    • Annuals: Plant these beauties in your garden.
    • Perennials: Choose great plants that will return year after year.
    • Gardening: Discover how to garden.

    Natural Pest Control

    You can eliminate pests from your garden without using harmful pesticides and chemicals. Consider alternative methods such as building a toad house, which is an excellent natural pest repellent.

    A toad house is an excellent natural pest repellent.

    How to Control Pests in Your Garden Organically

    If you want to keep your garden healthy without using harmful chemicals, try these organic pest control methods:

    • Attract toads: Add toad houses to your garden to encourage toads to eat the bugs that can damage your plants. To attract them, provide hiding places, keep the soil moist, avoid toxic chemicals, and be careful when tilling or shoveling.
    • Use organic repellents: Sprays made from hot peppers, coyote or bobcat urine, rotten eggs, bonemeal, bloodmeal, or castor oil can make your plants unappetizing to rodents and deer. Reapply frequently and after rain.
    • Grow marigolds: French or American marigolds can help kill nematodes in the soil that can damage crops. Plant them in and around susceptible plants or till them into the soil before planting potatoes or tomatoes.

    Following these tips can help you have a healthy garden without harming the environment. Check out our other gardening tips for more helpful information!

    FAQ

    1. What is organic gardening?

    Organic gardening is a method of growing plants without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or genetically modified seeds. It involves using natural methods to improve soil fertility, control pests and diseases, and promote healthy plant growth.

    2. Why is organic gardening important?

    Organic gardening is important as it helps to protect the environment and promotes sustainable agriculture. It also improves soil health and produces healthy, chemical-free food that is good for our health.

    3. How can I start an organic garden?

    To start an organic garden, you need to prepare the soil by adding compost, manure, or other organic matter. Choose plants that are well-suited to your climate and soil type, and use natural methods to control pests and diseases.

    4. What are some natural pest control methods?

    Some natural pest control methods include using companion planting, physical barriers, crop rotation, and introducing beneficial insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises.

    5. Can I use chemical fertilizers in organic gardening?

    No, chemical fertilizers are not allowed in organic gardening. Organic gardeners use natural fertilizers such as compost, manure, and bone meal to improve soil fertility.

    6. How do I control weeds in an organic garden?

    You can control weeds in an organic garden by using mulch, hand weeding, and hoeing. Covering the soil with a layer of straw, leaves, or grass clippings can also help to suppress weeds.

    7. What are some good plants to grow in an organic garden?

    Some good plants to grow in an organic garden include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and herbs. These are easy to grow and are typically not affected by pests and diseases as much as other plants.

    8. How often should I water my organic garden?

    The frequency of watering your organic garden will depend on the climate and soil conditions in your area. Generally, most plants need to be watered once a week, but this may vary depending on the weather and the type of plant.

    9. Can I use non-organic seeds in an organic garden?

    Yes, you can use non-organic seeds in an organic garden, but they must not be genetically modified. It is recommended to use organic seeds as they are untreated and free from synthetic chemicals.

    10. How can I make my own organic compost?

    You can make your own organic compost by collecting kitchen scraps, yard waste, and other organic materials. Layer these materials in a compost bin or pile and add water and oxygen. Over time, the materials will break down into a rich, nutrient-dense compost that can be used to fertilize your garden.

    11. Should I use pesticides in my organic garden?

    No, pesticides are not allowed in organic gardening. Organic gardeners use natural pest control methods such as companion planting and introducing beneficial insects.

    12. How can I maintain soil health in my organic garden?

    You can maintain soil health in your organic garden by adding organic matter such as compost and manure, practicing crop rotation, and avoiding the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Regular soil testing can also help you to maintain the proper pH and nutrient levels in your soil.

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