Organic Gardening is the best way to get fresh something for our daily life. In this time of global warming of our planet, increased pollution, and fast food. Many people no longer fully trust the fresh products that are offered to them and try to exercise some control over what they eat.
Similarly, chemicals that have been used for so long in gardens are much more closely watched. And no longer accepted as the only means of harnessing the vicissitudes of nature.
One of the fundamental ways to improve our environment (and our health) is to ‘go organic‘. Let’s know about Organic Gardening.
Why Organic Gardening?
Organic gardening is one that uses only those materials that occur naturally and does not use artificial fertilizers or chemicals. Try to work with nature instead of against it.
Advantage of Organic Gardening-
- Organically grown foods taste better than those grown with artificial fertilizers.
- Costs: Organic material can be created by returning all waste to the ground, which is a cheap process. Inorganics are expensive. The same goes for chemical sprayers. By creating a garden where parasites are not a problem, you save a lot on the cost of chemicals.
- Another advantage is that by adding organic material to the soil, it is continually improved. Dumping chemicals on the soil eventually impoverishes the soil.
- The size of the fruits of an organic garden is usually larger and higher quality.
Tips for Organic Garden planning
The first step to take in planning a garden is to make a list of what you want from it. Restricting this to what you can achieve within the space and time available.
Once your priorities have been decided, the next thing is to locate the available space within the garden. Some areas will be sunnier, others will have better soil, others will be more humid.
To cultivate a good garden you will have to find the best position for it in relation to the sun and the air.
If weeds grow better in one part than another, this may mean that the soil is better there. Observe which areas have sun all day and which ones only enjoy it for a little while.
Caring for the earth
The land is the most important part of your garden. To produce at its best it must take into account “feeding” and watering, and not compress when it is too wet.
The composition of the earth varies according to how it was formed.
- The sandy soils are very light and crumbly and drain easily. They do not retain moisture well and that passage of water takes the nutrients with it.
- The clay is formed consists of fine particles that stick together creating the stickiness characteristic of the clay. Clay drains very slowly, so clay soils create a wet and slippery environment in which few plants feel comfortable. Sticky, dry soil is also very difficult to work with.
Between these two types of is usually found in the middle: the mulch. Both Sandy and clay soils can be improved for fertile mulch.
Soil can be acidic or alkaline. The relative acidity/alkalinity of soils is measured on a pH scale of 0 to 14 in which 7 is neutral. For the organic garden, the best soil is found on the acid side of the neutral point, at point 6.5. Below this, the soil is too acidic and will not allow a series of minerals that the plants need to be given. Above soils are too alkaline, which produces similar effects.
But clay, sandy, alkaline or acid soils can be modified.
Another aspect of the soil structure to consider is its profile. Generally in a garden, the topsoil contains the best soil. The layer underneath is known as the subsoil. And below this is the real subsoil.
It is essential to keep these layers in their respective places.
Identification of Layers of the Earth
Superficial layer: It is the darkest and richest part of the profile. It is where plants mainly grow and it is also where most worms, bacteria, and insects are found, many of them beneficial to plant growth.
Subsoil: It is not as fertile as the surface layer, but you should try to improve it.
Matrix Matter: This layer consists of undisturbed rock and is beyond the reach of most plants.
And finally, we must consider the zone of hardness that can occur between the different layers of the soil. this is a problem only if it is not known since it can be eradicated by digging deep.
To know if the soil in your garden is clayey or sandy, place a sample of it in a jug with water and when you beat it you will see how the different components settle in layers and that the organic material remains floating on top.
To test your ability to retain or lose water, dig a hole from a deep shovel and fill it with water. Let it drain and refill the hole. If this second fill disappears quickly, that means that the soil drains too much. On the other hand, if it continues there after a few hours or even days, it is clear that it is going to the opposite extreme.
If it disappears on a regular basis in half an hour or so, then its capacity is correct.
There are several natural indicators of the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. For example: if ferns or rhododendrons grow in your garden, that means it is acidic.
Be sure to take several samples from different parts of the soil to get an average.
Improve the land for Organic Gardening
Once the soil has been analyzed, it is possible to see what can be done to improve it.
The decomposed organic material should be added to light soils, such as sandstones. This will help retain moisture while providing nutrients for the plants.
Clay soils are more problematic to treat, especially because they are hard and difficult to work with. To improve it you should add stones (gravel), since it improves drainage, separates the soil, and makes it easier to work.
You can also add ashes from burning weeds, as these usually contain burnt soil particles that were attached to the roots.
Organic material in the form of manure or compost will also help transform the soil into a lighter medium. The worms constantly break it up and mix it with the soil.
An alternative for both soils is to create a raised layer using boards and fill it with a mixture of manure and mulch, making the top layer of soil subsoil. The worms will cause much of the new layer to come down so that the original subsoil becomes fertile and usable.
Drainage is an important part of land improvement. Gravel can be added to soils saturated with water. But if it is a serious problem with water stagnating after every downpour, you must install a proper drainage system.
This is done by digging ditches in herringbone shapes down to the ground and laying drain pipes in them. Cover them with small stones or simply fill the trenches with gravel-covered rubble. The water should be led to a drainage channel if there is one or a soaker, (it is a deep hole).
An alternative is to use the water to create a pond and lead the pipes to it.
Soil Preparation for Gardening
Once the land is under cultivation, all you need is a simple digging: put a well-decomposed compost at the bottom of the trench and dump the next shovelful over it.
Remove all weeds and destroy them. As you dig, add organic material and any required fertilizers to balance the soil balance. If possible, dig in late fall, leaving the soil prepared for winter rains and frosts. Never work on the ground when the ground is wet, as this will destroy its structure compressing it and making it difficult to work.
