Tips for organic gardening

Gardening is a rewarding activity, especially when you reap a bounty of fresh produce. Organic gardening is rewarding for both you and the environment. Here are a few easy tips to get you started.
What is organic gardening?

Organic gardening is gardening without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. You not only reduce your exposure to such chemicals (good for you), you limit the amount of chemicals put into the earth and water supply (good for everyone). If done right, you can actually reap a better harvest than you would using commercial products.

If you already garden, going organic is easy. The basic principle of organic gardening is sustainability. Plant material is reused and returned to the soil in the form of compost. Everything added to the soil is organic, including fertilizers. Here are a few more organic gardening tips for you to consider:

Prepping the soil

As the foundation from which plants grow, healthy soil is the most important starting point. Soil requires the proper balance of organic matter, clay and sand. Increase the organic matter of your soil’s content by regularly mixing in compost. A couple of weeks prior to planting new seeds, add compost and give the bed a good rake to loosen and aerate the soil.

Composting

Compost will help improve soil’s water retention, meaning plants will have a better environment in which to grow. It provides your plants with necessary nutrients and strengthens their immune system from insects and disease. Don’t worry if you’re not ready to start your own composting bin; you can buy organic compost from garden centres or farmers markets.

Planting

For starters, look for plants that are compatible with your specific regional and local conditions. Consider the amount of sunlight versus shade each bed gets, as this will impact what you can plant where. If you’re buying seedlings, look for organic plants raised without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Garden clubs and farmers markets are good sources for plants native to your area.

Watering

The best time of day to water plants is the morning to avoid mildew growth. Plants have the full day to soak up the moisture before the cooler evening temperatures. Focus the water on the plant’s roots, not the greenery. The frequency of your watering depends on your climate, the soil’s water retention and the plant itself.

Weeding

These pesky visitors steal water from your plants and can harbour insects so pull them out regularly. Keep them at bay by maintaining a two-inch layer of mulch on top of your soil. This prevents sunlight from reaching the weed seeds and protects the soil.

Insects

The great outdoors can come with great pests. The healthier your garden is — insects go after weak or stressed plants — the less likely pests will infest. Organic solutions range from introducing predators that eat other insects (ladybugs, toads, birds) to hot pepper sprays. Find out which insects you’re dealing with first to determine the best solution for your garden.

Provide a healthy ecosystem for your plants and flowers with these organic gardening tips so they will be able to sustain a long life.

Tips for organic gardening
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