Tag Archive | "organic gardening"

Benefits of Organic Gardening

Droves of people are turning to organic produce as a way to feel safer about the foods they eat. People are worried about the foods they put into their bodies. With all of the reports of food poisoning from fruits and vegetables, many people are worried about what they’re eating.

We now know just how dangerous all of those chemicals that we spray plants on can be, too. Many chemicals have been banned because they were shown to cause cancer! But some of these dangerous chemicals have not yet been banned, and there may be plenty of hidden dangers that haven’t yet been discovered.

When you garden organically, you can feel safer about the food you eat. You’ll know that the food you’re feeding your family is safer and healthier than the questionable stuff you find in the grocery store. You and your family deserve to eat food that won’t give you all cancer!

Organic gardening is also extremely beneficial to the environment for several reasons. For one thing, every time you spray your plants with chemicals, those chemicals wash off of your plants and onto the ground. From there, those chemicals wash down into the ground, and eventually make it into the groundwater!

When the insects on your plants are poisoned, they can be eaten by birds or other animals. These animals can then become sick and die. If the toxicity was high enough, any animals that eat those animals might also perish. This can have a very strong environmental impact.

By killing too many of a certain species of insect, you can also cause an imbalance in the local wildlife. If you and your neighbors kill off a large portion of the population of one insect, then anything that depends on that insect for food might also start to die off.

Then anything that depends on the second species for food might start to die. This could spin out of control if the problem became too widespread. This is unlikely, but it’s not impossible. Organic produce is also known for its superior flavor.

For example, organic carrots are widely known for being much sweeter than traditionally-grown carrots. They don’t have the same bitterness that other carrots can have. This is a very good reason to grow your produce organically, even if you aren’t worried about the chemical effects to your body and the environment.

There are obviously a few drawbacks to gardening organically, too. You have to deal with pests differently, and it can be a longer and more complex process to rid your plants of certain pests. Instead of picking up some chemicals, you have to pick off insects by hand and drop them into soapy water.

You have to spray your plants with solutions made of things like hot peppers and garlic to prevent some bugs from eating them. It can be difficult. You also have to stick to organic fertilizers, rather than using easy chemical fertilizers.

But organic fertilizers can actually be cheaper, because you can make them yourself. Fish emulsion is a common organic fertilizer. It’s a sort of tea made from dead fish. Seaweed fertilizer is another tea-like fertilizer that many organic gardeners swear by.

And of course there’s natural compost that can help you make use of your kitchen waste! The benefits of organic gardening far outweigh the few drawbacks. It may be a bit more work, but it is so rewarding!

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Dealing with Pests in an Organic Garden

The biggest problem organic gardeners face is dealing with pests. An infestation of aphids or cutworms can absolutely devastate a garden! You can have an entire row of plants wiped out in days, or even hours.

It’s important to try to prevent infestations, rather than just treating them once they occur. You can do this by spraying your plants with solutions that deter many of the most common garden pests.

There are many organic solutions available, but you can make your own by using recipes that can be found in most organic gardening books. Most of them will be sort of like a tea, made with things like hot pepper sauce and garlic.

When you can, you should try to plant species that are native to the area in which you live. These plants have natural immunity to many common diseases in the area. There are also plants that are pest-resistant, and won’t have as many problems with pests as other varieties.

If you plant early enough, you may be able to avoid the worst part of the bug season. Insects have just a short period of each year in which they will be active and eating your plants. If you plant early, you may be able to harvest before those insects terrorize your plants.

You should do everything you can to encourage natural insect predators like ladybugs, praying mantis, ground beetles, and birds. Some types of plants like mint and rosemary can attract many beneficial bugs that can help you keep other insects under control.

You should keep a close eye on your plants to spot potential problems before they get out of control. If you see a hornworm on your tomato plants, pluck it off quickly and drown it in soapy water. By watching your plants daily, you have a chance to stop these problems before they become too difficult to handle.

If you’re having trouble with a particular pest, you can take pictures and then try to identify the pest. Go online and try to search for it. If you can’t identify it, you can take your pictures to your local county extension office or library and ask for help identifying it.

Once you’ve identified the pest, you can ask your extension office for advice with regards to controlling it. Just be sure to tell them you’re an organic gardener, and ask them if they have any ideas for you.
You may be able to prevent some pests by installing netting over your plants. Although this is probably a last resort, you may be able to save your plants from utter devastation if you have a particularly bad season of beetles or other such bugs.
Just remember, netting will also prevent beneficial insects from reaching your plants, so if some pests make it through, it may be harder to detect them and for predator insects to control them.
Pest control is a very difficult part of organic gardening.
If you lose a crop to insects, you may be tempted to abandon organic gardening and rush out to buy a chemical spray. A lot of organic gardeners experience this! Don’t feel bad. It can certainly be very frustrating to deal with pests, especially when you’ve worked very hard to take care of your plants all season.
But just remember, organic gardening has so many benefits that it’s really worth it to go through all of the extra work. Your family will be rewarded with healthy food that is safe to eat!

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Making Organic Compost

Organic compost is the best material to grow your plants in. Compost is the type of soil plants really love to grow in, because it’s made from lots of great organic material. It’s the safest kind of material to grow your plants in.

You’ll need to start with a base of material that is rich in carbon. You’ll need things like straw, dead flowers, shredded newspaper, and dried leaves. Some people forget to add these brown materials, but they’re essential.

Next, you need green materials that are high in nitrogen. These materials include things like kitchen waste from plants, animal manure, green garden clippings, and grass clippings. You can use all kinds of fruit and vegetable peelings and leftovers, but no meat!

Then you’ll need a little bit of soil from your garden. It’s important for you to remember that you should actually add a bit of natural soil to your compost to get it started. You’ll start by putting down a layer of your brown material.

This could be straw, dry leaves, or even shredded newspapers if you don’t have anything else. On top of that, you’ll add some of your green stuff, then a layer of soil. Then you’ll add more of your brown material to the top. Finally, you need to add water to these layers. Just moisten them, don’t drown them!

You’ll continue in this manner to add layers until you have a compost pile that is around 3 feet wide and 3 feet high. You should probably have a ratio of about three parts brown material to one part of green material. If your pile isn’t 3 feet tall yet, just keep adding material to it whenever you have it available.

About once every week or two, you should turn your compost pile. This means using something like a garden fork (a pitchfork) to stir your pile. You’ll want to work all of the stuff in the middle out toward the edges, and move the outer material inward toward the middle.

Be sure to keep your compost pile moist. It should never be soggy, but be sure not to let it dry out. If your compost pile gets too dry, it will stop decomposing properly. If you see steam coming up from your pile when you turn it, you can be pretty sure everything is decomposing properly.

You can add earthworms to your compost pile if you want. They’ll find the pile on their own, but you can speed the process up a big by adding some to the pile yourself. You can buy earthworms at a fishing bait store and use those.

You can also build or buy a bin to house your compost pile. This can help keep your pile neat and tidy, so it doesn’t spread out too much. You can also buy rotating compost bins that you can turn in order to mix your compost. These aren’t necessary, but they can make your job easier.

Once your compost turns into a rich, nearly black material, it will start to smell much better. Your new compost will smell a bit sweet. Once it turns black and starts to smell sweet, it’s ready to be mixed with your regular garden soil. In fact, you can use this rich compost as potting soil, usually with nothing else added. You can even replace most of the soil in your garden with this material, or use it in raised beds.

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