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 Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 22nd of March, 2018.

What To Do In The Garden In October

What To Do In The Garden In October

In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Monday, 2nd of October, 2017.

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Innovative Products From Wildlife World

Everyone should be serious about encouraging wildlife, and whether you focus on pollinating bees, pest devouring birds or slug eating hedgehogs, David Hall has been looking at the products that Wildlife World design and manufacture to aid their conservation.

Author: David Hall

Written by David Hall.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

VegTrug - The Easy Way To Grow Your Own Vegetables

At GLEE this year David Coton visited the VegTrug stand to find out how their specially designed space saving planters can encourage us to grow more of our own food without the use of pesticides.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 14th of September, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

RSS

View RSS Feed

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

What To Do In The Garden In April

What To Do In The Garden In April

With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 29th of March, 2018.

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

How Can I Help To Save Our Bees?

Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.

Author: Martyn Loach

Written by Martyn Loach.
Published on Thursday, 22nd of March, 2018.

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

Trimetals Launch Two New Guardian Sheds

As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Monday, 12th of March, 2018.

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

GardenSite Visit Zest 4 Leisure Direct New Distribution Centre

Zest 4 Leisure manufactures a large variety of timber garden furniture, fencing and leisure products, David Coton visited their brand new nine acre site near Chester last week to find out more about current development and future plans.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Friday, 9th of March, 2018.