Organic gardening is the practice of gardening without the use of synthetic chemicals or fertilizers. This doesn't mean that nothing is applied to the garden, but rather everything applied is naturally occurring. Most organic compounds available are either made using the broken down remains of organisms or byproducts of the organisms themselves.
It certainly doesn't have to be difficult to garden organically, but it does present some challenges that aren't always seen in conventional gardening. Keeping these tips in mind can help make it easier.
1. Amend soil beds well before planting
It's important for all garden plants to have high quality soil for vigorous growth, but this is even more important with organic gardening. Before planting make sure to add adequate amounts of finished compost to the soil and work it in well.
2. Educate yourself on organic plant foods
One of the best things you can do is to educate yourself well on plant nutrition and organic plant foods. Read up to discover what fertilizers are acceptable and what natural nutrient sources work well. - Water in the morning
3. Make compost tea
Steeping your finished compost creates a liquid plant food that is chocked full of nutrients and beneficial organisms. It can then be used as a root drench or a foliar spray in the garden.
4. Coffee grounds for acid loving plants
Instead of applying commercial soil acidifiers, sprinkle used coffee grounds around the base of acid loving plants such as blueberries. The grounds will help to naturally lower the soil pH, creating a more acidic soil environment.
5. Utilize companion planting
Companion planting is the practice of planting 2-3 plants in close proximity because of mutually beneficial effects. Many gardeners use companion planting to reduce weed competition and insect infestations. Urban Farmer provides readers with a comprehensive chart of plants suitable for companion planting.
6. Encourage beneficial insects
Not all insects are problematic; some such as ladybugs, butterflies and honey bees perform vital jobs in the garden. Encourage these good guys by planting ornamental flowers close to your vegetable garden that will attract them into the space.
7. Use bats as a natural pest control
Many people are nervous at the thought of bats but according to Planet Natural they eat more insects than birds and bug zappers combined. Install bat boxes in your yard to encourage them to roost nearby to help keep insect populations down.
8. Egg shells as a pest deterrent
Preventing pest problems in your garden is much easier than treating problems once an infestation occurs. Instead of throwing away your empty egg shells, wash them well and scatter crushed shells around the base of plants susceptible to slug and snails. Their tender bellies won't cross the jagged edges.