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  • : The blog of Frank Beswick. It deals with my interests in religious, philosophical spiritual matters and horticulture/self-reliance
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April 20 2011 4 20 /04 /April /2011 15:22

The article shows how to establish and run an organic vegetable garden by showing how organic gardeners feed the soil, avoid pesticide use and rotate planting.

"Feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants." This is the principle of the organic movement. Organic growers believe that the soil is a living reality to be cultivated. They feed it with manure, compost and leaf mould to replace nutrients lost by extracting crops and to maintain humus, the natural glue that holds soil together, retaining nutrients and water. Compost your weeds, as doing this replaces nutrients when it is added to the soil, so get a compost bin. Only after they have fed the soil will organic growers add fertilisers. Ensure that you put this soil nourishment in to balance what you take out in vegetables.

Do not use pesticides, because organic growers realize that pesticides kill not only harmful insects, but helpful ones as well, such as ladybirds, which attack aphids [e.g. greenfly.] Instead try natural methods, such as encouraging hedgehogs and insect-eating birds. You can do this by providing a pile of twigs and leaves for the hedgehogs and nesting boxes for blue tits, which attack insects. Never use non-organic slug pellets, because they cause hedgehogs to die in agony when they eat slugs. Instead use special organic pellets that simply gum up the slugs' digestion, but are not poisonous. You may use Bordeaux mixture against potato blight and other organically permitted herbicides. Net your cabbages against birds, as wood pigeons are very greedy.

Ensure that you have a good crop rotation. There are various rotation systems. The simplest uses four beds: potatoes, onions and leeks, legumes [peas and beans] and brassicas, such as cabbage. You might have others for salads, strawberries and carrots. You rotate the beds year by year, so potatoes are followed by cabbages, which are followed by onions and so on. There may be a separate section for perennials, such as fruit bushes. It can be a good idea to grow strawberries in containers to ensure that they do not spread. Many gardeners grow mint in pots because it spreads so wildly. Raspberries do the same, so you have to pluck up spare shoots that spring up away from the beds.

Always seek advice from experts, if you find a problem, and always be ready to find out more.

1 The rock garden with pergola. | Source | Author Zipity11 | Date 20

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Published by Frank Beswick - in Agriculture
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