Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Organic Gardening Not Just For Food Crops

Most people are familiar by now with the concept of organic gardening. Many health food stores and even local grocery stores now carry a line-up of organically produced products for this ever increasing market. However, organic gardening should not be restricted to just your food crops it should and can be applied successfully to all vegetation including lawns, flowers, ornamental trees and shrubs.

Organic Flower Gardening (tips for converting and maintaining)
1. Healthy Soil:
No garden will thrive for long without it, but for the organic gardener it is the number one goal and the key to everything that follows after that. I cannot stress this one enough. Without a healthy growing medium you will find yourself needing to resort to chemicals in order to nourish and to treat out of control insect populations and disease. In a healthy growing environment however, nature will take over many those roles for you. Take the time to educate your-self on the subject and you will be rewarded (if you apply this knowledge) with a healthier, lower maintenance and more enjoyable outdoor living space. Here are a few links to help you get started.
Healthy Soil Part 1, Healthy Soil Part 2, Healthy Soil Part 3,Healthy Soil Part 4

2. Choosing plants that will thrive in your specific growing environment:
Taking the time to carefully plan out your gardens and your plant choices is a wise investment of both your time and energy. No matter how good a gardener you are if you have selected plant material that is not well suited to your growing environment you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. Poor plant choices also pose a risk of introducing unwanted garden pests and diseases to your garden. Nature’s motto is survival of the fittest. While pests and diseases tend to be attracted to the weakest plants in a garden, once well established they can also pose a health threat to some of your healthier ones as well.

To make wise plant choices you will need to:
• Determine What Grow Zone You Live In:

US Hardiness Zone Map

• Determine Your Soil Type: (sand, silt or clay)
• Determine the lighting requirements for the plant compared to the actual lighting available. (Full sun, part sun, part shade, full shade)
• Determine the watering requirements for the plant compared with what you can provide.
• Determine the overall care required for a particular plant and compare that against your level of expertise and amount of time you have to devote to your gardens.

3. Treat Pests and Diseases with Natural Remedies:
Once you get the hang of organic gardening you will find that Mother Nature will establish its own checks and balances in your garden, (as long as you do not disrupt the natural process through the use of harmful chemicals). When Mother Nature does require a little assistance there are many natural remedies available that will not harm the environment nor disrupt the eco-balance in your garden.

4. Mulching:
Adds organic matter to the soil and helps to feed the soil micro-organisms that in turn feed your plants. Mulching also helps to reduce watering requirements, soil compaction and keeps the soil at a cooler temperature.

5. Composting:
Is the big Kahuna. Turning your garden waste into compost and then mulching your gardens with it is the equivalent of a healthy diet and exercise for people. If you are unable to produce enough compost for your gardens needs most garden centers carry pre-bagged compost. Also check out your local municipality for free compost sites and dates. (Note: do not compost any diseased plant materials as most home composters do not get hot enough to destroy them).

6. Do Not Expect Perfection:
You will be amazed at how much more you will enjoy your garden if you just ease up on your standards a wee bit. Let it be ok to have some leaves that have been munched on a bit. If you run for you can of insecticide right away you will deny Mother Nature the opportunity to bring in a natural predator to devour your offending insect. Nowhere in nature will you find perfection, rather nature, like organic gardening, is all about balance.

7. Take Time to Smell the Roses:
Don’t spend all your time in the garden working. Take time to enjoy this space with family and friends. Take the time to savour a cup of coffee or to sip a glass of wine at the end of a hard day. Believe it or not your garden will feed on your positive energy.


While transforming your chemically laden yards may be time consuming at the start once you have it well in hand the labour involved in caring for it will be greatly reduced. Not only will you have more time to enjoy your garden but you will also be reducing your carbon foot print and creating a healthier and safer environment for you and your family.

All of the gardens in these photos have been grown organically. 

Photo credits: All photos by White Swan Properties

No comments:

Post a Comment