With the current interest in natural, healthy, and environmentally friendly lifestyle, the practice of organic gardening is becoming more common. In commercial agriculture, organics are strictly regulated and required to meet highly technical standards. This has led some home gardeners to believe the method itself is complicated or difficult, although it is actually quite simple.
Organic Gardening is Really Quite Simple.
If organic gardening is a new concept for you, remember you don’t have to jump in with both feet. The best way to learn is by gradually phasing out your chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and soil amendments. It will become easier and produce better results as you discover what plants and techniques work for you. If you give yourself a couple of seasons to gradually convert, you will discover that your plants are happier and healthier as soon as you get the hang of these new ways.
Simple old fashioned gardening techniques are among some of the best organic techniques. Composting is a good start. Compost is an excellent soil amendment, and it will eliminate smelly rotting veggies in the trash. Never put chemical laden processed food, or greasy meat scraps in your compost.
Organic Gardening Starts With Good Fertilizer.
For fertilizer, you may be accustomed to buying a bag or bottle, and looking at three numbers to determine which one you need. Those numbers, called the NPK rating, represent the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. Although you can buy the organic equivalent of these products (for a much higher price), it’s best to use natural soil amendments as they will provide other micro-nutrients and often improve soil texture. Some of the best sources for nitrogen are cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal and fish emulsion. For phosphorous, try poultry manure, or bone meal, and potassium can be delivered through banana peels, kelp meal, or dairy manure.
Organic Gardening and Pesticides.
By far the most common chemicals (and most toxic ones) used in a typical home garden are pesticides. Unfortunately, these are the most challenging to replace, as there is no kill-everything-in-sight replacement for harsh chemical pesticides. This is usually the last thing to be converted to organic gardening methods. It takes a trial-and-error approach to discover what works on your particular garden pests, although with patience and determination, it can be done. Some of the most effective natural solutions include neem oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, diatomaceous earth, and wood ash.
Organic gardening is a different approach and way of thinking. Besides the technicalities of replacing synthetic products with natural ones, it is about maintaining the micro-ecosystem that is your garden. Soils are kept well maintained and rich in natural nutrients, instead of poor soil fortified on a schedule with chemicals. Pests are monitored and problems addressed before an invasion occurs. Other practices such as crop rotation, cover crops, and sustainable harvest are also incorporated.
Organic Gardening is Healthy.
One of the most common reasons people convert to this method is for health. Besides eliminating the toxins transferred to veggies you harvest, you eliminate your exposure to them while working in your flower or vegetable garden. According to the OCA (Organic Consumers Union), it has been proven that organic gardening leaves the soil healthier with more nutrients and improved texture as opposed to traditional methods that leave soil stripped of nutrients and filled with toxins at the end of the season.