Most people who go in for gardening as an activity are only aware that it is concerned with growing plants! They only have a vague knowledge about the ill-effects of the fertilizers and pesticides that they use to nurture the plants. Fortunately, with spreading knowledge, the same people are going in for a change and moving towards organic gardening.
What exactly is meant by organic gardening? It simply means the reverse of what is done in a normal kind of garden–avoidance of any kind of chemicals or pesticides. The practice is very beneficial where vegetables and flowers are concerned, but also useful for growing other kinds of plants.
Some aspects of organic gardening are listed below–
(1) It should be made clear at the very outset that growing plants the organic way is rather an uphill task. It does require a lot of effort to be put in, more so than what is required for a “normally-grown” garden. But the person who persists with this kind of gardening is never going to feel sorry at the end of it, because the results are so wonderful!
(2) And why is organic gardening preferable to non-organic gardening? Well, constant use of fertilizers may tend to leave poisonous residue on the parts of the plants that we consume. Toxic chemicals get an entry into our bodies, causing harmful effects in the long run. Parents who wish their children and pets to be safe would prefer to garden in the “natural way”. Not only do they have access to fresh and wholesome vegetables and fruits, they also get to see plenty of bees and butterflies or other small wildlife who become regular visitors!
(3) Coming to the brass tacks of what organic gardening involves, planning is essential before starting any kind of project. The gardener has to be clear about the type of garden, its location, design, and whether companion plants are to be included in the garden or not.
(4) The natural fertilizer used for organic gardening is compost. Compost is prepared by mixing topsoil with different organic matter (dead leaves, rotten vegetables and vegetable refuse, and manure). Water and air are also important for its preparation. There should be plenty of room (large pit) given for the compost to develop, plus the mixture has to be frequently re-mixed or turned.
When it is ready, the compost becomes the replacement for surface soil, for the placement of seeds and young seedlings. So the mixture has to be ready before everything else, where natural gardening is concerned.
(5) The actual territory set aside for the garden is the next thing to be taken into consideration, as well as specific areas for particular plants.
Geographic locations of course make it easy to decide, or rather the climatic conditions in those places decide for the gardener. For example, places like Florida, Nevada or Alaska.
But generally, certain questions need answers before deciding on the above factors. They are–Does the garden lie within easy access? Will the plants receive plenty of sunlight? Is there enough protection provided for when the cold season arrives or if the weather decides to change? Is the garden likely to be flooded in the event of a major rain storm, or is it in a safe and high place?
In fact, with enough experience, an enthusiastic gardener may be able to develop a flower garden in the same spot as a vegetable garden!
(6) Organically-grown gardens invite the use of companion plants, but of course, it is all dependent on the gardener.
Insects and diseases attack plants, no matter how they are cultivated. So organically-grown plants are no different! Companion plants give out natural chemicals that repel these enemies.
There are certain plants that keep away nematodes. Cucumber beetles cannot come near the plants if there is Oregano anywhere! Aphids love to attack roses. The solution is to grow garlic near these rose plants. These are just a few examples. There may be a longer list regarding companion plants for organic gardening.