Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > May 2017 > IN THE GARDEN with DOUG - THE COST OF BEING AN ORGANIC GARDENER


What, exactly, is considered organic gardening?  Personally, I consider myself an organic gardener because I don’t use any chemicals or synthetic fertilizers on any of my plants.  And, over the years, I have incorporated organic matter into my garden beds.  Therefore, I have created a sustainable landscape and vegetable garden.  An organic garden does not rely on man-made chemicals or products.  With the use of organic compost such as leaf compost, mushroom compost, and other organic products I have improved my soil health that is now sustaining “life” naturally.  Matter of fact, when I planted my summer vegetables I loved seeing all the earthworms in the soil.  Earthworms is a great indicator that your soil in “healthy”.  Earthworms naturally add organic matter to your soil with their castings.
                There are several ways you can grow a “green” garden and save money.  Here are some of my personal tips that will help you cut costs while doing right by Mother Earth.
  1.  Start by adding quality organic matter to your landscape beds.  Starting a compost pile is an excellent way to create your own organic matter.  Leaves and grass clippings make great foliage compost at no cost to make.  In addition, as I stated above, you want earthworms in your soil and to be very happy adding organic matter and multiplying.
  2. Mulching is another way to go organic and save money on watering.  Water is a precious resource that, sometimes, we take for granted and abuse.  Just think of the times that we have had water restrictions.  A thin layer of organic matter such as hardwood mulch, pine tags, ground up leaves will help soil to retain moisture, which means less frequent watering.  That translates into smaller water bills!  And, mulch will decompose into organic matter for the soil.  And, a couple times a year Mother Nature presents us with “free” mulch when our pine trees do some shedding.  Take advantage of this bounty and save money.
  3. Another good organic way to save money is to capture rain water whenever possible.  Rain barrels, attached to the downspouts, will provide much needed water for plants at no expense.
  4. Naturally beautiful plant markers are easy to make.  One of my favorite plant marker idea is using broken clay pots or “shards” as plant labels.   Strategically place the marker in front of the plant and label by using a permanent marker.  We all have broken clay pots in our shed.  Don’t toss but re-use.  Again, a cost saving idea that is very natural and unique.
  5. Help your acid-loving plants like rhododendrons, gardenias, azaleas, and camellias by recycling leftover coffee grounds.  Apply a quarter inch layer once a month to keep your soil slightly acidic.
  6. Aphids are a very common sucking insect that we can find on new growth of most any plant – vegetables, herbs, flowering annuals, etc. this time of year.  Don’t use any chemical for control.  Rather take a hose and give ‘em a strong blast of water.  Or, a soapy bath using Ivory soap and water will wash them off the plants and allow you to stay on the organic path.
In a nutshell, becoming a successful organic gardener does not happen overnight.  It takes work, dedication, and commitment to work with using only organic products and staying away from any chemicals and synthetic fertilizers.  It’s working for me.  So, no reason that becoming an organic gardener can’t work for you as well.
Posted: 5/16/2017 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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