Organic gardening is much more than eliminating the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic gardeners strive to work in conjunction with nature, and view their gardens and landscapes as part of a natural system that begins with the soil and includes insects, plants, the water supply, wildlife and humans. They work in harmony with the ecosystem; continually minimizing and replenishing the resources their garden or landscape consumes. Establishing a natural, or organic, gardening system requires an initial investment of time and money. However, the end result is a garden that requires less attention, less maintenance and a lower investment than those cared for under a synthetic program. Plants become healthier, more disease and insect resistant, less watering is required, and the microorganisms thriving in the soil create the nutrients plants need, so less fertilizer is used.
Different ideologies exist when it comes to the proper method of gardening organically. The best suggestion is to take time to investigate the various methods and products and to create a system that suits your individual goals, schedule, and finances, as well as the climate and region in which you live. Garden-Ville has created the following general guidelines universal to all organic gardening programs.
Stop the Use of Synthetics
One of the first steps to an organic gardening regimen is to stop the use of synthetics. Synthetics are materials made by chemical synthesis and are intended to emulate natural products. Their effects tend to be short-lasting and they are often harmful to the environment, people and pets. While organic and natural products can still be toxic, they are usually less harmful to the environment and are more specific in what they treat. Always read labels thoroughly and follow the directions for any garden or household application.
Start with the Soil
The main focus of organic gardening is the proper repair, balance and maintenance of the soil. Different soils require different products to achieve optimum pH and nutrient levels. The best way to find out what your soil is missing is to request a soil test. This can be done through your local County Extension office for a minimal fee. These tests will often make recommendations for amendments that can be used to alter the characteristics of your native soil. Testing kits are also available at nursery and garden centers but the lab tests are generally more reliable. Should neither of these options be available, you can find out about the general quality of your soil by speaking with a local nursery or even a gardening neighbor.
Once you have determined your soil type, it is time to begin replenishing nutrients and amending deficiencies. This can be done by adding organic matter in the form of compost and using natural based soil amendments. Garden-Ville's Elite Lawn, Eco Thrive, Rejuvenator and Invigorator are high-quality products that can be combined with your soil, at the recommended rates, to supply the much needed organic material. Garden-Ville also offers a full line of soil amendments to meet the needs of all soil types. Fertilizing is an important aspect of any gardening program, and Garden-Ville has created premium natural fertilizer products. By using natural and organic fertilizers, you provide your plants with a sustained source of food, resulting in fewer applications than synthetics.
This is a good rule even if you don’t choose to garden organically. Mulching conserves moisture, maintains a uniform soil temperature, minimizes erosion and compaction, and helps prevent weeds. There is a wide selection of mulches available on the market and consumers can get over whelmed when trying to select the best mulch for their garden and landscape. The primary factors to consider when selecting mulch are: availability, cost, appearance, function and durability. Garden-Ville offers a complete line of mulches to fit any and all of your gardening needs.
Raise your mower setting and mow more frequently. By mowing high, you will expose more leaf surface area to the sun, and the taller grass blades will shade weed seeds, preventing them from germinating. Avoid cutting off more than one-third of the blade; this causes stress on your grass. Leave grass clippings on your lawn. Grass clippings are a great source of organic material and as they break down provide valuable nutrients to your lawn. By following the one-third rule your clippings will be small enough to leave on your lawn without the concern of smothering your grass. Even if you follow these rules an occasional fertilizing will be necessary. Garden-Ville's NitroGem (7-2-2) and Veggiescape (6-2-2) applied at the recommended rate, will provide your lawn with the nutrients it needs, without harming desirable plants. Our Tenacious Turf, Lawn Dressing and Elite Lawn are also great options for top dressing your turfgrass and will build up the organic matter in your soil.
A general guideline for watering is to water less frequently but deeply. This means using a watering technique that allows the moisture to penetrate the soil. Drip hoses are an excellent example of a tool that can be used to achieve deep watering. Water must be absorbed into the soil to reach plant roots, and deep, infrequent watering leads to deeper root growth and plants that can better tolerate drought conditions. Try to schedule watering for early morning, especially during the summer – watering during the afternoon accomplishes little since the water evaporates before it is absorbed, and evening watering can cause puddling, creating a breeding ground for fungus and mold.
Select Proper Plants
Always select plants well adapted to your area and the location you selected for planting. Don’t select plants that prefer dryer conditions for a location with poor drainage, or plants that prefer sunlight for a shady location. Plants that are well adapted to your climate require less maintenance and are more tolerant to adverse conditions. An organic gardener takes the surroundings into consideration, and selects plants that complement the natural landscape of the area.