by Kim Wilhelm and Bryan Jones of Sweet Corn Organic Nursery
These tips are just a few of the things about your organic gardening soil which are important. It makes common sense that your body will benefit from less toxic weed killers and pesticides, and your soil and garden insects will help improve the entire environment around you.
Organic gardening is not as difficult as many beginning gardeners believe it is. Quite simply it means you are going to plant your garden without using synthetic fertilizers for making the plants grow and chemical pesticides to control the bugs. It really falls back to the farming principles used centuries ago before all the toxic chemicals started to be spread and sprayed on all our plants and the ground.
The best way to make sure you get the biggest returns from your labor, regardless if its going to be flowers, herbs, veggies or a mish mash of several plants, is to have a detailed plan. And the best time to formulate your plan is in the fall or autumn, right after the fall growing season ends. This way you will have enough time to prepare the ground before the spring planting season begins.
Now is the time for you to actually determine what your selected ground is going to need, in the way of the proper nutrition to help your vegetation grow. Your plants will do well if they can receive about six hours of sunlight per day. In almost all cases positioning of your planting area in the south-east part of your ground will give more than adequate amounts of sunshine.
Once the proper location has been determined the next step is preparing the ground where you will be planting. To make the weed and grass removal successful you should perform the initial removal, then go back again a couple of weeks later and remove the weeds and grass which will have grown in the meantime. Turning the soil over two or three times with a rest of a couple of weeks in between helps to make sure you have weeded the roots out as well from the soil. Then mix in organic manure from chickens, cows or horses. Then laying a thick layer of wood chip or shredded newspaper on top will help to mulch the soil from drying out too much in summer, and protect the soil in winter.
You can also create an on-going compost cycle in your garden plot by simply digging in your fresh kitchen plant waste in spots that you rotate around the patch. This is a much simpler way to feed the soil than the compost bin, if you are unable to get that delicate balance right. Buying some worms for your soil is also a good idea if you don’t see them as you dig your soil. They are the best way to break down foods, aerate and fertilize the soil all year around.
Most people believe that chemical insecticides are essential to keep a garden under control. People think that without using chemical based pesticides, you just can’t control bug infestations. However, one of the best all natural ways to control the pest is to use their mortal enemy, birds.
It is very simple to attract birds to your garden every year, especially if you provide them with sheltered nesting areas. Not only do you furnish a nesting area for them but make water fully accessible to them. You can put something as simple as an attractive, large, water container or bird bath. Once the birds have been drawn to your garden and realize they can feast on your bug infestation your problem will be solved. And if you also provide some birdseed for the colder months the birds will know to always come back to your garden each season.
Also make sure you always plant plenty of flowering bushes that attract the bees and ladybird beetles. Learn the insects that help to pollinate your crops and that kill the destructive bugs. It is all about just helping Mother Nature to do what she does naturally.
It also makes sense to simply plant a bit more than you know you will need for your personal use to make allowances for the fact that you will lose a percentage of your crop to insects and birds, so why not simply plan for that loss in the initial planning anyway. You should after all, help to feed the insects and birds that will help you fight off the rest of your predators.
It also just makes common sense that with an organic garden you will be healthier as you are not breathing in toxic sprays you use, or absorbing chemicals on your skin while you work in the garden. You will not need to spend so much time in your garden wearing breathing mask, eye goggles and gloves!
An hour a day of working in your garden will also improve your health and help in weight loss (burning calories), improve your blood pressure levels, strengthen the heart and lungs, build muscle, sharpen the mind. You will relieve stress and sleep much better.
You will receive such a sense of well being when you have a fruitful harvest, you just can’t beat it. Your family, friends, co-workers will also be grateful for any of your crop that you share. You will know you have done your part to help Mother Nature return to her natural state and will have touched all the other human beings by doing so.