Every year, thousands of chemicals are poured into the environment and millions of gallons of water are needlessly wasted. How? By growing plants. Sure, most of this is done by large agricultural producers, but some of it is still done in personal gardens. And that means that you can make a difference by changing yourself to organic chemical-free gardening practices. There are many agricultural producers who have done it. You can use the same tricks to help your own garden. And the planet.
Organic chemical-free gardening basics:
1. Pick appropriate plants
Not all plants are appropriate for the area you live in. While you might be able to control the temperature, humidity, and rain conditions inside your house, you can’t do it out in the garden. If you pick appropriate plants for your area, you may be able to avoid using fertilizers and saving on water too. Research what plants are native to your surrounding areas and try planting them in your own garden. Wildflowers are just that. They can pretty much be left alone and will thrive in most areas. Plus, wildflowers are important for many insects such as bees. As I have said already several times, bees are on the list of endangered species now. So let´s help them by planting local wildflowers!
2. Pick natural repelling plants
You don’t need to rely on poisons to keep away garden ruining pests and mosquitoes too. Many plants produce chemicals that repel these animals naturally. By putting them in or around your garden, you can keep your garden safe with little effort and no chemicals. Plus, you can pick parts of these plants and use them to make products to keep them away from you too. One of those plants which are very handy in this respect and useful to you as well is garlic.
If you don’t want to plant natural repellents in your garden, then you can use them to spray your plants without harming them or adding artificial chemicals to your garden. Many herbs like hot pepper, vanilla, and lavender can help repel insects from your garden.
3. Pull weeds
We’re all looking for a quick and easy way to safely get rid of weeds without chemicals, but the good old-fashioned way is still very effective. If you take time every day to pull the weeds you can find, you’ll only take a few minutes so it doesn’t seem like a lot of work. You can even get the kids involved, just be sure to do it properly so you don’t spread the seeds around. There are even some common weeds that are edible, just make sure there are no pesticides that could have gotten on them. In my post on “How to attract wildlife into your garden” I recommend leaving a corner of your garden where you let weeds grow to give habitat to many useful animals. These animals are your allies in your organic chemical-free gardening practice, so obviously you want them to feel at home.
4. Crop rotation
Farmers all over the world use crop rotation to naturally fertilize plants and to keep the soil healthy. The concept is to change what crop you’re putting in a certain field each year. Plants use different nutrients and put other nutrients back into the soil. Therefore, if you rotate crops that replace the nutrients the other plants use, you will have to fertilize the soil less.
You can use this same concept in your garden by planting different plants every year, or just rotating where you put specific plants in the garden. This is especially useful in your vegetable garden part and an absolute winner for organic chemical-free gardening as the plants are doing the job of fertilizers.
So, you’ve made all these changes and now you are practicing low-water, organic chemical-free gardening? Well, you still haven’t done the most important thing: pass it on! One garden can make a dent, but more can make a bigger difference. Tell your friends, teach your kids, you can even visit their school and teach your kid´s friends! Every little bit helps to make a better world.