Organic gardening is all about gardening in as natural a way as possible, without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers. As well as feeding your plants with liquid fertilisers, you feed the soil by mulching with home-made compost, manure and other organic matter to increase soil fertility. Instead of spraying pests you look for alternative ways to manage them, for example by growing companion plants to confuse them and attract their predators, or by using a jet of water to blast them off your plants, where previously you might have used a chemical spray. Instead of spraying weeds with weedkiller, you weed by hand, and use mulches, sheeting and ‘No Dig’ methods to suppress weed growth.
Organic gardens are rich, vibrant spaces, alive with birds and other wildlife, which do the job you used to do with chemical spray. Hoverflies, ladybirds, lacewings and house sparrows eat aphids. Blue tits and wasps feast on caterpillars. Eventually, pests are no longer pests because their numbers never reach pest proportions – they become simply food for other species further up the food chain. Sadly wildlife doesn’t do the weeding or mulching for you – you’l have to manage those tasks yourself. But you’ll be amazed at how quickly you adjust to organic gardening methods, and how much you enjoy a closer relationship with the land.