More and more folks in the gardening and landscaping community are taking an interest in “going organic.” With this in mind, I wanted to introduce the concept of organic gardening and share some trends.

The idea behind organic practices in the garden is in the same spirit you find in the organic section of the supermarket. That is, gardening without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Many gardeners have been operating under these ideas for years and even argue that organic began in the garden.

The three most important practices in an organic garden include plant selection, feeding and pest control. The easiest piece to organic gardening is plant selection. This is especially true for vegetables and herbs as there is now a wide selection of organic seeds and seedlings. The feeding is easy as well. Organic lines of fertilizer has become widespread. At almost any garden center you’ll see “organic” products such as steer manure, chicken manure and fish emulsion in plentiful supply. Pest control has also evolved to new levels. Today, there is an improved selection of natural pest control products. They are well labeled and can be quite effective is applied correctly. A “neem oil” is one of my absolute favorites when combating aphids on my roses.

When it comes to my garden, I tend to go “mostly organic.” The key organic practice for me is “feeding.” Organic fertilizers are a natural “slow release” source of vital nutrients for plants. In addition to the manures mentioned above, organic approved soil builders like kelp and alfalfa meal have shown incredible results when it comes to plant vigor. Fields that have been farmed continuously for forty centuries have been done so with consistent addition of organic soil amendments. I tell my dad that once a year we should be adding a soil builder to our gardens. In just a few years time, that fresh compost pays off handsomely!

Organic practices have caused consumers to be more thoughtful about their landscapes. Consider the many benefits to “going organic” in your garden and seek counsel from gardening clubs and nursery professionals. Even if you don’t adopt 100% of an organic culture in your garden, some of the ideas can save you money and help the environment.


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