Organic Growing – What does it mean?

Cabbage seedlings

Organic growing doesn’t just mean throwing away the chemical weed killers and pesticide sprays. It is more exciting, challenging and satisfying. It is using natural ways to promote a healthy, productive and sustainable growing environment. It involves feeding the soil, encouraging wildlife, and getting creative with nature’s pest and disease controls. It’s cheap, it’s practical – and it’s good for plants, people and communities.

You don’t need a large space to grow organically, and it doesn’t have to be untidy!

If you don’t have a garden or an allotment, then a window box or pots on your balcony or patio can in their own way be as productive. And if you mix your planting you can enhance your fruit and vegetables with beautiful flowers, enjoy the wildlife and have a succession of fresh produce.

The following pages will help you get started, to care for your soil, to manage your allotment, to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers, make your own compost and feeds, manage your weeds, deal with pests and diseases, save your seeds and harvest your crops. All done the organic way - saving money and the environment.

Getting started

The best place to start is by downloading our Principles of Organic Gardening. These explain the thinking behind organic growing. Designed with a simple traffic light system (green – good; amber – acceptable, but not for regular use; red – never acceptable), they help you on your organic growing journey - whether you are a complete beginner, want to convert to organic, or be reminded of good organic practice.

Good soil is the keystone to organic growing - fertile soil that provides the home for millions of bacteria, which are essential for healthy plant growth. Soil also holds air and water which gives it a good structure (not compacted or waterlogged) and good texture (not too heavy or light). This allows plants to put down roots, to absorb water and nutrients, and encourage strong growth. Good soil is key to organic growing success. See Managing for your Soil and Home Composting.

New veg patch? Your first allotment?

If this is your first time to grow organically, you might be wondering where to begin? Maybe you are faced with a large area of weeds? And you know you don’t want to use toxic chemical weedkillers. We’ve put together a guide to starting your veg patch or allotment the organic way. Its not only environmentally sound, it also the smart way.

Garden Organic is offering an introductory course focusing on how to start planning your organic garden - looking at crop rotation, ground preparation and more. Courses are held at Ryton Gardens throughout 2017 on 8 February, 13 April, 15 June, 14 September, and 16 November. Further details and how to book here