Organic Gardening
Graphic designed by Anthony Holloway

3 Steps to an Organic Garden

By Sara Graca

Organic gardeners rely on 'black gold'-- no not petroleum, but compost. Compost is created by little natural micro-organisms eating up and digesting materials they can convert into nutrient rich humus, that looks like a dark black soil and is coined 'black gold'. Nature creates compost all the time without human intervention. But gardeners can step in and speed up the composting process by creating the optimal conditions for decomposition: Air + Water + Carbon + Nitrogen = Compost. Another way organic gardeners maintain a healthy soil balance is by rotating their plants. When you grow the same plants season after season in the same spot, the soil in that area loses fertility. If you do not practice crop rotation, your plants will poison the soil and weaken them, making them more susceptible to insect damage.

Many gardeners turn to products like Miracle- Gro to promote plant growth and vitality, but these chemicals can actually end up harming your plants. Organic gardeners turn to non-chemical fertilizers. Seaweed has been used as an organic fertilizer for centuries.Trace amounts of every element are found in seawater and the cold waters of the North Atlantic envelope the Sea Kelp and lock in the trace elements. Seaweed in combination with organic fertilizers add a full spectrum of trace minerals and natural growth and rooting hormones for more vigorous growth, these conditions produce better tasting fruits, vegetables, and food. Some examples of organic fertilizers are: seaweed, fish emulsion, humates, molasses, bone meal, corn gluten meal, greensand, lava sand, epsom salt, compost, mulches, worm castings, chicken manure, gypsum, hydrogen peroxide, lime, sul-po-mag and more.

Gardener's can prevent insect damage slimply by creating a healthy soil; most insects only attack unhealthy plants.The organic approach and philosophy to insect control is not to use insecticides. These chemicals kill both harmful and beneficial insects. If insects do become a problem,organic gardeners often turn to what many would consider the root of the problem-- more insects. One way organic gardener's control insect damage is by increasing predator and parasitic insect populations. If the infestation becomes particularly problematic many organic gardeners turn to a non- petroleum based soap spray or hot pepper wax spray to make the plant unappealing for insect consumption; these sprays do not contaminate the plant and can easily be washed off with water.

2010 © Sara Graca