In the gardening world we hear the word ‘organic’ a lot, but it’s difficult to pin down exactly what that means. In this article we will discuss what organic gardening really is and how you can make use of it in your own garden.
What is organic gardening?
Organic gardening uses as little manufactured chemical substances as possible. It makes use of natural remedies and physical measures that help to make sure your garden is as organic as possible.
Key principles of organic gardening:
- Avoiding manufactured pesticides and fertilisers.
- Cultivating a healthy soil.
- Promoting biodiversity and supporting ecosystems.
- Using natural pest control methods.
- Minimising negative environmental impact.
What are the benefits of organic gardening?
Organic gardening comes with loads of benefits for you, your garden, and the planet. Here are some examples:
Organic gardening is a great way to support biodiversity in your outdoor space. Using minimal chemicals helps to protect pollinators like bees, butterflies, and moths. This, in turn, supports both plant and animal life in your garden. Click here to find out more about attracting pollinators to your garden.
One of the main benefits of organic gardening is how eco-friendly it is. One of the things that makes it so sustainable is carbon sequestration from maintaining healthy soils. This means that carbon dioxide is being captured and stored in the soil so that there’s less in the atmosphere. Here are some organic gardening practices that help to sequester carbon:
- Maintaining good levels of soil organic matter.
- Using cover crops.
- Composting and mulching.
- Less tilling and soil disturbance.
Another eco-friendly aspect of organic gardening is the reduced environmental impact. Using less chemicals helps to protect water sources from dangerous substances, in turn protecting aquatic life and other wildlife.
Soil health and longevity
The soil practices used in organic gardening are great for promoting long-lasting soil health and fertility. The idea behind these practices is to feed the soil, rather than the plant. This involves using a lot of organic matter. Not only does this add nutrients, but it also helps to improve the soils structure, making it easier for roots to grow through and a better environment for essential microorganisms.
Healthier, tastier produce
With healthy soil comes healthy plants. If you’re growing fruits and vegetables, higher quality plants will mean higher quality produce. It therefore makes sense that organic produce is usually credited with superior flavour and quality.
Another benefit of healthy soils is their ability to retain a lot of water. This means you won’t use as much water to keep your plants happy and healthy. Mulching is also key in organic gardening, which prevents water from evaporating out of the soil.
Minimal chemical usage also means minimal spending on pesticides, fertilisers, and other man-made chemical products. While you may still need to buy organic products, there are loads of organic gardening methods that don’t require any spending at all.
Organic pest and disease management
While it sometimes feels like chemicals are the only option, there are plenty of organic methods for pest and disease management. Here are some examples:
- Making your own bug spray.
- Introducing or encouraging natural predators. For example, ladybirds that eat aphids.
- Planning your planting with pest and disease resistance in mind. For example, planting pest or disease resistant varieties.
- Physically removing pests by hand or washing them off with water.
- Pruning away dead and diseased parts of plants or removing those that are too infested.
Fertilising your garden organically
Organic fertilisers add nutrients to your soil without the need for chemicals, using plant or animal sources instead. Some organic fertilisers work slower than chemical ones because the molecules need more time to be broken down, but once released the nutrients are very useful for your plants.
Examples of organic fertilisers:
- Bone meal
Click here for more information on fertilising your plants.
Using organic practices can be very beneficial for you, your outdoor space, and the environment. Click here for more articles on gardening for the environment.