Tips for Transitioning to Organic Gardening
Over the last 10 years or so, more people have become concerned about what they are putting on their lawn or using in their vegetable garden. Because of this, the organic gardening market has seen a rise in their sales. For some, you may be avoiding the change to organic lawn care and gardening because you feel that it will be a big hassle. Following some of these simple and easy tips will help make the transition from a chemical lawn and garden to an organic one much simpler.
*Good soil is of high importance when it comes to gardening. After you have selected your
garden site, cleared it of grass and weeds, the soil will need to be amended with natural, vital nutrients. Mix in products like bone and blood meal along with organic humus and compost. This will will give your plants a nutrient rich start. Make sure to rotate crops each season so that the soil is not completely leeched of these nutrients. Raised beds are a beginner gardener's friend. Having this defined space can be easier to keep watered and weeded, making it less intimidating to maintain as a newbie.
*Natural weed control is a thing and it works. Spreading corn (gluten) meal mixed with Epsom salt on your lawn prior to it greening up. *YES, the Epsom salt is completely safe to use!* This
mixture will not only feed the lawn, it will act as a pre-emergent for weeds. The CGM stops the weed seeds from germinating, thus giving you a natural weed-n-feed. Use a mixture of white vinegar, dish soap, and Epsom salt to create a natural version or Round-Up. Simply spray the weeds directly on the stalk and down to its base along the ground and it will be dead within 24 hours. This works great on driveway and sidewalk sprouting weeds.
*Creating a compost pile is a necessity if you plan on growing fruits and/ or veggies. There are compost bins that you can purchase at local home improvement stores or you can make your own fairy easily and for a lot less money. Wood shipping pallets nailed together to create a 3-sided box will work nicely. Put some wire along the inside to keep your valuable compost loss to a minimum. Add lawn and hedge clippings, fruit and vegetable rinds, and even tea bags to your
compost pile. It is important to turn the compost heap once a week so a super-cool pitch fork might be a necessary purchase. This will ensure that it is all degrading evenly.
*Research beneficial bugs to help with pest control. While there are definitely some insects that can wreak havoc on your lawn or vegetable garden, many bugs are highly beneficial. You can purchase larva or eggs to hatch online that come with instructions for their care. Lady bugs will help you control the aphid population that
your rose bushes. Praying mantis eat a variety of insects with no harm to your plants. Attract bees to your garden to help pollinate your fruits and vegetables by planting flowers within the area.
*Choosing organic plants and seeds is simple these day. While this may seem like a no-brainer, you would be surprised at the number of people that go through the trouble to start an organic garden and then choose non-organic plants and seeds to grow. Garden stores have enlarged their organic plant and seed selection in recent years, often having an entire section dedicated to them and taking the guess work out of it. The plants and seeds will be labeled as organic.
*Mulch. Mulch. Mulch. Using a thick layer of organic mulch is another necessity. Mulch will help maintain the appropriate moisture level in the soil below it, effectively cutting your need for constant watering. Mulch is another form of natural weed control by blocking the sun's rays from the soil where would-be invaders would sprout up. Done correctly, mulching feeds the soil’s living microorganisms with nutrients and the waste from these tiny microbes creates healthier soil structure for plants, limiting compaction of the soil.
Going organic may take a little more work up front, but the reward for a healthy earth and a healthy body is definitely worth it!