We are all well aware that organic has become a new buzz word in food industry where people are choosing only organic varieties that are grown naturally without using man-made chemicals. The same definition applies to gardening also where the process involves natural methods of growing plants replacing synthetic fertilizers & pesticides. Traditional gardeners may find this concept a bit confusing because some of them are still using the same old methods in growing their gardens. Too many questions arise when we think about going organic in terms of supplying the required nutrients, pest control, plant diseases etc. Lets us see the important objectives of organic gardening through which we can accomplish growing healthy plants without using artificial materials.
Organic gardening is not only about avoiding the harmful chemicals but extracting the benefits of natural resources to provide a balanced ecosystem for growing healthy plants. One of the most important things that influence the growth of a plant is soil. Generally, gardeners mix compost to the natural soil to add the rich nutrients and beneficial microbes that can enhance the growth of their gardens. To restore the vitality of depleting soil, compost can be made organically at home by using the recycles of kitchen waste, introducing beneficial microbes & insects to the soil, adding manures of the chickens & cows etc. You need to be extra cautious if you are using it on food crops because some of the fruits and vegetable peels may contain chemical residues on their peels which can turn harmful to your garden.
Organic ground covering
Ground covers called mulches are generally used to protect the soil that is surrounding the plants or between the rows of the plants. In organic methods, mulch is prepared using organic matter such as straw, grass clippings, leaves and other similar materials that easily decomposes to give a positive effect both on the ground as well as the plant. Sometimes gardeners grow certain plants as living mulches along with the main crop so that it not only improves soil fertility but also hinders the growth of weeds. When mulch decomposes and mixes with top soil, it helps in moisture retention, acts as a food for beneficial microorganisms, and also enhances the growth of plant roots.
Natural pest control
When it comes to gardening one of the biggest threats to the plant growth is the bad attack of pests and insects. While some insects do not cause any harm to the gardens, others go beyond the danger levels and destroy the entire yard. Synthetic pesticides can be more toxic and harmful especially for vegetable gardens. Some of the common crops like tomatoes, squash/zucchini and peaches are more difficult to manage because they are more vulnerable for pest attacks. Hence gardeners have to be extra cautious and use products that are made with natural materials to manage these pests under control.
By: Gary Martin
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