Whether you are entirely new to gardening or simply want to turn over a new leaf, organic gardening is easier than you may imagine. The key is to relax about the odd nibbled leaf or garden pest. Instead, the key is to focus on creating an ecosystem that can feed you healthily and sustainably while still functioning at its best as a natural system.
Many gardeners go through the motions, spending little thought on the soil. Remember, soil is an ecosystem – teeming with life. Disturbing that balance is the fastest route to a garden disaster. So, how do we make the most of the benefits of the life in our soil without disturbing it unduly? Here are a few tips to help you care for the soil in your organic garden:
Employ a ‘No Dig’ System
When we disturb the soil we disturb the balance. As much as possible we should leave the soil organisms to do their own thing. Instead of digging in organic matter, layer it on top of the soil, allowing the nutrients to filter down through.
Composting is the single most important thing for any organic garden. Create a compost heap or bin and fill it will a good mix of ‘green’ (nitrogen rich) and ‘brown’ (carbon rich) materials. There are different methods of composting but all will help you return excess to the system and make sure your soil is not depleted of the essential nutrients plants need to grow.
Mulch and Feed
Excess or ‘waste’ organic matter should also be recycled through your organic garden as mulches placed around plants and as liquid feeds or ‘teas’ to add nutrients to the plants that need them. Click here for a step by step guide to creating, or brewing, a compost tea.
–Article Contributed by Elizabeth Waddington. Elizabeth lives with her husband and her dog on a sustainable smallholding in Scotland. She is a green living consultant and freelance writer with a particular interest in permaculture and organic growing.