Organic Gardening is a growing interest at all levels of society. Due to the increases in food prices, concerns over pesticides used in food production and a general desire for better health, organic gardens are springing up all over. Starting your own organic garden isn’t difficult; it just takes some time and a commitment to better your life.
The basic concept behind organic gardening is that you will be growing food without the use of synthetic pesticides. Organic gardens are not necessarily devoid of all herbicides and pesticides; they simply avoid the use of the more harmful synthetic varieties. The goal is to work with nature whenever possible. This means feeding the soil well, spending time on pest management and weeding and growing plants that are complimentary. For example, it is common to plant squash and corn together so that they utilize different nutrients and the squash provides good ground coverage at the same time.
One of the most important things you can do when starting an organic garden is to invest in a compost bin or pile. Blueprints for building simple compost bins are available on line. Incorporating compost into your soil ensures that your organic food will be nutrient rich. Healthy soil is key to a successful garden. To have your soil tested, contact your county extension office. They often hire master gardeners that can be sent out to test your soil thoroughly and advise you as to which crops are best for your region and soil type. This service if normally provided free of charge.
If you are going to invest the time in growing your own organic food then you will want to avoid sharing much of it with harmful insects. Insects are most likely to attack weak or damaged plants: you can reduce the odds of their success by taking good care of your garden. Insect traps, pheromone baited lures and plant collars are all part of an organic approach to pest control. Encouraging natural predators will also help keep harmful insects to a minimum. Oils, soaps and home made sprays can also be used and as a final resort BTs, or Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterial agent can be applied to discourage leaf eating creatures.
Beneficial insects can be your best friend, so when you are planning to attack harmful pests make sure that you won’t affect your allies. Planting a border of beneficial plants will attract good insects reducing your need for pesticides, organic though they may be. Cornflower, bachelor’s button, fennel and borage are just a few plants that can encourage helpful insects to colonize your organic garden. If you have room, include a bat house in your garden. If you are lucky enough to acquire a few bats in your garden, you can be sure they will keep down the numbers insects that you find objectionable too.
Organic gardening is a labor of love. Besides providing yourself and your family with nutritious, homegrown vegetables and fruits you are contributing to a healthy environment. Your commitment in time and energy is well rewarded when you see what you produced through the effort of your own hands. Is there any better way to spend a lovely summer afternoon than out in your garden, watching your crops thrive?