@story CALVIN F. BEY
When do you feel most energized? For me, it is when I am in the garden, smelling the wonderful aroma of a healthy garden soil. Indeed, I do take pride in turning my garden soil into a biologically alive and healthy medium. I know that a healthy soil means healthy plants, produce, and eventually healthy consumers. As you contemplate starting or continuing an organic garden, I recommend that you focus on this essential soil building concept. The payoff is well worth it.
If you are wondering about how to get started, remember that activities in organic and conventional gardening are quite similar. You prepare beds, sow seeds, fertilize, weed, water, and harvest. With a little guidance you can easily become an organic gardener. Begin by making a few small changes and following a few ecological principles. In due time the organic approach will be second nature.
My interest and expertise is with vegetables, but I encourage you to also incorporate organic practices into your lawn, shrubs, and flower production. When you convert to the organic approach, you will see more birds, bees, and butterflies. Being gentle on the land is the trademark of going organic.
Start your organic gardening process by getting a good reference book. I suggest, “How to Grow More Vegetables” by John Jeavons. The gardening practices are well explained and it’s based on the concept of living in a more sustainable manner.
Each month, I will cover concepts and practices that work in our part of Arkansas. With forty years of organic gardening experience, I hope to pass on to readers some wisdom and save you from making mistakes.
To make rapid progress to a healthy soil, start with the following practices as part of your plan.
1. Use raised beds for improved drainage and better aeration.
2. Do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or GMO (genetically modified organisms) seeds. Toxins pollute the soil, and can compromise our health.
3. Use compost wisely. One inch of compost gently worked into the top few inches is usually sufficient.
4. Follow minimum tillage practices. There is no need for a tiller for small gardens. It can actually create problems in some soils.
5. Plant cover crops and use mulch liberally, thereby keeping the soil covered at all times.
For more on organic gardening log on to harmonygardens.blogspot.com