Organic Gardening – The Natural Way

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Organic Gardening – The Natural Way

Organic gardening is the practice of growing vegetables, flowers and other plants with the use of only natural materials and methods. No man made chemicals are used. Organic gardening is more that just the use of natural materials it has to do with understanding the balances in nature and applying those to our gardening and farming endeavors and work in harmony with nature. Organic gardening is growing in popularity.

Organic gardening includes:

a) Proper planning

b) Soil preparation

c) Fertilizing

d) Irrigation

e) Mulching

f) Pest and weed control

Organic gardening requires a solid plan. First of all, one must decide if the quantity of what we grow can be consumed and /or stored for future use. Also, a location must be picked. The location should be a well drained plot of land with water nearby. The plot should be close to home with plenty of sunlight.

The plot of land should be prepared a few weeks in advance since organic fertilizers and soil conditioners are slow in working. The soil must be tilled (broken up) and made ready to accept the fertilizer. Part of the preparation is testing the soil to determine what kinds of fertilizer must be applied. Testing is done using a soil probe to take samples of the soil. The samples should be sent to a professional testing lab for a determination of what the soil needs to make it fit to grow your crops.

Animal manures can be used as fertilizer. Cow horse or hog manure should be applied at 25 pounds per 100 square feet. Poultry and sheep manure should be applied at the ratio of 12 pounds per 100 square feet and rabbits and goat manure at 10-12 pounds per 100 square feet. These fertilizers can be broadcast over the area or put beside each row to plants. The fertilizer then must be worked into the soil.

Organic fertilizer such as composted plant materials may be used in place of animal fertilizer. Compost material should be applied at a ratio of 25 pounds per 100 square foot. More is better. Depending on the completeness of the material, that is, it has or has not all of the required minerals needed for the soil; other types of commercially available phosphates, lime and other micro-based nutrient compounds may be needed. These fertilizers should be applied as designated on the packages. All fertilizers should well worked into the soil.

After all fertilizers are worked into the soil, the plot should be leveled, raked, and made ready for planting.

Plants should be irrigated thoroughly once a week. Surface sprinkling is not enough. The soil surrounding the entire root ball should be watered. Drip or trickle irrigation can be used and will conserve water. Soil conditioners and fertilizers help to maintain moisture in the soil. Mulching works well also.

Mulch is any material, usually organic, that is placed around the plant on the surface of the soil. Common mulch materials include leaves, lawn clippings, sawdust and pine needles. Mulch provides several benefits. It conserves soil moisture and nutrients and reduces soil erosion and weed growth. It also moderates soil temperature and reduces fruit loss.

Weeds are controlled through the use of cultivation. The weeds should be removed when they are small. Hoeing cuts out the weeds and does not harm roots. A thick mulch which keeps out light will also control weed growth.

Control of pests in organic gardening can be very difficult during times when infestations are high. However, there are various methods open to organic gardeners.These methods include utilizing varieties of resistant plants, friendly insects, mulching, organic insecticides, insecticide soaps and insect traps.

Organic gardening uses natural materials and methods to perform the basic gardening functions: planning, plot selection, preparation including soil testing, fertilizing, irrigation, mulching, and pest and weed control.

Organic gardening offers the benefit of keeping harmful chemicals away from the food we eat. Doing away with the chemicals also makes our environment safer. Other benefits can be cost savings over contemporary gardening and the satisfaction achieved from doing our part in cleaning up our environment.

Copyright © Larry Gildea, All Rights Reserved.

This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

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