In this age of global warming of our planet, increasing pollution and fast food, many people no longer are confident of fresh products that are offered as many try to exert some control over what they eat.
Similarly, chemicals that have been used for so long within gardens are no longer accepted as the only means of channeling the vicissitudes of nature.
One of the key ways to improve our environment (and our health) is to ‘be organic. “
Why organic gardening?
Organic gardening is one that uses only naturally occurring materials and does not use artificial fertilizers or chemicals.
Try to work with nature rather than against it.
Organically grown foods taste better than those grown with artificial fertilizers.
Costs: the organic material can be created by returning all waste back to the land, which is a cheap process compared to Inorganic which tend to be way more expensive in the long run.
Same with chemical sprays, If an orchard where parasites do not prove a problem is created, it saves a lot in the cost of chemicals.
Another advantage is that by adding organic material to Earth, it keeps getting better, pitching chemicals ultimately impoverishes the soil.
The size of the fruits of an organic garden are usually larger and higher quality.
Tips for planning organic garden
The first step to take when planning a garden is to make a list of what you want from it, imagine what you can achieve within the space and time available.
Once you have determined the priorities, then its time to situate or organize space available within that garden.
Some areas will be sunnier, others will have better land or soil, some spots much more humid and so on.
To cultivate a good garden you will have to look for the best position in relation to the sun and air.
If weeds grow better in one part than another, this may mean that the land is better there, Note the areas which have sun all day or only a partial day.
Caring for the Earth
Land is the most important part of your garden, the soil composition varies so keep a watch for this variance.
Sandy soils are very light and friable and easily drain.
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 and dry land is also very difficult to work.
Between these two types, clay and sandy soils can be improved simply by addition of fertile mulch.
A soil may be acidic or alkaline. The relative acidity / alkalinity of the soil pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 where 7 is neutral.
For the best organic garden soil it should be on the acid side of neutral point, at point 6.5, Below that the soil is too acidic and will not allow some minerals that plants need.
But clay soils, sandy, alkaline or acid can be modified.
Another consideration of soil structure is its profile. usually in a garden the topsoil contains the best land. The layer beneath it is known as groundwater. And below this is the true underground.
It is essential to keep these layers in their respective places.
Identification of layers of earth
Surface layer: is the darkest and richest part of the garden profile. It is where plants grow mainly and also where the most worms, bacteria and insects reside, many of them beneficial for plant growth.
Finally we must consider the area of hardness which can occur between the different soil layers. This is a correctable problem if it is not known early, If not correct it may compromise ones digging depth.
To find out if your garden soil is clayey or sandy place a sample of it in a jar with water then shake it up, allow the different components to settle in layers and any organic material will float to the top.
For their ability to retain or lose water, dig a hole depth of a shovel and fill with water. Allow to drain and refill the hole. If that water disappears quickly that means that the soil drains well too. On the other hand if you still there after a few hours or even days it is clear that it is blocked to the opposite extreme.
If it disappears on a regular basis in half an hour or so, then its usage and capacity is correct.
There are several natural indicators of acidity or alkalinity of your soil. For example, if ferns are rowing in your garden or rhododendrons this means the soil is acidic.
Improve the land
Once the soil is analyzed only then will it be possible to see what can be done to improve it.
In light soils, such as gritty, its best to add decomposed organic material, this will help retain moisture and also provide nutrients for plants.
Clay soils are more problematic to treat, especially because they are hard and difficult to work. To improve it, you must add stones (gravel), because it improves drainage, separates the soil and makes it easier to work.
You can also add ash burnt weeds, organic material in the form of manure or poultry manure also help transform the ground into a lighter medium. Worms will constantly break it up and mix with the ground, worms will mulch most of the new layer down so that the original ground becomes fertile and usable again.
Drainage is an important part of improving the your soil. In the waterlogged terrain you can add gravel but if it’s a serious problem with water stagnating after each downpour, you must install a proper drainage system.
This is done by digging ditches in the form of drainage pipes.
Cover with small stones or simply fill trenches with gravel covered rubble.
An alternative is to use water to create a pond then install water drainage pipes.
Gardening is not just about planting seeds and then sit back and wait for the harvest. In between these two events weeds try to colonize the bare soil and crop eating bugs seek these succulent plants.
Gardener job is to prevent this from happening.
For some, hoeing and weeding can be a very relaxing and not to mention therapeutic. When control of weeds or soil balance is lost, the gardening becomes a battle.
The secret is “little and often”. If time permits devote an hour a day.
Another obstacle will be nature, it tends to get in the way of the gardener with occasional bad weather.
You can take steps to minimize their effect:
Creates several problems. First the wind can easily bring down the whole garden bed.
Windbreaks is something to consider in setting up any garden, although it may not be essential if you live in an urban area where the buildings protect it from the wind, but in rural areas it can be vital.
The best windbreaks are those that allow air to seep through. Although a wall or a fence will have a solid look and seem the best against strong winds, actually they cause much turbulence that can be as devastating as the wind itself.
A row of trees allows the wind to seep through naturally.
A much quicker solution is to build a fence to allow the wind to pass through it, It can be built of wood or bamboo.
A modern alternative is to use screens, sold especially for this. this type of wind shield must be firmly anchored in the ground and need to be renewed or replaced from time to time.
A hedge creates a perfect barrier slowing the wind causing it to seep through at a moderate stream.
The cold is not bad during the winter. It helps break down and kill the bugs that have surfaced. But when spring starts and you have started plantations, frost can be a killer or at very least a hindrance.
The gaps can be covered with metal or fabric, place a fence or a hedge at an angle across the slope above the frost hole so that the cold air is diverted to one side and go elsewhere. A row of shrubs or curve as V uphill also divert cold air frost.
It is always advisable to have a flower garden near a field of vegetables. In some cases it may even help to mix the two.
An alternative preferred by many organic gardeners is to create a series of raised beds, each with one type or more of vegetables, planted in blocks rather than in rows.
Some plants grow better in containers or trays for planting later.
It is best to plant on cold days, preferably if there is a possibility that a light rain may fall. The damp and cold help the plant survive.