Organic gardening is a system of raising crops that limits the use of artificial pesticides and chemical fertilizers. The goal of organic gardening is to raise healthy plants that are more resistant to insects and diseases, rather than dose sickly plants with chemicals to ward off these problems. Organic gardening is practiced among home gardeners who wish to eliminate excess chemicals from their diet and do their part to be stewards of the environment.
Build your garden's fertility by amending it with organic matter such as compost. Avoid chemical fertilizers that can damage or destroy the ecosystem in the soil. Use organic mulches like pine straw or wood chips to keep moisture in the soil.
Learn the difference between beneficial insects and pest insects. Hand-pick pest insects from plants whenever possible, and only use organically approved pesticides when absolutely necessary. Strive to create an environment that encourages beneficial insects by planting beds with a mixture of flowers, herbs and vegetables.
Rotate crops to break disease cycles. Use fungicides and plant sprays as little as possible, always avoiding those that are not safe for organic gardens. Utilize cultural practices that encourage good air flow around plants, and provide proper drainage to help eliminate problems with fungi and molds.
Hand-pull or mechanically remove weeds with tools instead of using herbicides. Use mulches to choke out weeds and promote water retention in the soil.
Plant green manure crops when beds are resting. Planting crops such as comfrey and clover prevents erosion and contributes to the health of the soil when they are tilled under.
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