Most people don’t realize that organic gardens can be as beautiful and as productive as those which use pesticides (if not more so!), and it seems that many of us are unaware of how simple it can be to ‘go organic’ in our garden. The first step to going organic is to reduce the need for pesticides by cultivating a healthy lawn. Weeds and harmful pests thrive in bare and unhealthy lawns, and the best way to keep them from reappearing year after year is to remove the conditions they need to survive and multiply.
Have a look at this short and simple organic lawn care calendar, courtesy of the York Regional Environmental Alliance:
Don’t forget that backyard composting is an excellent way of producing ready-made and completely natural compost for your garden and lawn. Just be sure to use your Green Bin for products such as dairy, meats, grease, oils, bones, and fats as these should not go into your backyard composter.
Using an organic mulch is also a great way to improve the soil structure of your lawn and garden. Organic mulches are usually made of natural substances such as bark, leaves, pine needles, wood chips, and grass clippings. As mulch decays it becomes topsoil, and decaying mulch adds nutrients to the soil. Mulches actually reduce the growth of weeds while encouraging the growth of worms and other organisms that are beneficial in improving soil structure. Mulch also acts as an insulating barrier from heat in the summer, cold in the winter, and from severe wind – an important fact to consider in a region like Niagara, where extreme weather and sudden changes in temperature are common.
The ideal time to place much around new plants is immediately after they are planted, because this helps conserve moisture in the root of the new plant until the roots grow out. For established plants, mulch works best when applied in the early spring – right when plants are beginning to grow and weeds have not yet started to germinate.
We already know that going organic in our garden is healthier both for us and for the environment, but we should also remember that the natural way is also the simple way!