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Try Organic Gardening for a Safe, Healthy Crop

Try Organic Gardening for a Safe, Healthy Crop


Try Organic Gardening for a Safe, Healthy Crop

by Sarah Duke

Organic gardening is the act of planting flowers, shrubs, fruits and vegetables without the use of synthetic, man-made fertilizers or chemically-laden pesticides. Garden guides will also tell you that what you do in home vegetable gardening and flower gardening is just as important as what you don't do. Gardening organically has evolved to be a sort of philosophical approach to planting. Organic gardeners look at the bigger picture, how humans are at one with nature, and how the use of natural elements is ideal for replenishing ecosystems. Whatever the garden consumes, typically gets replaced. Organic matter like grass clippings, fall leaves and vegetable scraps make wonderful additions to the soil of a healthy organic garden.

Writer Karel Capek once wrote, "I find that a real gardener is not a man who cultivates flowers; he is a man who cultivates the soil. He is a creature who digs himself into the earth and leaves the sight of what is on it to us gaping good-for-nothings. He lives buried in the ground. He builds his monument in a heap of compost. If he came into the Garden of Eden, he would sniff excitedly and say: 'Good Lord, what humus!'" As Capek insinuates, the organic gardener is a person with a deep down appreciation of earth in its most natural form. He doesn't approve of chemicals, pesticides or other man-made substances meddling with what he views as "already perfect." A rich gardening experience can be cultivated through organic gardening.

Soil health is one of the most important focuses of organic gardening. Even though organic matter (made of partially decomposed organisms and vegetation) only makes up 5-10% of the soil, it is absolutely essential in maintaining soil health. A gardening expert will tell you that organic matter is what binds together soil particles to allow the passage of air and water. Humus holds up to 90% of its weight in water, in addition to absorbing and storing key nutrients. Other microorganisms that live within the soil feeds upon this organic matter, which is what keeps the ecosystem thriving. The best way to increase your organic matter is to add organic compost bought from the store and made in your own kitchen.

Garden guides recommend using organic compost comprised of decayed matter from table scraps to horse manure. Compost works to add nutrients and aeration to the soil. It also breaks up huge clay clumps to allow for better drainage. Use a tiller when you add your compost to keep air flowing through your garden and encourage earthworms to plow through. If you're uncertain about your soil's composition and want to start fresh, then consider buying your soil and using raised beds.

In organic gardening, weeds are pulled rather than stripped by chemicals. Growing plants surrounded by mulch, straw or hay can keep weeds from poking through as well. Organic gardeners rely on birds, ladybugs, dragonflies, spiders and praying mantises to kill the pests that feast on their precious plants. To attract these natural born killers, plant Angelica, caraway, cilantro, coreopsis, white cosmos, dandelions, dill, fennel, geraniums, tansy and yarrow for them to sample while they look for bigger prey like aphids and beetles. You can purchase ladybugs at some garden shops and dragonflies at certain bait shops. In the end, you'll be glad you cultivated a healthy and hardy garden, without destroying nature in the process.

About the Author:
Eating healthfully doesn't have to be expensive when you plant a vegetable garden. From permaculture gardening to vegetable garden layouts, you'll find the information you need at the Vegetable Garden Site.

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