Organic gardening is the philosophy that we, as gardeners, should strive to be in harmony with nature.
The four cornerstones of organic gardening:
- Respect for the soil (don’t treat it like dirt; build healthy soil)
- Disturb the soil as little as possible. Hand till only and only when necessary.
- Amend with natural amendments
- Compost is the best possible amendment
- Responsible control of unwanted plants (i.e., weeds)
- Mulch, pull, hoe
- No need for herbicides
- With regard to wildlife: encourage the beneficials, reasonably discourage unwanted pests.
- Beneficials include:pollinators, predators, decomposers (mostly insects)
- Unwanted pests include those mammals and insects that eat what we grow.
- Learn to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys!
- Use water wisely
- Water deeply and infrequently and only when necessary
- Control runoff
- Don’t postpone harvest beyond the veggie’s peak
Encourage the beneficials by:
- Giving them a food source: dill, yarrow, native plants
- Providing shelter and water
- Limiting spraying (even the organic sprays)
Discourage the pests by:
- Encouraging the predators (insects, birds, snakes, etc.)
- Using integrated pest management techniques (identify the problem, take action only when necessary and use the least intensive controls)
- Use sprays, oil, biological controls only as a last resort.