Introduction to Organic Gardening
The number of people who garden organically has increased dramatically over the past decade. The reasons for this include a growing concern for our environment and health. It is also now accepted that organic methods do work and are a viable way of achieving a healthy, productive and attractive garden.
“Going organic” is not just a question of changing your brand of fertilizer or, indeed, giving them up altogether. It means a change of attitude: getting away from the idea that every small creature is a pest, every plant out of place is a weed, and that the solution to every problem is in a spray. An organic garden is designed to encourage nature. This not only helps keep the garden healthy, but also provides safe habitats for wildlife.
Every garden can be run organically, from the smallest to the largest, whatever the location. Even in the middle of a city you can create your own miniature ecosystem. With a little effort, sources of manures and other materials can be found, and there are also many proprietary organic products available for those unable to bring in the raw materials.
Practising organic methods on edible plants while continuing to use sprays and artificial fertilizers on the rest of the garden is not to be recommended. This site shows how to maintain the whole garden organically: vegetables,, fruit, shrubberies, herbaceous borders, , lawns, paths and ponds are all included.
Within the Organic Gardening Section of this site, I describe how a garden can be made attractive to wildlife and the gardener. The many useful creatures that help pest control are introduced, for it is particularly important to recognize these garden friends rather than mistake them for pests. If areas of a garden require regular inputs of pesticides and artificial fertilizers, this implies that the plants are growing in a situation that does not suit them. In this case, a redesign may be in order. It is easier to manage a garden organically if it is designed from scratch or redesigned with organic methods in mind. There are plans showing a number of designs ranging in size from a back yard to an acre.
Having looked at the environment above ground, this site looks at that below ground, in the. A healthy, fertile soil with a good structure and a thriving population of living creatures is the basis of all effective organic growing. Detailed and practical information on this is given, including compost making and the use of animal manures.
Inevitably, nature cannot keep every pest and disease under control the whole time, but there are many organic techniques for protecting plants. When a problem does arise, correct identification is essential. Hints and tips to help with this are given, followed by a plant-led directory of problems and solutions.
Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are relative newcomers and for those who have never got involved with the chemical era, much information within the organic gardening section of this site will be familiar. But there will also be much that is new. As well as using methods that have been tried and tested for centuries, organic gardening takes on board the discoveries of modern research, as long as they fit the basic principles of organic growing.
If produce is sold as organic it must, in most countries including Britain and the EU, be grown to a recognized set of “organic standards”. By law, the grower must be registered with a recognized organic body and the farm or holding inspected to ensure that the standards are maintained. There is obviously no need for legally binding standards for gardeners, but organic gardeners do need to know the rights and wrongs of organic gardening.
For this reason, the Henry Doubleday Research Association compiled a set of Organic Gardening Guidelines based on the standards set for commercial growers but adapted to suit the different circumstances and requirements of the garden. The growing methods described within Organic Gardening Section of this site conform to the HDRA Organic Gardening Guidelines.