Monday, September 17, 2007
Introduction to Organic Gardening
The term "organic" is being used with increasing frequency as we become ever more concerned with the safety and quality of our environment and the foods we eat. Despite this common usage, much confusion remains as to what "organic gardening" entails. Simply stated, organic gardening combines an understanding of nature with long-established gardening traditions and modern scientific discoveries to create a method of raising and caring for plants without the use of synthetic chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Techniques and methods including integrated pest management (IPM), composting, the use of beneficial insects, interplanting, mulching, soil amendment, crop rotation, and others are all important aspects of organic gardening. This guide will introduce you to the basics of this effective, inexpensive, and environmentally friendly approach to gardening. Basic principles of organic gardening There are several basic principles to keep in mind when beginning an organic garden. Step1: Learn to work with nature, not against it. Grow plants in the environments and conditions to which they are best suited. Step 2: Promote diversity within the garden to maintain the natural balance. Encouraging biological diversity can minimize the need for artificial pest control. In other words, mingle vegetables, and flowers. Step 3: The soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. Feed the soil, not the plant. Keep the natural processes that feed plants working by putting as much back into the soil as you take out. Step 4: Think of the garden as a natural ecosystem. Plants as well as insects, earthworms, microscopic creatures, and other fauna are essential to the health of this system. While some insects do eat plants, natural predators and parasites can keep their populations in check. Remember that nature tolerates some damage -- the occasional chewed leaf or fruit is well worth the advantages of a healthy, productive organic garden.