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organic gardening – top tips!

Gardening gloves

Gardening organically is a good way to ensure that the food and plants you grow are free of pesticides or chemicals. Using pesticides and chemicals to kill pests can be harmful to the animals who feed on them and have a wider detrimental impact on the environment. Michael Bright is a True Food Member, regular volunteer and keen gardener. He has kindly provided the following tips on gardening organically.  

While tending to my garden I have two aims;

1. Making it more nature friendly and

2. Organically growing some fruit.  

For these two intentions, I aim to work with nature’s abundance and regenerative capacity, so I have been adding plants that are good for pollinators, creating suitable habitats, such as by adding hedges and creating a pond, which also provides water. 

For dealing with weeds/plants that self-seed I dig them out, and in the paths I either dig them out or use a glyphosate free weed killer.  For feeding my fruiting shrubs and trees I use organic liquid seaweed feed and for the tomato plants in my greenhouse I feed them with an organic liquid feed. 

I also have an issue with lots of ants, so use nematodes to deal with their nests.  Where possible though, I aim to let predators deal with pests.

Other chemical free methods to reduce pest numbers include: 

  • Discouraging aphids by spraying with a mild solution of diluted organic household detergent 
  • Using copper wire and beer traps to ensnare slugs and snails 
  • Encouraging natural predators, frogs and toads, by installing a pond 
  • Purchasing nematodes as a form of biological control. 

Other measures you could adopt to garden greener include: 

  • Investing in a water butt. Collect rainwater all year round and use it to keep your plants hydrated over the summer months. 
  • Composting your waste. Creating your own compost and adding it to plants improves the soil’s ability to stabilise carbon and encourages plan growth.  
  • Only buying peat-free compost. Peat is a vital carbon sink, and therefore digging it out of the ground is extremely damaging in the context of climate change. In addition to this, peatlands are thriving ecosystems with a huge amount of valuable biodiversity that should be protected.