Gardening Organically

Martyn Loach explains that organic gardening is about working with nature rather than against it, if nature had succeeded in sustaining life over millions of years, it must have something going for it.

Created by Martyn Loach on Friday, 24th of May, 2013.
Updated on Monday, 31st of August, 2015.


Organic Allotment

In the short term chemicals might well improve yields but, because organic matter isn't replaced, the soil structure deteriorates. At the same time the eco-system of pests and predators breaks down and increasingly strong pesticides have to be used.

Feed the soil not the plant

The organic gardener grows a wide variety of plants and feeds the soil rather than the plant, allowing them to take up the nutrients when required. The theory is that this will make them stronger and more pest resistant.

Maintaining and improving soil fertility is therefore key to organic gardening success. 

To aerate the soil and let winter frosts break it up, dig annually in the autumn. This will improve the structure, particularly if you add organic matter such as manure.

Make sure you feed the soil with the big three nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash. Other trace elements are required and all these can be found in organic fertilizers such as mushroom compost; liquid seaweed extract; bonemeal or hoof and horn; wood ash; and fish, blood and bone.

This isn't rocket science, just plain commonsense.

Prepare the soil well, removing all weeds and wait until conditions are ideal before sowing or planting out. Then keep the plants well watered. If you use a mulch to conserve moisture, this will also deter weeds.

Employ fleeces and cloches as protective barriers to combat pests. Try companion planting, for example plant nasturtiums near brassicas and the caterpillars that attack the latter will prefer to lay their eggs on the former. The smell of marigolds is said to deter aphids from feeding on adjacent crops, they also attract hover flies, whose larvae feed on aphids.

Thin out plants so that air can circulate more easily and keep plots and beds tidy so that diseases won't be harboured. If you are growing vegetables, use crop rotation – this will prevent diseases that relate to a particular plant from building up in the soil and nutrients are replenished more efficiently.

The bugbear of all gardeners is weeding. Chemical weedkillers are the easy solution, but especially sprays can be hit and miss, beneficial insects and their habitat can also be destroyed. Hand weeding is best, making sure you catch them before they seed, completely removing perennials. Use a hoe against annual weeds. 

Related Articles

How To Choose, Plant And Maintain A Fruit Tree

How To Choose, Plant And Maintain A Fruit Tree

Late autumn and winter is the perfect time to plant fruit trees and, whatever sized garden you have, Martyn Loach thinks there's space for a tree if you choose carefully and manage correctly.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of September, 2018.

GardenSite Donates Prize To Grow Your Own Picnic

GardenSite Donates Prize To Grow Your Own Picnic

As part of a project designed to sow ideas, grow inspiration and cultivate futures, 300 London schools are growing their own picnic this summer and their reward could be a £500 voucher from GardenSite.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 25th of May, 2018.

How Can I Make Compost?

How Can I Make Compost?

Composting is an entirely natural way of recycling your garden and kitchen waste, transforming it into a nutrient rich material that your plants will love. Martyn Loach shows how easy and cheap it is to replicate nature and create the ideal conditions in which your flowers and shrubs will thrive.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Friday, 4th of May, 2018.

What To Do In The Garden In May

What To Do In The Garden In May

Although the weather is feeling decidedly chilly for the time of the year, during May the threat of frost will pass and, with spring well under way, David Coton is in no doubt that this is going to be a busy month in the garden.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 30th of April, 2018.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

How To Build A Starter Chicken Coop

How To Build A Starter Chicken Coop

Building a Hutch Company Starter Chicken Coop is easy by following the detailed instructions that are supplied, it is a practical design that uses excellent quality wooden panels and requires only a screwdriver for assembly.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 17th of September, 2018.

GardenSite Visits New Supplier Churnet Valley

GardenSite Visits New Supplier Churnet Valley

With a view to introducing their impressive range of timber products to GardenSite, David Coton recently visited Churnet Valley Garden Furniture to look around their manufacturing facility.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Monday, 17th of September, 2018.

David Coton's Review Of Glee 2018

David Coton's Review Of Glee 2018

GLEE is the garden retail industry's annual show, David Coton took the opportunity to visit this year's event at the NEC in Birmingham to catch up with the news, visit current and potential suppliers and evaluate new products we can offer on GardenSIte in the coming year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 13th of September, 2018.

Our Guide To La Hacienda Chimeneas And Firepits

Our Guide To La Hacienda Chimeneas And Firepits

With a La Hacienda chimenea or firepit providing light and heat whatever the thermometer says, David Coton discovers that you can continue savouring an outdoor lifestyle even in late summer and the cool of an autumn evening.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 4th of September, 2018.