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Beginner's Tips to Organic Gardening

Nov 15, 2007
Organic gardening is basically gardening without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. This can make certain aspects difficult, such as controlling disease, insects, and weeds. Organic gardening follows the essential principles of organic agriculture in soil building and conservation, pest management, and species preservation.

Organic gardening also requires more attention to the soil and the many needs of plants. An organic gardener strives to work in harmony with natural systems and to continually replenish any resources the garden consumes. In essence, organic gardening begins with attention to the soil.

Gardeners need to add organic matter to the soil regularly in order to keep the soil productive. Compost is essential to the health and well being of plants grown organically. Compost is usually made from leaves, dead flowers, vegetable scraps, fruit rinds, grass clippings, manure, and similar items. The ideal soil has a dark color, sweet smell, and is full of earthworms.

Organic gardening relies heavily on the natural breakdown of organic matter, using techniques like green manure and composting, to replace nutrients taken from the soil by previous crops.

Green manure is a cover crop grown to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Typically, a green manure crop is grown for a specific period, and then plowed under and mixed into the soil. Green manure usually performs multiple functions including soil improvement and soil protection.

Compost is the decomposed remnants of organic materials such as plant wastes, grass clippings, fall leaves and vegetable scraps from your kitchen. Compost is a granular mixture that will hold moisture, has nutrients, and provides material in which most plants can grow.

As far as pest control, organic gardening tends to tolerate some pest populations in the short term. Organic pest control involves the cumulative effect of many techniques, including allowing for an acceptable level of pest damage and even encourages enticing insect predators, such as ladybugs, birds, frogs, and lizards to keep certain pests away. You can attract these insect predators by keeping a water source nearby or by growing plants that attract insects who feed on nectar. Other common pest control methods are sticky traps, barriers, and plant collars. There are some household items that prevent against insects too, like insecticidal soaps, garlic, and hot pepper.

Another essential part of growing organically is to choose plants suited to the site. Plants adapted to your climate and conditions need less attention and grow better without alot of care. It's essential to ensure plants are healthy and not too wet or dry. A too wet or too dry soil can make the plants unhealthy, which in turn makes the plants more succeptable to insects attacks. Healthy plants have a better chance of surviving minor insect damage. It's also important to remember to plant a variety of plants to keep pests that prefer specific plant types from destroying the entire garden.

To help avoid plant disease in organic gardening, it's best to choose disease resistant plants and plant them in their prime conditions. Most diseases will spread in conditions of constant moisture and poor air circulation.

Weeds can be an annoyance when you're tryingto grow a great organic garden. Organic mulch can act as a weed barrier, but for even better protection it helps to add a layer of newspaper, construction paper, or cardboard under the mulch. The best way to prevent weeds is the old-fashioned art of hoeing and hand pulling. Persistence is the key to weed prevention. Mulch well and pull and hoe what you can; after a few seasons you can beat the weeds for good.

Organic gardening is an excellent way to assure that your plants will be free and clear of pesticides and if taken care of properly, will be as healthy as possible. Organic gardening takes more time and care than regular gardening, but after gardeners get the hang of it and figure out all the quirks of their garden, the end result is definitely worth the extra time.
About the Author
Denise Villani an author and the webmaster of several article directories. Find more articles and information on gardening by visiting
GardeningStuff.info
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