When most people think of organic gardening they think of three possibilities: complicated very labor-intensive gardening, gardening that involved unattractive plants and a tolerance of insects, or letting weeds take over your planters. While organic gardening is different from what many are used to, it is not complicated or significantly more labor-intensive than traditional gardening. Organic gardening does not mean foregoing attractive plants and aesthetically pleasing layouts. Organic gardening is more about what you do not do, namely use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and how the garden is planned from the ground up. Several simple tips and tools will provide an enjoyable organic garden.
Organic gardening starts with the soil. A key expression in organic gardening is “feed the soil and let the soil feed the plants.” An organic gardener requires healthy compost to insure the soil has proper nutrition and the soil will be full of micro-organisms that help plants thrive. Synthetic fertilizers are used instead of providing healthy aerated soil for your plants. Feeding the soil manure and mulch are also helpful to develop and maintain healthy soil. Proper drainage is also important. Soil that retains too little water, or holds too much water can lose nutrients and be hard on plants.
Choose plants according to the location and climate, then plant them correctly. Too often plants are placed without any consideration to their needs. They then require significant, constant care and chemical treatments. When picking plants, take care to chose plants that tend to be disease and pest resistant then plant them where they get appropriate amounts of light. If the planter tends to retain water, do not use plants that prefer a dryer soil. Plants also need to be spaced appropriately. Many times plants are placed far too close together, making it difficult for air to circulate and allowing diseases and pests to run rampant.
Observe and act. Organic gardens should be checked consistently, daily if possible. Prune plants, remove fruit that is on the ground, and trim weak or diseased stems. Often a bit of pruning on the first of the month can eliminate problems that would require chemical treatments at the end of the month. Insect infestations can be solved the same way. Early on, beetles and caterpillars may be removed by hand and killed. It is only when the planters are over-run that people rely on synthetic pesticides. As mentioned above appropriate spacing will help the gardener control almost any issues. Even aphid problems may often be addressed by spraying them off with a hose. If they return, a safe mixture of soapy water will solve the problem. While it does require a bit more planning and a different approach to gardening, the results of organic gardening are more rewarding and safe flower and vegetable gardens.
Building and maintaining healthy soil can be difficult without access to the best ingredients. BR Green’s organic lawn care program is also designed with organic gardeners in mind. When we apply our organic fertilization treatment, we also spray in flower beds and gardens to ensure a complete soil transition of your landscape.