Organic gardening

A brief introduction to organic gardening
Organic gardening, which involves the use of natural products to fertilise and grow your own food, is becoming more popular these days due to more and more people realising the benefits it brings to their health and the environment. By using a compost bin to collect and save natural materials like grass mowings and rotting weeds mixed with food leftovers, you can not only reduce waste but also save money by creating your own organic fertiliser which can be used to grow your own fruit and vegetables in a natural, healthier way.

Organic gardening vs artificial

The attraction for many people to organic gardening is the idea of being able to avoid the use of harmful and non-natural ingredients which are commonly used in products sold for fertilisation, prevention of organic disease and pest control.

The use of artificial chemicals can easily be dispensed with in favour of more natural alternatives. And apart from their use in growing your own fruit, herbs and vegetables, the same methods can be applied to the cultivation of flowers, shrubs and trees.

Making compost from garden and household waste will enable you to grow healthier plants by using a natural organic fertiliser. By taking up organic gardening as opposed to using artificial products a gardener can carry out their tasks in the knowledge that they are more in harmony with nature.

Soil which is organically cared for is teeming with microscopic life which helps improve the condition of the soil. But the introduction of chemical pesticides, weedkillers and fertilisers will gradually succeed in making life more difficult for your plants in the longer term. The unnatural ingredients of artificial fertilisers introduced to the soil can only disrupt the natural balance of things.

So if you had the choice of growing plants organically or by artificial means, which would you choose?

The benefits of organic gardening

The benefits of organic gardening are...

1. A positive reduction in harmful chemicals consumed by you and your family

2. You will feel better knowing that you are eating healthier food grown by
    natural means

3. You will save money by not needing to buy chemical fertiliser

4. A great deal of satisfaction in growing your own foodstuff

Getting started

Homegrown fertiliser can easily be produced by creating a compost heap in the corner of your garden or collecting compostable items in a compost bin.
If you’re bit of a handyman you could build your own compost bin from timber or alternatively purchase one from a local garden centre.

By occasionally adding compostable ingredients to the compost pile the items will eventually generate heat and rot, thus producing a compost that can be used to fertilise your plants. However, unless you follow certain precautions this simplified method can take a while to get results and can often produce a smelly unpleasant product. To find out more about how to create a good quality natural compost I recommend you read the article
‘How to make compost’ produced by HDRA the organic organisation.

Once your compost has been made, which generally takes a few weeks under optimum conditions, you can use it to feed and condition the soil.

Of course there’s plenty more to learn if you’re serious about taking up organic
gardening. Fortunately there’s a good deal of information available on the internet and in books written by experts. Some of which are listed opposite.

Safety considerations

As with most other gardening tasks, it’s always wise to follow certain safety and hygiene rules when handling compost. Always wash your hands before eating, keep cuts covered to avoid infections from harmful bacteria, and where necessary wear gloves to avoid minor cuts and scratches.

Suppliers of gardening equipment

UK suppliers online: B&Q, Crocus, Tooled-up

US suppliers online:, Gardenscape

Recommended books on organic gardening

Books available in the UK

The HDRA Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

The Organic Salad Garden 
by Joy Larkcom

Kitchen Harvest: A Cook's Guide to Growing Organic Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs in Containers 
by Susan Berry

Organic Gardening
by Pauline Pears, Sue Stickland

All About Compost: Recycling Household
and Garden Waste

by Pauline Pears

Great Garden Companions:
A Companion-Planting System for a Beautiful, Chemical-Free Vegetable Garden
by Sally Jean Cunningham

Compost: The Essential Guide to Producing and Using Your Own Compost in the Garden 
by Clare Foster

The New Organic Grower: Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener
by Paul Hawken

Four-season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from
Your Home Garden All Year Long
by Eliot Coleman

Backyard Market Gardening: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Selling What You Grow
by Andrew W. Lee

Bob Flowerdew's Organic Bible: Successful Gardening the Natural Way 
by Bob Flowerdew


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Book Choice

The HDRA Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening

List Price: £25.00
Our Price: £17.50
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organic gardening book

A definitive guide which incorporates an easy-to-use A-Z directory and a wealth of information that caters for all types of organic gardening, from simple first steps to self-sufficiency
  One reader describes the book as ...
    “a comprehensive and authoritive organic
      gardening reference..”

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