As I’ve discussed in other posts, the best organic garden pest control method is a healthy ecosystem.
This means creating the right conditions for thriving, healthy plants by doing things like caring for the soil, watering properly, and having the right plant in the right place.
Then our plants won’t attract diseases or plant-feeding insects.
The goods news: there are plenty of natural organic fertilizers for you to choose from, especially if you look online.
The hard part is knowing which ones to choose, but I’ll give you a few things to look for.
Natural organic fertilizers won’t look like much of a bargain compared with the high nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium numbers on chemical fertilizers, but they’re so much more valuable.
They often provide many more nutrients than just N-P-K, they don’t hurt soil life, and it’s generally better to add lower doses of fertilizers anyway...
I mention my wife Heather here from time to time, and she certainly mentions me regularly on her website because I’m so involved with it.
So I think it’s fitting to let you guys know we’re splitting up after 10 years together, nearly 3 of those in marriage.
The good news is that so far, about 10 days since the decision was made, we’re still hoping to continue as distant friends and virtual business partners from our respective cities (wherever those may be).
If you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for from all areas of your organic garden, it may be time to do some soil sample testing.
I’ve talked about simple home soil tests before. There really is a lot you can see with your eyes or smell with your nose or feel with your fingers.
But sometimes the only way to get the real goods on your soil’s nutrient profile is to do some soil sample testing and send it to the experts.
There are a couple of different methods of preparing soil for a garden bed, both of which have their uses.
Once you’ve dug a hole, played around with your soil a bit, and learned about your soil texture, it’s now time to get at making your garden.
The first thing I want to briefly mention about how to prepare soil for a garden is what to do if you have a very extreme soil texture, i.e. very sandy or clayey.
I have a very simple home soil testing process for you.
I know you probably want to learn about topics like:
And I can hardly wait to teach you these things.
If you’ve ever wondered what is soil made of - GOOD!
You absolutely need to wonder about this kind of thing if you’re going to grow optimally healthy food and ornamental plants.
I understand - perhaps there are more exciting topics for some folks.
But read on below and you’ll see that many of our most important organic gardening tasks stem from this vital question...
I've been involved with gardening since I was a kid, but I didn't get excited about it until I discovered organic gardening.
This year, I’m super excited about an awesome series of organic home gardening lessons I have planned for you.
I was originally going to charge about $70 for the course, but I've decided to be a rebel and give it to you for free, at least for the time being.
So I’ll be writing and videoing this free online course of about 30-35 lessons. They will summarize some of the important steps in the Smiling Gardener Academy. I'll send it out to my email subscribers as I go.
In the first two posts I covered how important it is to balance the mineralization in the soil in order to be able to grow the kinds of plants we want to grow, and then how to increase organic matter in soil the way nature does it.
Now I want to get into the third part of this soil health triangle, the soil food web.
This refers to the life in the soil, especially the bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms, and the insects and other small animals.
The plants are part of this too since they have a tremendous impact on the soil.
In the last post I talked about improving soil mineralization.
Now I want to discuss another aspect of organic soil health that is important for so many things: organic matter in soil.
Organic matter refers partially to living things like roots and fungi, but in this context it mostly means everything that used to be alive.
That means fresh fallen leaves and recently deceased snakes and beetles, to the coarse mulch layer when these things are partially decomposed, to the very stable humus when they’re fully broken down which stays around in the soil for years.
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