Don’t use chemicals in the garden. Organic fertilisers and pesticides reduce pollution and are better for wildlife. The right amount of organic fertiliser (or regular applications of compost or composted manure) will help your plants stay healthy. Healthy plants are better able to fend off diseases.
Half rotted leaves are called “leaf mulch” and there is nothing like a layer of leaf mulch to maintain soil moisture, keep weeds down and attract earth worms and all kinds of beneficial insects and organisms. They are also very helpful to keep our gardens disease-free. Mulch prevents soil that is infested with soil-borne fungi from splashing up onto your plant’s foliage.
Buy plants grown in peat free compost and encourage friends to go peat free. Peat bogs are a dwindling and precious environment, so please try and avoid peat based composts, there are plenty of alternatives on the market. Look around at your garden centre for organic composts or composted bark products. Alternatively develop your own compost heap, or buy compost from your local tip where organic material is being composted on an industrial scale.
A great way to use kitchen scraps without a compost heap is to put them in trenches 30cm wide and 30cm deep, covering each layer with a sprinkling of the external soil until the trench is full.
After a few weeks, plant beans, potatoes or peas in the trenches. These can use the food by converting it into nitrates and this source of nitrate helps create the right balance of carbon (in the food waste) and nitrate necessary for growth of the plants.
Citrus fruits have pest repelling properties that can be used in making organic pesticides or insecticides. They have the added bonus of not containing any harmful chemicals or properties that can be dangerous to humans or other animals.
Citrus oil may not actually or directly kill various pests and insects, it will however make pests and insects avoid the treated area.
Here is a method of how to extract citrus oil from citrus peels or rinds:
To make your pesticide, mix several drops of citrus oil with 1 litre of lukewarm water and add a few drops of organic dishwashing liquid soap, put into a spray bottle and spray over your target plants – simple!
A Wormery is an easy way of converting kitchen waste into compost and liquid feed.
The worms in a wormery are fast, efficient, natural composters able to eat up to half their own body weight in waste every day. Worms can compost virtually any organic kitchen waste (including vegetable peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, stale bread, hoover dust, etc) turning it into FREE top quality compost (worm casts) and liquid feed.
Here’s a quick, cheap and easy example of how to build your own wormery.