Let it grow

Organic gardening involves a lot more than keeping plants free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. There are literally hundreds of tips on how to do it right, but everything starts with the soil. Maintaining healthy soil produces vigorous plants that can better withstand disease and insect damage. Here are the essentials on soil:

Compost: Using compost helps soil hold water and promotes fertility and root development. Make your own compost by alternating layers of organic matter, such as leaves, grass clippings and organic table scraps. Rotate the pile every other week with a shovel until the individual matter can no longer be identied and the pile resembles rich, dark dirt.

Mulch: Spreading about one to three inches of mulch around plants conserves water, adds nutrients to the soil and discourages weeds. It looks nice, too. Try an organic mulch made of bark, straw, pine needles or even grass clippings.

Selection: It’s important to choose plants based on temperature range and shade/sun exposure, but soil is also critical to plant health. Generally, there are three types of soil: sandy, silty or clay. When at the nursery, be sure to ask if your purchases suit your soil type.

Source: www.organicgardentips.com and www.safegardening.co.uk