Everywhere you turn nowadays, you see organic products being promoted. The grocery store is filled with organic items usually with a much higher price tag attached. Organic is marketed as being more environmentally safe. So naturally when planting a garden you want it to be more environmentally safe but there are also several traditional and commercial compounds that are safe and effective when used properly.
Manure provides is an excellent organic fertilizer. It provides a nitrogen rich additive to soil, which helps many vegetables grow. However, the odor can be very unpleasant not to mention that animal waste can carry diseases. Bird droppings and animal waste can contain viruses and parasites that are harmful to both humans and other animals. So be careful when using manure to fertilize your garden.
Another excellent organic additive to liven up the soil is compost. Compost can be made from leftover food, straw, grass and leaves. However, be aware that these compost piles also attract insects that feed off of decaying matter and some wildlife that might enjoy the leftover food scraps.
Another popular method used among organic gardeners is the biological control of insects. Insects and pests are kept under control by introducing predators that eat the harmful insects but not the vegetables. This tactic reduces the need for artificial chemicals. However finding out which critters work best to eat the bugs and leave the tomatoes alone can take some time and research on your part.
Another form of biological control is to plant trap crops to lure insects away from the vegetables to sacrificial’ plants. This type of biological control also reduces the need for artificial chemicals. But you have to make sure you have enough space in your garden for such plants. Not to mention that these plants will also take up your time, water, and fertilizer that could be used to grow more vegetables.
The argument can be made that chemical compounds used in many insecticides are somewhat natural in nature since they are obtained from natural sources. All chemicals produced artificially for gardening are derived from compounds found in the natural environment.
For example, pyrethrum is the base of one of the most popular insecticides used. It is used in wasp and other insect sprays. However, it is made from the blossoms of the pyrethrum flower. Nicotine is another natural organic chemical that is used in insecticides. However it is very ineffective in its use and toxic to humans, dogs and wild animals. Therefore it should be handled with the utmost care.
Natural, organic mulch is also a great soil protector. Leaves, wood chips, and other natural materials help retain moisture and ward off insect and weed invasions. The use of black plastic is also a good “artificial” mulch. It helps control weeds and won’t harm the environment because it doesn’t decay or give off toxins. It can even help with pest control by enhancing solar irradiation.
Whether you choose to use organic or inorganic gardening methods, it is important to remember that “natural” or “organic” doesn’t always mean it is safe under all circumstances, so garden with care.
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