Feed the Soil for the Best Organic Gardening Experience
This one's easy to understand.
Let's say that you are hungry. You haven't been fed. You haven't taken a bath. You haven't pampered yourself. You've spent so much time working and taking care of others, but you haven't done much for your own wellbeing.
How would you feel?
Well, for a while, you may be able to accept the fact and keep on keeping on. You may be able to continue on day to day without asking for anything in return. As time goes by, however, you will feel, more and more, the negative effects of the situation. You will no longer have the energy levels that you used to. Your body will gradually deteriorate until it can no longer function well enough for day activities and needs, much less for extreme situations.
How is this related to the organic method of gardening? Well, plants are living creatures and they thrive best in optimal settings.
Let's look at the state of the soil in your organic garden.
Soil is one of the most important factors in any gardening, whether you have a huge pecan orchard or are doing a little herbal gardening on the kitchen counter. In these, and in organic gardening, good soil is the base of everything. This will be the bed, or the home, of your plants. You must choose the right location and provide the best soil in the first place for success.
Depending on your particular location, the soils that you may have available may or may not be suitable for success.
While soil can be improved, you should base the decision on which plants to grow on the types of soils that are available in your area and what you can do with them. Once you have picked the right kinds of plants, you are now on you way to the first steps of your gardening venture using the organic method.
No matter how good the soil may be, you will probably get better results if you take a few extra steps.
Soil must never go hungry. Just as in the example we started with, soil can lose its mojo if not treated properly. You have to feed the soil. You have to bathe it. And you have to take care of it just like how you tend to yourself and the plants in your garden.
You know from your grade school days that the soil needs water, sunlight and air. But, you are doing everything organically now, and that creates a few extra points to consider. Although water, sunlight, and air are definitely organic, you still have to feed your soil, and the plants growing in it with something else as well.
To properly feed your garden organically, you've got to place...well...organic matter...into the soil.
You may have heard of composting, and this is mainly how you get nutrients into the soil in organic gardening.
In composting, you make use of decaying organic material such as leaves, grasses, fruit peels, vegetables, even manure and fish heads to act as your soil's fertilizer. This is all organic, and, although it may smell bad to you, it's nectar to your plants. It is also the best way to avoid using synthetic fertilizers on your organic garden.
Essentially a simple process, composting, as many things in organic gardening, can be a little more labor intensive than opening a bag of fertilizer, but it is a safe way to feed your plants. You can learn more about composting in Jeff Serland's book, My Organic Food Garden. In fact, Jeff feels soil preparation is so important that it shows up on page 4 of his book.
This is only the first step, however, as not only are you going to feed the soil, but you also have to attend to it regularly.
One thing you can do for the soil is to mulch your organic garden. Mulching is a bit like massaging the soil to keep it in shape. By doing this, you will be able to get rid of the pests that your soil has gotten through the days, or months, you have been gardening.
A little regular soil care will actually help you prevent experiencing bigger problems. There are many types of soils, and each needs certain particular care and attention. For example, clay can hold water better than the sandy kind. You have to learn those kind of details to be able to enjoy, and profit from, your organic gardening venture.