10 Steps to Start an Organic Garden

10 Étapes pour lancer un Jardin Biologique

Growing awareness of the harmful effects of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is leading many gardeners to turn to organic gardening.
This type of gardening is more environmentally friendly and promotes plant health.

What is organic gardening?

Organic gardening is a holistic approach to gardening that uses natural solutions for soil amendments, fertilizers and pest and disease control.
This method of gardening cultivates a sustainable ecosystem that nourishes plants, beneficial insects and soil microorganisms.
Synthetic remedies that may be harmful to humans, animals and the environment are avoided.
Organic gardening methods are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than non-organic methods.

🌿 Benefits of organic gardening

  • Safety: Creates a healthy environment for humans and animals.
  • Soil health: Improves soil structure and reduces water consumption.
  • Healthy food: Produces healthier and tastier food.
  • Well-being: Generate mental and physical benefits through regular physical activity in the garden.

      🌼 10 Tips for Starting an Organic Garden

      1. Improve Soil Health
      2. Use composting
      3. Fertilize the sun
      4. Use the Mulching method
      5. Fight pests naturally
      6. Select organic seeds and plants
      7. Practice crop rotation
      8. Combine compatible cultures
      9. Take advantage of beneficial insects
      10. Avoid synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides

      1. Improve Ground Health

      The soil is not only a growing medium but a living and rich ecosystem. To make it more fertile and improve its water retention capacity, it is essential to include organic materials such as compost, aged manure, or even dead leaves and straw.
      These elements feed beneficial soil microorganisms which, in turn, improve soil structure and help plants better absorb nutrients.
      First of all, assess the texture and composition of your soil to know exactly what to add.
      It is also recommended to carry out a pH test to adjust the acidity or alkalinity of the soil in a natural way, with for example lime to reduce the acidity or iron sulfate to 'increase.

      2. Use composting

      Composting transforms your organic waste into a rich amendment which improves soil fertility and aeration.
      You can compost kitchen scraps, yard waste like leaves and grass clippings, and even paper or cardboard.
      Vermicomposting, which involves the use of red worms, is an excellent method to speed up this process and obtain higher quality compost.
      This compost enriches the soil with beneficial micro-organisms and essential nutrients for plant growth.

      Find more information on how to make and apply compost .

      3. Fertilize the soil

      Plants require various nutrients for growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
      Organic fertilizers, available in dry or liquid forms, provide these nutrients in a balanced and gentle manner.
      Dry fertilizers, such as cottonseed meal or bone meal, are incorporated into the soil at planting time.
      Liquid fertilizers, such as fish emulsion or kelp extract,are used during the growing season for rapid action.
      Before applying these products, it is crucial totest the soil to identify specific deficiencies and adjust nutrient intake accordingly.

      Find more information about organic garden fertilizers .

      4. Use the Mulching method

      Mulching is essential for maintaining soil moisture, reducing weeds and protecting plant roots.
      Use organic materials like shredded bark, straw or dead leaves which enrich the soil as they decompose.
      Inorganic mulch, like gravel, can also be used for aesthetic reasons or to improve drainage.

      Learn more about mulching .

      5. Fight pests naturally

      Instead of resorting to chemical pesticides, opt for natural solutions to control pests. Correctly identifying the pest is the first step; then,use biological methods such as:

      • The size of the infected parts
      • Using water sprays to dislodge insects
      • The introduction of natural predators like ladybugs

      Physical barriers, such as row covers,can also be effective in protecting crops.
      After correctly identifying the pest you are targeting, a number of organic methods can be used, including:

      • Selective pruning: Cut off affected areas on plants and throw them in the trash.
      • Water: Gently spray plants with water to dislodge pests.
      • Attract beneficial insects: Recruit natural predators such as lacewings, ladybugs and parasitic wasps to help control pests.
      • Organic Products: Use products such as diatomaceous earth, horticultural oil, insecticidal soaps, insect traps or home remedies like garlic or chili pepper sprays.
      • Barriers: Row covers can be placed over raised beds or vegetable rows to keep pests at bay.
      • Pest-resistant plant varieties: Some plants are more resistant to pests than others; include these varieties in your garden.
      • Keep plants healthy: Plants that are healthy are more resistant to pests.

        6. Select organic seeds and plants

        Choosing certified organic seeds and plants ensures that they have not been exposed to pesticides or unwanted genetic modifications.
        These seeds meet strict chemical-free production standards, which is better for your health and that of the environment.
        Although often more expensive, they represent an investment in the quality of your garden.

        7. Practice crop rotation

        Crop rotation is an ancient practice that:

        • Prevents soil nutrient depletion
        • Reduces the buildup of pests and diseases 
        • Improves soil fertility

        For example, do not plant vegetables from the same botanical family in the same location more than every other year.
        It also helps to break pest life cycles and utilize the natural properties of plants, such as nitrogen-fixing legumes, beneficial for subsequent crops.

        8. Combine compatible cultures

        Crop association is a technique that consists of planting together species that support each other to:

        • Pest control
        • Improving pollination
        • Maximizing space utilization

        For example, marigolds repel certain harmful insects and carrots benefit from the proximity of onions which repel carrot flies.

        Learn more about combining crops.

        9. Take advantage of beneficial insects

        Encouraging beneficial insects such as bees for pollination and ladybugs for aphid control can reduce the need for chemical interventions.
        Creating a favorable habitat for these insects, for example by planting flowers they like or providing water sources, contributes to a balanced and healthy garden.

        Learn more about beneficial insects

        10. Avoid synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides 

        Synthetic chemicals can have long-term effects on the health of soils and living organisms residing in them, including humans and pets.
        Using natural and organic fertilization and pest control methods helps maintain a healthy and sustainable environment.
        Some of the harmful effects of synthetic remedies include:

        • Chemical pesticides can be harmful to beneficial insects
        • Synthetic fertilizers are more likely to burn plant roots
        • Synthetic fertilizers can also create a buildup of salts in the soil, which can hinder plant growth.
        • Beneficial microbes may be negatively affected, disrupting the soil ecosystem
        • Synthetic remedies can build up in the soil and leach into underground water sources
        • Pets and wildlife can be sickened or killed by exposure to toxic chemicals
        • Chemical fertilizers and pesticides contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions
        • Some chemical herbicides can cause cancer or other illnesses in humans
        • Synthetic chemicals can be toxic if used on edible crops

          Read more

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