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Organic gardens

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Organic gardeners use compost, companion planting, cultural strategies, mechanical barriers, physical controls, biological controls, and organically acceptable sprays to grow plants without harmful chemicals. When used correctly, organic gardening methods can exceed the efficacy of conventional chemicals in your vegetable, flower, or herb garden. You can enjoy organic gardening all year by applying organic principles to your houseplants, greenhouse, or hydroponic garden.

The benefits of organic gardening extend beyond flora to the fauna in the garden, so learn to attract bees, birds and butterflies to your yard; get kids into the garden; and get pets and wildlife pests out of the garden.

Planting native species of plants helps to ensure genetic diversity. Heirloom varieties of seeds also need to be cultivated to ensure that their genetic material will survive. Heirloom seeds also provide unique vegetables that grow better in certain climates. Avoid plants that are not particularly well-suited to your climate or soil conditions. They generally do not perform well when planted in the wrong climate or soil.

Success with organic gardening often requires soil amendment, unless you are already blessed with very good soil. Heavy clay soils require adding about an equal amount of quality organic compost to the hard clay, breaking it up, and mixing it with the organic matter to create rich soil that drains well. This is key to success without the use of chemical fertilizers.

When you start a bed, there will likely be open areas that are not planted, which means that you have the option of doing the soil amendment as you fill in these areas in subsequent years so that the task is not so daunting initially. If you do use this piecemeal amendment and planting method, you may want to consider using compost rather than bark for mulch. This will make the amendment process in ensuing years easier because you can simply mix in the mulch compost on top with the soil beneath.

Photos of an organic garden are available at WeBuyItGreen's Organic Garden.

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