Organic gardening is about listening to nature, breaking bad habits and adopting good gardening practices. Here are 10 important rules to remember.
1. Know Your Garden
In order to respect the ecological balance between soil, fauna and flora, you need to grow aware of your surroundings:
It is essential to adapt your choice of plant and crop to your surroundings. Climate differs according to locations: soft, rough, cold, warm, windy, wet, dry… It is much easier and far more logical to adapt your choices to the environment than the reverse. Altitude is also an important element to take into consideration.
Fortunately, there are several factors you can act upon and soil is one of them. Some plants are very sensitive and can’t survive in soils that are too acidic or alkaline. This characteristic can be measured with a soil PH tester. Depending on the result, your soil may require a nutrient: lime if it is too acidic and sand or peat, if it is too alkaline.
A plant can’t grow properly without the exposure adapted to its needs. Despite good soil and adequate nutrient input, plant development will remain disappointing if the exposure is not appropriate. Inquire about a plant’s needs when making a purchase and do not plant it anywhere, simply based on visual aesthetics.
2. Respect the rhythm of Nature
Everything comes in time for those who know how to wait… The secret of a harmonious and healthy garden is to act at the right time and in the right place. Each plant has its own calendar for seeding, planting and fertilizing. You need to anticipate your desires and determine many months in advance what you want to see growing in spring, summer or the autumn of the following year. A happy gardener is a patient gardener.
3. Nurture your garden
As far as maintenance is concerned, it is essential adopt the right reflexes and choose the right fertilizer for each plant. It’s simple: identify the needs of your plants and know how to feed them. Gardeners often refer to the 3 “magic” letters: N-P-K.
• “N” for nitrogen. Perfect for leafy veggies, it promotes plant growth.
• “P” for phosphorus, valuable for developing flowers and fruit.
• “K” for potassium. It helps plants develop a healthy root system and resist disease.
4. Practice organic pest control
Pests generally return from one season to the next, so take the lead and anticipate their arrival without using insecticides. If you have fruit trees, use pheromones traps. Male butterflies are attracted to their scent and remain stuck on the trap. Females can therefore no longer be fertilized and are unable to lay their eggs in the fruit. Another classic method: yellow sticky traps or stickers. Unwanted insects are attracted by the yellow color remain stuck on the trap. There are also sticky bands, placed around tree trunks to prevent the passage of caterpillars, ants, etc.
5. Offer natural healing and protection
When it is too late to prevent or treat a plant, radical action must then be taken.
If your tree or shrub is sick, cut off the infected branch and protect the remaining part. To do this, use mastics which promote natural healing. They act as a dressing and prevent the emergence of new diseases.
Any cut or wound constitutes a risk of infection or decay. Cover tree wounds due to rodents or intense weather conditions with pine tar. This product forms a natural barrier against contamination and external attacks.
6. Use “traditional” gardening methods
Nature is at the service of nature. Traditional solutions have therefore been used for generations. Nettle, horsetail, separated or mixed… These various preparations all have specific virtues. You can now easily find nettle pellets on the market and they are very effective to create your own manure.
7. Respect the natural cycle of the garden
Composting is an easy, useful, economical and natural recycling process. It also reduces household waste. Once the compost is finished, you will get a very rich material that will improve the fertility of the soil, promote growth, and produce beautiful flowers and fruits.
A good homemade compost is simple to make. Get a good composter, prefer double-walled ones that will promote faster temperature rise and better compost. Mix the compost from time to time and add a compost activator if required.
8. Preserve biodiversity
Preserving biodiversity is necessary to favor the development of auxiliary insects, useful to the garden. Hedgehogs, ladybirds, lizards, wild bees, even solitary wasps regulate the development of pests in the garden. To promote the arrival of auxiliaries and develop an oasis of well-being for them in your garden, you can provide them with suitable shelters for nesting and hibernation.
Leave lots of leaves and branches, put stones in a sunny place for hedgehogs. Plant varieties of flowers that allow the pollination of bees, butterflies, etc. such as lavender, blackberries and raspberries, even nettles and clover in meadows.
9. Document yourself
It’s hard to know everything about everything. Keep yourself informed via newsletters from garden professionals. Many solutions are available on the internet. Applications such as the Plant Doctor will also help you find answers to your problems. Available on smartphones, this service allows you to prevent, identify and eliminate any issue you may have in your garden.