Once the soil has been dug up and made into good farmland, you are ready to plant in it.
Gardening is not just about planting the seeds and then sitting down to wait for the harvest. In between these two events, the weeds will try to colonize the bare soil and the bugs will try to feed on the succulent crop. It is up to the gardener to prevent this from happening.
Many gardeners find that as long as they are in control, hoeing and weeding can be very relaxing occupations. However, the moment control is lost, the matter turns into a battle.
The secret is “little and often”. If time permits, dedicate one hour a day.
Another obstacle that nature tends to put in the gardener’s path is the occasional bad weather.
Certain measures can be taken to minimize its effect.
Create various problems. First, the wind can simply blow the entire ground down. It can dry out both plants and soil in summer and burn plants with its icy blasts in winter.
The establishment of wind guards is something to consider when creating any garden. It may not be essential if you live in an urban area where buildings protect from the wind, but in rural areas, it can be vital.
The best wind protection is the ones that allow it to seep through. Although a wall or fence will look solid and look the best against high winds. It actually causes a lot of turbulence that can be just as devastating as the wind itself.
A row of trees allows the wind to filter through, slowing it down but avoiding the large eddy that occurs over a wall.
However, if they are deciduous they should have a thick network of branches to stop the wind during winter.
A much quicker solution is to erect a fence that allows the wind to filter through. It can be made of wood or bamboo.
A modern alternative is to use metallic fabrics, which are sold especially for this. This type of windshield must be firmly anchored to the ground and will need to be renewed from time to time.
A solid barrier such as a wall will create more damaging turbulence than the wind itself.
A hedge creates a perfect barrier by reducing the speed of the wind as it filters through it.
Cold is not bad during winter. Help break up the ground and kill the bugs that have come to the surface to dig. But when spring begins and plantings have started, frost can be a nuisance.
If the cold is stopped by means of a fence or hedge, remove a section or make a hole in the base to allow air to continue its way. Gaps can be covered with wire mesh. Or a fence or hedge can be angled across the slope above the frost hole. So that, cold air is diverted to one side and elsewhere.
The frost is often inserted at the bottom of the slopes, sometimes against a row of bushes.
This can be avoided by creating a hole to allow cold air to filter through.
A curving or V-shaped row of bushes uphill will also divert cold air from the front hole.
It can affect the organic garden in three ways:
- It may be too much. If this is a permanent weather condition, an effective drainage system must be installed and the soil made to drain freely.
- It may be too little. In this case, you need to install some kind of irrigation system. The fibrous organic material should also be added to the soil and stubble applied, both of which can retain as much moisture as possible.
- The third problem that is increasingly desperate, about which those affected can do little, is that of acid rain. As long as the action on the soil can be counteracted by adding lime to keep the pH at 6.5, little can be done about the acid rain that falls on the plants. trees tend to suffer the most.
The first rule is to avoid monocultures. If only one type of plant is grown. And a plague occurs, it will spread like fire. On the other hand, if a wide variety of plants are grown, it is normal that only a few are attacked at a time.
Another reason for choosing a wide variety of plants is that it will foster more predators, such as ladybugs and mantis.
It is always advisable to have a flower garden very close to a vegetable field. In some cases, it may even help to mix the two.
Always check the plants that you bring into your garden to see that they do not contain vermin. Observe the leaves and inspect the soil around the roots to make sure of this.
Ground beetles and spiders, for example, exterminate an incredible number of vermin. Certain plants deter harmful animals and insects from attacking neighboring plants. Planting onions near carrots help keep carrot flies away from the last ones.
Some plants act as decoys, so the bugs attack them instead of the vegetables. For example, mustard attracts at least some of the butterflies in cabbage.
Many of the vermin that affect trees live in the soil during winter. A strip of fat placed around the trunk prevents them from climbing up and down the branches in spring.
The ultimate bug control method is a mechanical one that may not appeal to everyone. Use your fingers. Squash the aphids when you see them and get rid of the caterpillars. If you don’t want to kill them, transport them far enough away that they are not harmful.
Planning For Organic Gardening
Make a list of what you want to plant and a sequence of plantings and harvests. This is something you really should check out because there are crops that need to be planted before winter starts to be harvested the following summer.
With regard to the design of the garden, there will be certain things that you will have to take into account and leave spaces for the following winter.
The garden should be open, if possible without trees on it. The traditional vegetable box is a rectangular box with individual rows of vegetables running across it. An alternative that many organic gardeners prefer is to create a series of raised boxes, each with one type or more of vegetables, planted in blocks rather than in rows.
A third possibility is one in which the painting is composed as a flowerbed with the solid ones forming a decorative pattern.
With rows, it is possible to walk close to each line of vegetables making it easier to take care of each plant and to weed between them. No space is wasted, and it is the most flexible of the three.
The second system loses a lot of space on the roads that cross it. However, because you do not walk near the plants, the soil does not compress.
Flower beds have few practical advantages, but they are very attractive.
Keys to Getting Good Crops
- One of the keys is rotation. The idea is to move the different plants so that they do not return to the same soil in four years. This considerably reduces the risk of diseases and also allows the correct preparation of the land.
- The soil should preferably be dug in autumn, so it will not be too difficult to decompose it into a fine arable land suitable for sowing.
- If there is a chance that birds will use the ground for dust baths or cats for lying down, cover it with a net until the seedlings are established.
- Some plants grow best in containers or seed trays for later planting.
- It is best to plant on cold days, preferably if there is a possibility of light rain. Moisture and cold help the plant to survive while its roots cannot take in much water.
So yes. Here is all about Organic Gardening. Let us know if you have any queries… Have a good day. If you want to know more about this article you can visit our Gardening tips category.