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Organic gardening, Indigenous plants, permaculture



Nature exists in balance and it is the recognition of the ways in which you can support that balance that will make a successful organic garden. Every plant has its pest but every pest has its predator. Wage chemical warfare on the pests and you'll win the battle but at what cost?

With no adequate food source the numbers of helpful garden predators will diminish leaving no other solution than to pump more poisons into your garden next year and the year after

The real difference comes at the planning stage, ensuring that you have set things up so that you can use the strength of nature rather than the strength of your back. A healthy soil, rich in nutrients and life, is the essential building block of any garden. Soil is a complex and delicate ecosystem in its own right with a multitude of organisms converting a wide variety of inactive materials into the essential nutrients that your plants will thrive on.

Chemical fertilisers can destroy these organisms and pull you and your garden into a cycle of dependency.

A fundamental principle of organic gardening is to feed your soil and then let the soil feed your plants. By providing the materials that the natural fauna and flora in your soil need to thrive, you will encourage more and more of these hard working little organisms to grow and multiply. The result, an ever increasing quality of soil with more and more available nutrients

As your soil develops the effects spread further up the larger ecosystem. Good soil promotes a healthy population of worms and worms attract larger garden visitors. It's not long before even the smallest garden starts to see signs of hedgehogs, toads and other more substantial beasties. Their presence further adds to the quality of your soil. You'd be amazed just how much nutrient comes out of the feathery posteriors of the typical family of birds.

Your garden and house already provide most of the nutritional requirements of your soil and garden.

All you need to do is to help them out of the form they are currently locked away in.
Potato peelings or a pile of grass cuttings aren't much use by themselves but properly composted they will produce a rich and perfectly natural fertiliser and soil conditioner.

Composting is one of those areas that gardeners and gardening books seem to delight in laying down mixtures rules and techniques for.

The simple truth is that composting is probably one of the easiest and, in and odd way, rewarding aspects of gardening.

Compost is simply the by-product of our little garden friends having a right royal feast on the organic leftovers we produce from home and gard

One of the most difficult things to control in any garden are the many and varied little creatures who appreciate your plants for attributes other than their beauty. Calling in an air strike from a spray gun loaded with noxious chemicals is pretty effective, but at what price?

Plants managed to survive for a few years before pesticides came onto the scene. So there are other ways of controlling garden pests that are a little less dangerous.
 

 


A healthy plant has its own defences against attack, the stronger and healthier the plant the better the defences. Make sure that you take care of the plant and it will be better prepared to fend off attacks.


Where possible, move the location of your plants. This can be very effective as the pests that over-winter within the plants proximity will emerge in the spring to find their source of sustenance gone.


If it's alive then something will like to eat it! Do your best to encourage the right predators and let them take care of the pests for you.


Stick with one type of plant massed into a single area and you are inviting trouble. Vary your planting and this will control the spread of pests.


It's not subtle but a net can provide 100% security against birds and a slug trap filled with beer will send most of our slimy friends to an early alcoholic demise.


As a last resort, a number of substances are acceptable to some organic gardeners. Soft soap in solution contains only natural products and can be quite effective against aphids and other small insects. Other combinations of allowable substances are becoming available as garden centres and companies react to public demand.


(also called worm compost, vermicast, worm castings, worm humus or worm manure) is the end-product of the breakdown of organic matter by some species of earthworm. Vermicompost is a nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer and soil conditioner. The process of producing vermicompost is called vermicomposting .The earthworm species (or composting worms) most often used are Red Wigglers or Red. These species are commonly found in organic rich soils and especially prefer the special conditions in rotting vegetation, compost and manure piles. Composting worms are available from nursery mail-order suppliers or angling (fishing) shops where they are sold as bait. Small-scale vermicomposting is well-suited to turn kitchen waste into high-quality soil, where space is limited. Together with bacteria, earthworms are the major catalyst for decomposition in a healthy vermicomposting system, although other soil species also play a contributing role: these include insects, other worms and molds.

Vermicompost, also known as worm castings and vermicast, is richer in many nutrients than compost produced by other composting methods. It is also rich in microbial life which helps break down nutrients already present in the soil into plant-available forms. Unlike other compost, worm castings also contain worm mucus which keeps nutrients from washing away with the first watering and holds moisture better than plain soil. For this reason, some fruit and seed pits are reported to germinate in vermicompost easily. Vermicompost made from ordinary kitchen scraps will contain small seeds, especially those of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, that may sprout weeks later.


improving its physical structure;
enriching soil in micro-organisms, adding plant hormones such as auxins and gibberellic acid, and adding enzymes such as phosphatase and cellulase;
attracting deep-burrowing earthworms already present in the soil;
improving water holding capacity;
enhancing germination, plant growth, and crop yield; and
Improving root growth and structure.

Vermicompost can be used to make compost tea (worm tea), by mixing some vermicompost in water and steeping for a number of hours or days. The resulting liquid is used as a fertilizer. The dark brown waste liquid that drains into the bottom of some vermicomposting systems, as water-rich foods break down, is also excellent as fertilizer.