Organic Gardening for Flowers and Plants
As the protest against processed ingredients and pesticide-laden produce grows louder, many people are turning toward organic gardening. The simplest way to explain organic gardening is abstaining from using synthetic or inorganic substances. However, choosing to garden organically involves more than just keeping harmful pesticides away from your plants; it's a completely new way of viewing the system that your garden is part of. Organic gardeners not only consider what is best for their plants so that they grow strong and yield healthy crops, but also make sure they keep the beneficial insects, water supply and soil healthy, too. In an organic garden, the soil is incredibly important; the healthier the soil is, the healthier the plants will be.
Using mulch to insulate the soil and discourage unwanted plants from growing, like grasses and weeds, is commonplace in most gardens. In addition to keeping the temperature of the soil more constant, it also helps the soil retain moisture for longer periods of time in between watering. However, when it comes to the organic garden it's very important to make sure you are using organic mulch instead of inorganic mulch. Some examples of organic mulch include sawdust, straw, grass clippings, pine needles and peat moss.
Composting organic matter at home is one of the best ways to enrich your garden soil with essential nutrients. Setting up a compost bin is simple and inexpensive - all you need is a suitably sized bin. It's imperative to keep certain things out of your compost bin, like meat, eggs and milk products. Examples of organic material that is suitable for composting include fruits and vegetables. Coffee grounds can also be composted. Setting up a compost bin for your garden is a wonderful way to supply a consistent source of fertilizer for your growing plants.
One of the most important aspects of organic gardening is learning how to control common pests without the use of harsh, unnatural chemicals. The most common way is by introducing biological pest control. To do so, you must first identify the pests that you are dealing with, and then find a source that provides insects that prey on those pests. For instance, lady bugs voraciously prey on aphids, while the larval stage of the lace wing do a great job at eliminating scale bugs.
Weeds are a nuisance in even the best of gardens, and learning how to manage them in an organic garden is essential if you want your plants to thrive. Aside from setting time aside each week to pull them, covering the soil with a thick layer of mulch will also prevent weeds from overtaking your garden. This works because the mulch not only stops unwanted seeds from getting into the soil and germinating, but also makes it difficult for the growing weeds to emerge. This is why it's crucial to ensure the layer of mulch is consistent over the entire garden and at sufficiently deep. Some types of mulch only require a two inch layer, like sawdust, while others need to be at least six inches deep. In addition to preventing weeds, you should also plan out your garden so that there is enough room in between rows to easily get to any weeds that may pop up.
Organic Gardening Basics
- Comprehensive Introduction to Organic Vegetable Gardening (PDF)
- What is Organic Gardening and Why is it Important?
- Basic Overview of Organic Gardening (PDF)
- How to Build a Thriving Organic Vegetable Garden (PDF)
- What is Organic Mulch? (PDF)
- Comparison of Organic and Inorganic Mulches
- Types of Organic Mulches
- Physical, Chemical and Biological Effects of Organic Mulches
- Guide to Organic Composting
- Frequently Asked Questions about Composting (PDF)
- Using Organic Waste as Compost
- Comprehensive Introduction to Composting for Sustainability (PDF)
- Controlling Pests Using Botanical Pesticides
- Controlling Insects and Disease the Organic Way
- Beneficial Insects Used for Organic Pest Control
- How to Manage Pests in Organic Vegetable and Flower Gardens
- Introduction to Using Mulch to Control Weeds
- Overview of Organic Weed Control
- Controlling Weeds Organically in Flower and Vegetable Gardens (PDF)
- Ways to Control Weeds in an Organic Vegetable Garden (PDF)
- The Importance of Using Organic Mulch (PDF)
- Guide to Managing Garden Pests Organically (PDF)
- Using Botanical-Based Pesticides (PDF)
- Commonly Uses Ways to Control Weeds Organically (PDF)
- Boston University Organic Gardening Club
- Austin Organic Gardeners
- Main Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
- Indiana Organic Gardeners Association
- How to Get Started with Organic Gardening (PDF)
- Important Guidelines for Organic Gardening (PDF)
- Important Reasons to Start Gardening Organically
- How to Plan and Care for an Organic Garden (PDF)