Is Your Garden REALLY Organic?

A lot of press has been given in recent years to organic gardening. We love gardening here (no surprise!) and we love "organic" even more. But what really constitutes "organic" gardening? Is it hard to get started? Can anyone do it?

The following are the basics of organic gardening. If you can't accomplish them all yet, don't worry. Every small step toward a greener lifestyle can only be a plus. And you're getting delicious results out of your efforts - yum!

Here are the points to look at when you're trying to go green(er) with your garden.

The Soil

A good garden starts with great soil. We recommend compost added to the earth you already have in your yard, if possible. Afraid of composting? Don't be! It's easier (and less messy!) than you think. Compost is rich in minerals your plants need and is less expensive than commercial organic fertilizers.

The Seeds

Seeds are another item you can purchase certified organic, but it's even easier (and more trustworthy, since you know where they came from) to collect, dry and use seeds from your prior organic gardening efforts. Second-best: purchase fresh organic produce and save the seeds. See what grows!

The Fertilizer

Commercially prepared fertilizers may contain chemicals or may have been processed in less-than-natural ways. Use your compost/mulch, or choose items from your kitchen that match your garden's needs. For example, want to add calcium? Rinse and crush egg shells and place 1/2" deep into the soil. Acid-loving plants (like azaleas) need a boost? Sprinkle coffee grounds 6" out from the roots.

The Plants

You guessed you needed these, right? ;) What we're referring to here, though, is choosing plants that need as little "extra help" as possible so you can reduce the need for water, add-ins to change the quality of the soil and so on. In such circumstances you might be tempted to reach for whatever Home Depot is offering to save your garden. Instead, select plants that match your growing hardiness zone and require the amounts of water you can expect in your locale, and that are drought-resistant if you live in a dry area.

Pest Control

There are hundreds of chemical pest control preparations on the market. Of course, with an organic garden, you'll want to avoid such measures. We found this great organic pesticides guide to get you on your way to a pest-controlled, healthy garden without making you sick.

These are just the basics. Beware - once you start organic gardening, you may be hooked! You'll keep looking for new and better ways to get the most out of your garden...naturally.




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