There is a lot of chatter these days about organic growing and organic products but what does it really mean for the home gardener? There are certain principles organic growers adhere to, to ensure they have as little negative impact on the environment as possible.
1. Improving the health of the soil
Health soil equals healthy plants. Adding soil amendments such as mature compost, animal manure, green manure crops, trace elements, rock dust, worm castings and juice and high-quality organically based fertilisers will build up microscopic life in the soil which in turn feeds plant roots. Plants will be far more resistant to pest and disease attack.
2. Cover the soil
Mulch helps maintain moisture in the soil, prevents evaporation, keeps a cool root run for plants and in some cases provides nutrients as it breaks down. Microscopic soil fungi and bacteria are more likely to survive extreme temperatures.
3. Grow green manure crops
These feed the rhizosphere providing a sponsor for the fungi and bacteria that convert minerals into a useable form that plant roots can access. When you harvest your vegies, leave the roots in the ground (only if they are not diseased) as there will be hundreds of good fungi and bacteria attached to them.
4. Increase biodiversity
The greater diversity of plants in your garden will increase the diversity of the fauna that visit. All the beneficial insects and birds will do most of the pest control work for you, your garden will become alive and nature will abound.
It’s something we all forget to do in our busy lives. Go into the garden at different times of the day and just sit and watch what happens. Before you reach for an insect killer, have a close look at what else is on the plant, I guarantee there will be a predator lurking close by.
© The West Australian
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