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August 2009
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How to start an Organic Garden – tips

What do you mean by Organic Gardening ?
Organic Gardening primarily means not using synthetic products such as fertilizers and pesticides. It means working much more closely with nature, and using natural means to increase the level of ingredients and essential materials such as nitrogen to the soil, and using natural means to counter pests such as insects.
An important part of going organic is that you need to change your style of dealing with problems. In normal gardening, where you do not have to follow organic principles, you can deal with pests once they occur by treating them with pesticide; you can deal with scarcity of nutrients by adding fertilizer. If you are following organic gardening principles, what you really need to do is to try and prevent problems rather than having to deal with them as they occur. Taking the initial steps to make your garden healthier results in having fewer problems to deal with and healthier plants, fewer pest and disease problems.
As a part of this, you need to make sure that your soil is healthy, has all the required nutrients, that you take care to ensure that the plants you are planting are healthy (and you have enough knowledge of the plants you are planting in terms of their requirements and their growth cycles), that you check your plants on a regular basis and have setup a frequency of checking along with a checklist of what to check. It is very important to have a knowledge of the pests in your garden, as not all insects and animals in the garden are harmful (many insects and animals actually help in pest control); further, the damange inflicted by some pests can be minimal and not really affect your plants.
The insistence of not using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers is an important part of the growth of an organic garden, and not to be compromized with. It is more of a mind set change that you need to rule out the use of such chemicals. This does not mean that you cannot use pesticides, there are a whole range of pesticides and insect repellants that are based on organic ingredients and which are overall of benefit to the environment (the run-off of pesticides and fertilizers into water systems is now a major environmental and health problem).
Finally, let me round off this summary of organic gardening principles with this definition:

“an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony”


My Organic Food Guide

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