Organic September 2018
Garden Organic is supporting Organic September, launched by the Soil Association. We know many people would like to grow organically but either don’t know where to start, or worry they don’t have the time. That’s where we come in! We’re here to support your best intentions to grow sustainably and healthily.
In time, we would love you to fully embrace organic growing, so we’ve created some simple switches to get you started on the organic way. Buy only peat free compost, for instance. Tolerate, don’t obliterate your weeds. These are simple switches, which one by one, will build up your organic growing.
Go organic with 10 Simple Switches!
- Buy peat free compost. Peat comes from an ancient habitat, which would take 1000s of years to restore – something we can never do in our or our children’s lifetimes. Extracting the peat destroys rare wildlife and their support systems. Always choose a compost which is ‘peat free’ and has the organic symbol.
- Avoid using toxic slug pellets. Most slug pellets contain the poison metaldehyde – which can kill pets and other animals if ingested. If you have to use pellets, make sure they are certified for organic use.
- Conserve water. Organic growing means being careful with natural resources. Reduce your own water footprint by conserving water where possible, using waterbutts and grey water. Use it carefully – watering the soil, not the plant.
- Love your weeds! They often provide vital food for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. You can manage weeds by pulling them out by hand. Destroy the roots, but add the valuable foliage to your compost heap. Just don’t use toxic chemicals. (And if you want to keep your hard surfaces clear, make the weeds a cup of tea! Pour some boiling water on them, when making your own cuppa.)
- Buy organic plants, seeds and bulbs. There are many online suppliers, such as The Organic Gardening Catalogue. Almost anything bought from a garden centre – whether it is a plant in a pot, a packet of seeds or autumn bulbs – will have been treated with chemicals which can destroy wildlife.
- Save your seeds. Organic growers know their plants will stay organic year on year. And now is the perfect time of year to be saving your own seeds. A paper bag or envelope will do just fine, to shake the seeds into. Keep them dry, and cool, and sow again next Spring.
- Let your lawn grow a little wild! The organic lawn is made up of 1000s of different plants, not just grass. Leave them to grow long in some areas, to provide shelter and food for pollinating insects – beetles and even frogs will thank you. Just mow where you want to sit, or create interesting pathways through the beautiful long swaying grasses.
- Feed the soil. Use homemade compost to give your organic soil good heart. It improves the texture, to hold air and water, and it provides vital nutrients for your plants.
- Bring wildlife into your garden. Mix your flowers and vegetables so the blossoms attract pollinators; leave some relaxed areas as habitats for insects and small animals; plant shrubs and trees for birds to shelter in; build a pond for frogs and dragonflies.
- If you buy one plant this year, make it comfrey. Why? Because you can make the perfect liquid fertiliser from its leaves, by just brewing them in water. Because the bees and other pollinators will love its flowers. And finally, its leaves are a brilliant addition of vital minerals to the compost heap.