Guest post by webpagefx
Gardening organic is easy to do, when you’ve got tips like these. Mulch, compost and effective pest control are all essential to gardening organic.
Compost is an organic material that has decomposed and is re-used as an organic fertilizer. The rawest form of composting is piling up waste outside and waiting a year or more for it to decompose. Today’s modern form of composting is multi-step with closely measured water, air and carbon and nitrogen-rich materials.
The plant matter is shredded, water is added and the mixture is regularly turned for ideal aeration. Additionally, worms and fungi break up the material further.
To create your own compost, create a pile of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials. Carbon-rich materials are brown in color and include fall leaves, dead flowers, straw and shredded newspaper. Nitrogen-rich materials are green and include grass clippings and plant-based kitchen waste, such as fruit rinds and vegetable peelings. In addition to the carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials, add a few shovelfuls of garden soil. [Ed. Note - don't put eggs or meat in your compost bin.]
To create this compost site, alternate layers of different items- e.g. leaves and grass clippings. If you fill it entirely with greens, such as grass clippings, it will get very hot and decompose quickly, but you don’t want it to get so hot that it risks burning. After adding greens and leaves, add a thin layer of the garden soil. Finish by moistening all of the layers thoroughly. You can also use an organic compost starter to aid your composting.
Continue this layering until it’s 3-feet high. The ideal ratio is 3 parts carbon-rich material to 1 part nitrogen-rich material.
To help with decomposition, use a garden fork or shovel to turn the pile, every few weeks. You want a compost pile that is moist, but isn’t wet and soggy. If you don’t turn it, it will still decompose, it will just happen more slowly.
For organic mulch, use loose, coarse-textured material. Any once-living material can be used as mulch, including pine needles and grass clippings. Water the ground thoroughly before and after you apply the mulch covering.
Mulch not only gives your flowerbeds a neat, finished look, it also prevents the soil drying out, adding humus and other nutrients, while discouraging weeds. Mulching is the equivalent of Mother Nature maintaining a forest floor.
Any acid-loving plants can be mulched with a thick layer of pine needles. Do it each Fall and as the needles decompose, their acid will be deposited into the soil, enriching it.
Any new plantings should not have bare soil visible around them. Make sure you cover all your new plantings with a layer of mulch. It benefits the plants by protecting the plant roots from the sun’s heat during the summer months and the plant crowns from the cold of wintertime.
Did you know homeowners who use chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides apply more per acre than farmers? The result is chemical run-off, harming water-based life and ultimately contaminating the food chain. When you keep your soil healthy, with good mulch and a powerful organic fertilizer, you have a garden that is not only environmentally friendly, but thriving as well.
There are effective organic pesticides that can be used when gardening organic. When selecting your pest control, look for one that has the OMRI Listed logo on its label. This means it has been reviewed and approved for gardening organic.