Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Organic Gardening Basics

Gardening is an excellent way of reducing stress, getting fresh air and mild to moderate exercise. And what can be healthier than doing gardening the organic way. Through organic gardening you ensure that you are eating healthy and are not polluting the environment.

The first step towards organic gardening is gathering comprehensive information about the process. Organic gardening is not a tedious task. Nor does it cost you much. A big advantage of organic gardening is that few external inputs are required.

The most important aspect of organic gardening is maintaining a healthy soil. First test your soil for its nutrient content. Search for a soil lab in your vicinity. These soil labs test soil for its content and give you even the micronutrient content of the soil. Following this, add appropriate nutrients such as compost, mulches and organic fertilizers.

You can purchase compost from the market or prepare it in your garden. Preparing compost is very easy and does not take much space. Composting can be done through a variety of techniques including fast composting, slow composting and worm composting. Among these, fast composting is the most popular technique the compost is ready in six to eight weeks in fast composting. Moreover, the compost obtained from this method is effective in controlling weeds.

Your nutrient-rich soil should be tilled, which can be done by hand as well as machine; though experts recommend tilling by hand with a spading fork as hand tilling maintains the soil structure. The next step is to sow your garden with organic seeds.

Now comes the most difficult part - controlling the pests and weeds. Organic pesticides, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides are often recommended to keep your plants safe from these pests and weeds. However, an effective way of controlling them is using a combination of different techniques to prevent their incidence. Along with using organic pesticides, these techniques include using beneficial insects, frogs, toads, trap crops, companion plants, etc.

Your organic garden is an extension of your home. Since organic gardening does not involve usage of harmful chemicals you can carry out numerous activities in the garden without the fear of any chemical contamination. Your children can also safely play in the organic garden.

Kiran Patil is a chemical engineer and an expert on organic food and organic farming. He also writes a blog on organic food. Visit his website at Organic Facts

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