Ten Hints for Organic Growing

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Deep loosening and shallow turning:

Increase the air in the soil by loosening with a fork but only turn the surface layer.  Soil may need to be turned, to control weeds or to create a seed bed, but only turn enough to achieve these functions - let soil lay the way nature made it.

 

Compost:

Use Compost as the method of choice to increase organic matter in the soil.  Place compost on the soil surface under a light mulch.

 

Mulch:

Cover all bare soil around plants with natural mulch such as shredded tree trimmings, bark, clean straw, compost etc.  Don't use heavy mulch when growing plants from seed, until they are established.

 

Biodiversity:

Encourage biodiversity by growing flowering plants.  They will encourage beneficial insects to remain in the garden.  White and yellow flowers are best.  If you use plants which flower at all times of the year, you can extend the period when beneficial insects are at work in the garden.  Help nature and keep your garden colourful at the same time!

 

To control spider mites:

Spray liquid seaweed and garlic/chilli pepper tea, encourage green lacewings.  Use horticultural oil for heavy infestations.

 

Mowing:

Mow lawns to a higher level than the general recommendation, to increase the self-sufficiency of grasses and reduce water needs and plant stress.  At the start of the season mow down to 5 cm or more and raise this to at least 7.5 cm by mid summer.  Mow more often if necessary, leaving the clippings on the lawn.  Put excess clippings in the compost.

 

Compost Tea:

Make a small compost pile go further by applying it in the form of ‘compost tea’.  It is also effective at suppressing many pests and diseases including many fungal problems.

 

Choose plants wisely:

Select plants that are suited to your soil and climate.  Choose healthy well-grown plants and treat them with care.  Use seaweed fertilisers on transplants.

 

Lawn beetles:

Saturate the lawn overnight to force beetles to the surface.  Rise just after dawn the next day and watch the early birds feasting!

 

General garden health:

Concentrate on natural soil development, using compost, mulch and organic fertilisers.  Don’t use high nitrogen fertilisers.  Pull weeds or mulch them and avoid chemical herbicides.  You can use techniques such as gas flames to control weeds in the driveway or in paths.  Herbicides inhibit the development of a really vital organic soil.

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