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Organic Gardening Tips
April 28th by Anthony D'Atri

Organic gardening and ecoscaping are one in the same. Wikipedia's definition of eco-scaping is "an innovative process of building and rebuilding based on nature, sustainable development and human aesthetics. Ecoscaping provides an alternative to harsh land use practices. In this article I hope to bring to organic gardening practices to your awareness with a few new ways to make a positive impact on your landscape and the world at large by using less invasive gardening techniques, rather than spraying pestisides.

Rain Catcher

If a squirrel lived every time I've seen a sprinkler system on, on a rainy day, there would undoubtably be an over-population of squirrels. On a serious note, when it comes to organic gardening, a rain catcher is a great way to conserve water and distribute it effectively.

Compost

I'm sure everyone has tried composting at one time or another and eventually gave up. Given the time it takes for the organic material to break down, it almost seems as if it isn't worth it, but I beg to differ. Using compost material in the garden has proven to yield greater results from plants, vegetables and the like. Not only will your plants yield more, composting has a really slow nutrient release system so you won't have to fertilize as often, yet you will yield more, seems like a win/win organic gardening situation to me.

Environmentally Friendly Solutions

Baking soda is used in organic gardening as it does not affect the growth or taste of vegetables and fruits. It can also be used as an organic remedy for plant mildew. Try mixing 1 tblsp. baking soda to 2.5 tblsp. of vegetable oil, 1 drop of liquid dish detergent and 1 gallon of water. The best method is to test your tincture on a few leaves to see if they will burn. The best time to do this is in the morning as the sun has a tendency to encourage leaf burning. Be sure to shake the mixture every couple of minutes to keep the mixture unseparated.

Attract Wildlife

Consider adding a birdhouse or bird feeder to attract more feathered friends to your garden. They'll eat bugs that would otherwise eat your plants. You can also install a hummingbird feeder, which will encourage this bird to spend time in your garden pollinating flowers, which is definitely something you should experience if you enjoy being outdoors.

Chicken Wire > Chemicals

Organic gardening requires a different mindset than that which we've adopted over the last 20 years. When looking to keep garden pests out of the garden, chicken wire is a great alternative to using poisonous chemicals, use it to cover your fall bulb plantings to prevent local squirrels from feasting on them.

Beneficial Insects

While you're thinking, "Hey I'm trying to get rid of insects, not add them to my garden, what else do you have for me?." I would reply "Did you know ladybugs feed on aphids and other soft-bodied insects? Ladybugs are attracted to flower nectar and pollen, which they must eat before they can reproduce. How about beetles? did you know beetles feed on slugs, snails, cutworms, root maggots? All you have to do to attract them is provide perennial ground covers, stones, or logs. How about spiders? spiders feed on insects and are very important in preventing pest outbreaks. The spiders normally found in gardens do not move indoors, nor are they poisonous, so why kill them if they're outside?. Permanent perennial plantings and straw mulches will provide shelter and dramatically increase beneficial spider populations in vegetable gardens.