|Chilli Plants by Jon Sullivan|
Here are five practical, garden-tested tips and strategies for budding organic gardeners.
1. Use mulch as your ultimate go-to in organic gardening. Mulch is anything that you place in the soil to cut down on weeding time and watering time. Mulch is also responsible for stabilizing soil temperature. Mulch can be made from old newspaper, raked fallen leaves, hay, tree bark, and grass clippings. Use it to shield and nourish your plants, except when you are dealing with seedlings. A three-inch layer of organic mulch is enough to conserve water, control weeds, and enrich the soil. Plants that thrive in acidic soil must be mulched with pine needles.
2. Strategize the positioning of companion plants. Certain herbs, like asparagus for example, do not take well to crowding and restricted growing space. Good companion plants in organic gardens include legumes and culinary herbs. Legumes, like peas and beans, convert atmospheric nitrogen into usable forms for plants. Strongly-smelling culinary herbs (basil, mint, onions, and chives), on the other hand, repel many garden pests. Plant some sunflowers, too, because they can attract plant-friendly bugs like ladybugs and ground beetles.
3. Deal with aphids in an eco-friendly way. Spray them with diluted liquid dishwashing detergent.
4. Weeds can be controlled easily with a spray of diluted vinegar. You do not need chemical weed killers. Spray some diluted ordinary vinegar on weeds to eliminate them.
5. Do container gardening if you do not have backyard space or if you live in an apartment. Repurpose plastic containers, wooden crates and barrels, and cans as gardening pots. Do not forget to add drain holes. As for DIY pots, stick to big containers. Small ones constrict the roots’ growing space and the soil dries off quickly. Plants that are suitable for container gardening are tomatoes, lettuce, beans, peppers, onions, squash, and small kitchen herbs and spices. Wouldn’t it be nice to just snip parsley right off your potted plant in the windowsill to garnish your pasta?
Learn more about herbs – how to grow them, how to make them thrive, and what they can do for you. Visit My Home Herb Garden.
Brought to you by Jeannie Woods, author of Healthy Happy Herbs