Organic gardening is nowadays very popular. Let’s first define organic gardening, it simply means gardening using natural biological processes. You can’t use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. But organic gardening should not just be seen as what you can’t do, you should look at the whole picture, to work in harmony with natural systems so that any resources the garden consumes is naturally replenished.
Like most things in gardening, organic gardening needs a solid foundation, a healthy and fertile soil. Rather than using synthetic fertilizers, you add organic materials. Compost is the main source of organic matter, manure is another popular source that has been used for ages.
A healthy soil is very much alive, containing lots of organisms which decompose organic matter and release nutrients. Soil may not be a very exciting topic but a good soil is essential for successful gardening. Soil is made up of a lot of different materials, the main components are water, oxygen and minerals.
Getting the soil texture right is very important. Soil texture refers to the size of the particles that make up your soil and the relative amounts of these particles. Good soil for most plants is made up of about 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay. Clay particles are the smallest of these and sand particles are the largest. Too much clay and the soil contains less oxygen and becomes very hard when it is dry. Sandy soils are not very fertile and water drains quickly.
The term soil structure refers to how the soil particles clump together. A loose structure allows water and air to penetrate the soil easily. Clay particles clump together, making it difficult for water and oxygen to pass through. You can’t do much about the texture of your soil but you can improve the soil structure. The most common ways of improving soil structure and maintaining a good structure is to add organic matter and tilling.
Since you can’t use synthetic fertilizers it is very important to select plants that suits your local conditions. This also means that you have to pay attention to things such as sunshine, shady places, climate and soil structure. You want to create a balanced ecosystem in your garden. In order to achieve this you need a diversity of plants.
By cleaning up debris you make it more difficult for unhealthy organisms to stay in your garden. Additionally, frequent inspections of your plants will help you to quickly take action if you detect a problem. Note that some pesticides can be used also in organic gardening.
For the gardener, the good insects outnumber the bad insects, many insects help gardeners by pollinating flowers and predatory insects eat pest insects. So be careful with the insects, they are more important than most people think.