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

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.

What To Do In The Garden in June

What To Do In The Garden in June

At this time of the year you'll find a fabulous selection of summer bedding at our Garden Centre in Birmingham. David Coton will be planting the bedding in containers this month to achieve a wonderful display of colour and here are some other jobs to do in the garden in June.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Wednesday, 17th of May, 2017.

comments powered by Disqus

RSS

View RSS Feed

Author

Martyn Loach

Editor in Chief

View Profile

Follow Us!

Recent Articles

What To Do In The Garden In January

What To Do In The Garden In January

Although the days are short and the view from our Garden Centre is frosty and overcast, Andy Taylor suggests various jobs that can be done in the garden during the month of January.

Author: Andrew Taylor

Written by Andrew Taylor.
Published on Friday, 29th of December, 2017.

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Arthur Terry Winter Concert

GardenSite Donates Christmas Tree To Arthur Terry Winter Concert

Showcasing young musical talent, this year's Winter Concert at Arthur Terry School was an outstanding success and took place against the stunning backdrop of a Christmas Tree donated by GardenSite.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Thursday, 21st of December, 2017.

New Street Station Christmas Tree And Selfie Competition

New Street Station Christmas Tree And Selfie Competition

It was quite an honour for GardenSite to be asked to supply the Christmas Tree to Birmingham New Street Station this year, and to celebrate we're offering a Champagne High Tea to the winners of a seasonal selfie competition.

Author: David Coton

Written by David Coton.
Published on Tuesday, 19th of December, 2017.

Garden Storm Damage And What You Should Know

Garden Storm Damage And What You Should Know

With Storm Caroline reeking havoc many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies at some time regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite.co.uk can help with an independent insurance quote and claim.

Author: Robert Hall

Written by Robert Hall.
Published on Thursday, 7th of December, 2017.