Organic Food and Garden
Like to eat organic food? Like to produce organic food in your own garden? It has become a popular healthy living trend to do organic eating. However, buying organic produce can get expensive fast. In order to cut back on the amount of money you are spending on produce you can grow your own organic garden instead. By keeping your garden “green” and insecticide free, you will have healthier foods to not only serve your family, but also to prepare your own baby food from. To start making changes in your garden today, check out the following tips for a “greener” garden.
Companion Planting Naturally Deters Insects
Companion Planting of Marigolds and Tomato
Companion planting in gardening and agriculture is the planting of different crops in proximity for pest control, pollination, and to otherwise increase crop productivity. Companion planting is a form of polyculture. Companion planting is used by farmers and gardeners in both industrialized and developing countries for many reasons. Many of the modern principles of companion planting were present many centuries ago in cottage gardens in England and home gardens in Asia, and thousands of years ago in Mesoamerica. Plant marigolds next to tomato plants. The strong smell of the flowers will keep away green black flies. Plant nasturtium next to cabbages to avoid getting unwanted holes in your cabbages. Caterpillars love nasturtium and will leave the cabbages alone. Plant carrots and leeks together because they each chase away insects for the other. Leeks will repel carrot flies and carrots will repel onion flies and leek moths.
Organic Pesticides Can Be Made at Home
To stop powdery mildew on cucumber and zucchini plants spray them with milk that has been diluted with water. A simple salt water solution of 1 T. of salt to 1 gallon of water will chase away slugs, spider mites and cabbage worms. Just spray your plants and you are done. To deter all insects spray a combination of hot pepper, water and soap onto plants.
Black Gold for Gardens: Compost
Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil amendment. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting simply requires making a heap of wetted organic matter and waiting for the materials to break down into humus after a period of weeks or months. Modern, methodical composting is a multi-step, closely monitored process with measured inputs of water, air, and carbon and nitrogen rich materials. Compost can be rich in nutrients. It is used in gardens, landscaping, and agriculture. The compost itself is beneficial for the land in many ways, including as a soil conditioner. You can purchase compost, but it is much cheaper to make your own. By recycling kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and dried leaves, you can create your own compost while simultaneously keeping a bunch of yard waste from going to the landfill. Compost brings beneficial nutrients to your plants, keeps weeds to a minimum, keeps the soil fluffy, and helps the soil stay moist longer.
Newspapers Work Great to Keep Weeds Down Naturally
When your garden maintenance routine goes out the window, the garden can get out of control with weeds being the obvious first and biggest problem to appear. You do not need to use nasty chemicals to keep weeds under control, consider these alternatives. If you have ever left anything lying on your lawn you know that it does not take long before the grass beneath it starts to turn yellow and die. To use newspapers in your garden, weed the area where there will be no plants and then lay several layers of newspaper on the bare ground and water them. Cover the wet newspapers with mulch to dress up the area. This technique works well for paths through your garden as well as around bushes in your landscape. Weeds cannot grow up through the newspaper, but water will still soak through it. As the newspaper breaks down just add new paper on top of the old.
Beneficial Insects to Rid Garden of the Bad Ones
By planting butterfly plants and blue, purple, or violet flowers that bees are attracted to you can encourage beneficial bugs to come to your garden. It is also possible to buy ladybugs to get rid of aphids, worms to aerate the soil, and many other helpful bugs that perform different functions in the garden. Daddy long legs do no harm to vegetables or people, but they love eating aphids, caterpillars, beetles, flies, mites, small slugs, and decaying plant matter, making them highly beneficial to your garden.
Rain Barrels Are a Smart Way to Reduce Water Usage
Capturing rain and storing it in some sort of barrel or container is a method that has been used for the last 2000 years, and one that is easier than ever now. A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to storm drains and streams. Usually a rain barrel is composed of a 55 gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, a screen grate to keep debris and insects out, and other off-the-shelf items, a rain barrel is relatively simple and inexpensive to construct and can sit conveniently under any residential gutter down spout. Lawn and garden watering make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most, during periods of drought to water plants, wash your car, or to top a swimming pool. It provides an ample supply of free “soft water” to homeowners, containing no chlorine, lime or calcium making it ideal for gardens, flowerpots, and car and window washing.
Mulch to Limit Water Evaporation
A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. Its purpose is to conserve moisture, to improve the fertility and health of the soil, to reduce weed growth, to enhance the visual appeal of the area. A mulch is usually but not exclusively organic in nature. It may be permanent or temporary. It may be applied to bare soil, or around existing plants. Mulch can often be picked up for free from your city. By using natural mulch you will not introduce harmful chemicals into your garden. Mulch around your plants to keep down weeds and to keep the moisture in the soil. You will not have to water as often if you have a nice thick layer of mulch around your plants. Make sure not to push the mulch too close to the plants as it could cause them to become too wet and begin to rot.
Grow Native Plants in Your Yard or Garden
Whether you have a balcony garden, a small urban lot, a four-acre parcel or a sprawling ranch, you can include native plants in your landscape. There are many reasons to embrace the use wonderful native plants. They create beauty and interest with a progression of flowers and fruits and they furnish food and cover for butterflies, birds and other wildlife. By growing plants that are indigenous to your area you will reduce the amount of water you have to use to keep them alive. Plants that occur naturally develop their own defenses against bugs, blight, and drought.