Organic gardening is growing plants organically. You don’t have to use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides when growing this way. It is a way of growing plants in harmony with nature. Organic gardeners use resources that are not harmful to plants, soil, wildlife, and beneficial insects.
Organic gardening begins with nourishing the soil which is primarily done by adding organic matter to it regularly. The best organic matter to use for amending soil is compost, also known as the gardener’s black gold. Compost is decomposed leaves, straw, dead flowers, shredded newspapers, grass clippings, kitchen waste, etc.
When growing organically, the same rule of carefully choosing the plants to grow applies. You have to choose the kinds or varieties that are likely to grow in your area.
Organic Gardening Best Practices
Improving the soil is an important goal for any gardener. With better quality soil, there is also a better environment for soil microbes to thrive. There are microorganisms in soil that breakdown its nutrients for the plants to absorb and if these microbes cannot do their jobs because of poor soil quality, then plants cannot grow well.
Use of Heirloom seeds and organic seeds
Heirloom seeds are open-pollinated seeds. An heirloom seed produces plants with the same traits. Some gardeners prefer heirloom seeds because they could resist pests and diseases which are important for gardeners. Yields from heirloom seeds are very nutritious and have excellent taste.
Organic seeds are seeds that have been harvested from organic plants. Seeds from organically grown plants are healthier. Organic plants are grown without using any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
Mulching is the best way to get rid of weeds in your garden; it keeps your soil aerated, adds nutrition to your soil, and replenishes the soil. Mulch protects your plants from pests and diseases too.
Examples of mulch:
- Leaves – shredded leaves
- Pine needles
- Grass clippings
- Green manure
Companion plants help their neighbors grow; enrich the soil and repel pests. There’s no need to use fertilizers and pesticides when companion planting. All you need to know is what plants are best to pair with each other. For example tomatoes and cabbage are a good combination because tomatoes drive away diamondback moth larvae that like to chew on cabbage leaves.
Crop rotation is a way of planting different kinds of crops in the same area in your garden from one season to the next. Crop rotation is beneficial to farmers especially for those who are growing crops on a large scale.
The importance of crop rotation in the garden are: it balances the fertility of the soil, prevents pests and diseases, reduces weeds, and adds nutrients to the soil.
Organic fertilizers are beneficial to plants, soil, environment, and economy. Organic fertilizers help increase the productivity of your crops.
Some benefits of organic fertilizers are:
- Improves and maintain the physical structure of the soil.
- Gives nutrients to the soil.
- Makes earthworms stay in the soil.
- Gives more flavor to your plants.
- Improves germination, plant growth, crop yield, root growth, structure, taste, and color.
Compost is often said to be the gardener’s black gold and that is because of its great value in improving soil – any soil.
Compost has macro and micronutrients that are usually missing from synthetic fertilizers. As a natural fertilizer, it releases nutrients into the soil gradually, getting the microbes busy and constantly working to properly breakdown essential nutrients so plants can access them easily.
Also, soil that is compost enriched can hold on to other organic fertilizers better so there is less runoffs to waterways, minimizing pollution.