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Popular Organic Gardening Questions

11 December 2011
Popular Organic Gardening Questions

Whether you've just made the decision to garden organically or you've been at it a little while, you no doubt have questions. Organic gardening does require a little more effort, but the end results will be worth it. The following are popular questions often asked, and their answers:

What is organic gardening?
There are many definitions, depending on who you ask, but boiled down it means growing plants without the help of synthetics - synthetic herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers.

Why should I plant a cover crop?
Cover crops are also thought of as green manure; that's because when they're finished, they can be tilled into the soil, like compost, and will enrich the soil with nitrogen.

Planting a cover crop may be better than leaving a garden plot empty not just because of the green manure outcome, but also because a cover crop helps keep the topsoil from blowing away in the wind. In addition, you can eat some of the products of these crops, think peas or beans, and also the roots help break up hard-packed soil.

What are the greens and browns I need in my compost bin?
Greens and browns are not really referring to the color of the waste you put in your compost bin. Greens refer to nitrogens and include items such as grass clippings, vegetable peelings, manure. Browns are higher in carbon and mulch, leaves and small twigs are classified as browns.
One way you can tell the difference is to think about whether the item will start to stink after a few days sitting by itself. If so, it's a green.

How do I get rid of aphids on my tomato plants?
Make up a spray, either Tomato Leaf spray or Oil and Soap spray, and apply it to both sides of the affected leaves. You can find recipes for these sprays by doing an Internet search. You'll notice they use common household ingredients. Otherwise, you can buy commercial products that have organic ingredients.

Can I get rid of weeds organically?
Yes you can. The most obvious method is pulling the weeds out by the roots. If that option does not appeal to you, then try household vinegar in a spray bottle, being careful not to get it on your plants or grass. Additional applications may be necessary. Other options are to pour boiling water on the weeds or burn them with a wand made for that purpose.

So why are worms a good thing to have in my soil?
Worms produce castings that are sometimes called "black gold". To capitalize on these little wigglers, you can set them up in worm bins and feed them your organic waste. What comes out the other end is a nutrient-rich addition that will build up your soil.
No doubt, starting an organic garden will mean you have questions. Finding ways to assist Mother Nature naturally can give you the greatest reward - a healthy garden with beautiful plants and good-for-you vegetables.