I came across this article earlier today. The article discusses practical organic gardening that we should all pursue. The author of the article is Jeannine L. Davidoff and this piece can be found at http://www.ezinearticle.com/. Jeannine is based at www.familyorganic.com.
Here it is:
A successful organic gardener knows how to combine strategies that produce both ornamental plants and healthy food. They observe and emulate nature seeking to increase soil fertility, make planting decisions based on the opportunities offered by the site and the needs of the plants without spending a fortune in fertilizers or tools. Organic gardeners see their gardens as a small part of whole and understand that their practices have an impact that extends beyond their yards.
1-Enrich Your Soil
A plant's health starts with the soil so getting your it right is the first step for avoiding potential problems both in the short and the long-term.
Soil is composed of several shapes and sizes of mineral particles, which create it texture. Even though you can't do much to change your soil's texture, you can you can change the other soil components: water, organic matter, and soil organisms, air. Organic matter, when decomposing into humus, increases soil's ability to drain efficiently, feeding the beneficial soil organisms and adds important plant nutrients by holding moisture. It´s also possible to increase the amount of organic matter in your soil by adding compost that you can make by yourself or buy in a local nursery.
You can also improve the ratio of water and air in your soil, by avoiding excessive tilling. That is achieved adding organic matter and compacting the soil as little as possible.
2-Choose Healthy and Disease-Resistant Plants
Plants won't get sick if they have some degree of immunity or least tolerance of the nastiest diseases. The best Plant breeders work very hard to develop varieties of your favorite, vegetables, fruits and landscape plants that have the ability to fight off those terrible diseases. I personally recommend reading plant tags and catalog descriptions to find resistant plants whenever possible which has proven to be time after time, the wisest choice for the health and economy of your garden healthy plants.
If you have any doubts about a plant's health, specially a new one, don´t take unnecessary risks and quarantine it in a separate area before adding it to your landscape or garden.
3-Put Plants in the Right Place
While thriving plants fight off diseases and insects, struggling plants attract them. If you want them to thrive, give your plants the sun, moisture and soil conditions they need to stay healthy and alive. Study the native plants that naturally grow in your region or in one with a similar climate. That should provide useful information about which plants you should focus and which ones should be replaced. If you already have an established garden, replace the troublesome with ones that show a positive response to their enviroment.
4-Use Organic, Slow-Release Fertilizers
Many synthetic fertilizers contain highly soluble nutrients that force plants to grow very quickly. Although for many people this may seem like a good thing, it's not; it´s been proven time after time that succulent growth is particularly appealing to insect and disease pests. Also you should remember that any fertilizer that isn't absorbed immediately by plants may pollute waterways. Instead, most organic fertilizers offer a slow-release kind of action. This happens because nutrients are released slowly through the action of microorganisms. Hence, plants receive a steady and slow diet of nutrients minimizing the risk of runoff.
Natural plant populations scatter many species over a large area. Reducing their vulnerability to insects and pests. Reproduce the same concepts in your garden, mixing crops within a row thus avoiding large patches of the same variety. Instead of planting a long hedge of a dozen or more specimens of the same species of evergreens, for example,
consider designing a mixed border that includes a variety of shrub and perhaps some flowering and fruiting small trees.
January 18, 2010