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CRYSTAL GARDENS

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HOW TO CHANGE FROM FROM INORGANIC GARDENING TO ORGANIC GARDENING

Many gardeners desire to transition from gardening that involves use of chemical inputs to purely organic gardening.

Where the rubber meets the road is how to exactly go about it. Your garden will not be classified as organic if any chemicals in any form are used-no matter how selectively applied. It is better to transition to organic garden in one fell swoop and face of the resulting difficulties in one season rather than spread them over a number of seasons. While the basic techniques of sowing, planting and cropping as the same as for chemical gardening,, the main difference is the soil chemistry which affects growth mechanism and in the pest and disease control.. It is here that challenges will arise.

The natural cycle

Organic growing relies on the interaction of soil microorganism and other plants to convert organic fertilizer into suitable plant food. In chemical growing soluble fertilizers dissolve quickly into solution and are absorbed by the plant through the sap. When you extensively use chemical fertilizers on the soil, the end up killing off beneficial micro-organisms resulting into inability to convert the organic products into plant food.

Going Organic

Firstly feed the soil instead of the plant. Enrich your soil with plenty of organic matter like compost, manure, green manure or other organic alternatives. This will improve drainage and water holding capacity, creating a crumbly, oxygen rich medium that tiny roots can easily penetrate and create a home for countless soil organisms. From bacteria to earthworms they all live in harmony producing ideal conditions for plant growth. They also work on organic and mineral food sources –releasing them as and when needed. This way you grow a strong healthy plant . Transitioning If your soil has been subjected to chemical fertilizers without addition of organic manure, it will be lacking in life giving humus which replaces essential trace elements.

From an organic view the soil will not be in a good fertile condition. It is scientifically proven that healthy plants are more resistant to pests and diseases. During the first year of transition therefore emphasis must be laid on raising the soil health to a level to produce these more resistant plants. This can be achieved by addition of organic matter to produce the correct soil structure and the feeding of the soil with organic fertilizers such as sea weed products.

In an organic garden, emphasis is laid on control of pests by natural predators. Obviously in plots where chemicals have been used, it is likely the predators as well as the pests will have been killed since chemicals are not selective. For a while the plants will be highly vulnerable, until the soil fertility has been raised and predator populations have re-established themselves. To attract predators grow plants to which these organisms are attracted. You can also leave part of the garden fallow to serve as breeding and shelter space for the predators.

Planting

Three to four weeks prior to planting, apply a dressing of 250g/m of calcified sea weed and rake it into the surface of the soil. Calcified sea weed is used as it reacts faster than sea weed meal even though it doesn’t contain nitrogen. For soil deficient in nitrogen , dried blood, fish or bone will be needed. Calcified sea weed releases its nutrients over a period so a single dressing is adequate. However for uniform growth throught the season spray a foliar mix of liquid seaweed.

During the growing period of plants, add organic matter to the soil in the form of mulch. These could include; grass cuttings, well-rotted compost or animal manure. Place about 4 sheets of newspapers between the rows of plants or around shrubs and bushes to act as weed suppressants. Then cover this with 3-4 inches of 8-10cm layer of mulch. This will rejuvenate the soil life and by the end of the season will have broken down and enriched the top later of the soil with organic matter.

Pest control

In the first control of pests and diseases will mostly rely on vigilance. And the acceptance of non-toxic products until a natural pest resistance is reached. At onset of trouble take action to minimize widespread break out. A few pests can soon become an infestation. Any diseased plant or wood must be cut off immediately. And in buying seeds, get certified seeds and plants to avoid importing trouble into your garden. In gardening the sign of one pest may not necessarily be the cause. Aunts can be possibly the cause of an aphid attack.

Generally nontoxic control to the gardener include use of soaps, companion planting and natural predators. Sometimes the only way to save a crop is to prevent please outbreak in the first place. Carrots should not be planted in some areas without protection from carrot root fly. Meanwhile in the garden the best way to protect the crop is to build a physical barrier to prevent the fly from reaching the plant. This is also true for rabbits, pigeons and deer.

Organic gardening is most cherished from the vegetable aspect due to the health food concerns. Once you adapt to organic gardening, you will become aware of the holistic gardening experience where the garden is transformed into a living community. You then become aware that not everything that crawl or moves in the garden is an enemy. While birds can be destructive, they can also be of great benefit and the little damage they do may be a small price to pay for their presence

Friends In the Garden

Birds –eat aphids, insects

Centipedes- feed on mites, insects slugs

Frogs and toads-Feed on slugs insects, wood lice caterpillar, flies

Ground bettle- Feed on insects, eggs eelworms and larvae

Hedgehog –Eats slugs and mice Hoverfly-its larvae feeds on aphids Lacewing-larvae feeds on aphids

Ladybird-adult and young feeds on aphids Spiders-webs catch aphids and other insects

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