Attributes Needed to Grow a Healthy Organic Garden

     For many people organic gardening is an outlook on living inspired by nature's laws to grow fruits, vegetables and other plants naturally. It is much more than just avoiding the use of chemicals on your garden.  Following the organic gardening path is usually a personal choice embarked upon in light of much research done into the importance of diet as it relates to our health and longevity.

     Studies have shown that organically grown foods have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than those grown using chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Organically grown foods are not only conducive to better health, but they also tend to avoid accidental exposure to chemical agents that are used in large-scale commercial farming. Such exposure is, unfortunately, too common in today's world.

Here are 10 key components and action steps that support a fundamental basis of organic gardening. Do you recommend others or have useful hints for implementing these?

1. Work on ensuring healthy rich soil. This is probably the most fundamental aspect of any organic garden. Healthy soil that is replenished naturally will grow healthy food stuffs year after year. Organic fertilizers such as manure and composted garden and kitchen wastes are easily recycled back into the earth creating nutrient-rich soil that will grow all manner of healthy plants.

2. Avoid all chemical or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. This precaution will not only ensure that your soil stays naturally organic but it also relieves the worry of harm to family and pets should they come in contact with dangerous chemicals.

3. Maintain sustainable gardening practices to allow your garden to become self-sustaining. As nutrients are used by plants, they are replaced through the use of natural fertilizers and compost. Done properly organic gardens rely on natural organic cycles to remain healthy year after year.

4. Be a steward of the environment. The natural environment benefits from organic gardening practices in that it reduces environmental contamination associated with chemical-dependent farming practices.

5. Create friendly habitats for beneficial wildlife. There are a wide variety of animals and insects that will be drawn to your garden that support the health of plants and animals. Protecting them from the dangers associated with hazardous chemicals is not only beneficial to them but also to your gardening efforts. They will eat large amounts of destructive insects, thereby controlling them in a natural way.

6. Adopt intensive planting practices to conserve water usage and help retard the resurgence of undesirable weeds. Intensive planting means spacing your plants close together. This helps to shield the soil from letting the sun slow evaporation and seed germination.

7. Use the concept of plant biodiversity.  This ensures that changes in growing conditions or plant disease do not lead to crop failure. Planting a variety of different plants will ensure that the loss of one plant will not jeopardize the overall garden food supply.

8. Remember to rotate crops.  Controlling soil borne pests and disease is the primary reason to rotate crops each year and throughout the growing season as possible. It also helps avoid soil depletion. Crop rotation can help keep any garden healthy and producing bountiful harvests.

9. Use good watering and weeding practices. Capture and store rain where possible to water the garden. Use soaker hoses, drip irrigation, or water by hand to minimize water loss. Hand weed and be sure to lay down a thick layer of mulch especially after planting seeds to hold in moisture and keep weeds from germinating.

10. Be adventurous and save seeds from your best crops for future use. Imagine being able to create a self-sustaining garden that requires no outside help.

From planting in the spring until fall harvest an organic garden is truly a part of the environment that helps us feel at one with nature.

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