The Golden Rules of Organic Gardening

Organic gardening has become increasingly popular over the last several years. Whether we know it or not, many of us may already practice some form of organic
gardening…we just don't give it any thought! Organic gardening is the practice of growing our plants, shrubs, lawns, fruits and vegetables using only things found in nature. Absolutely no man-made chemicals are used. Commonly today, chemicals and non-natural products are used for fertilizing, and for control of insects, disease, and weeds. However, it is becoming increasingly easier to practice organic methods as a home gardener with the wide spectrum of fertilizers, and pest and disease control products that are made available to you. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Follow the rules below to start your way to a healthier, more environmentally friendly future, for your lawns and gardens as well as for your family and pets!

Rule # 1- Invest some time and energy to build a healthy soil that contains a high amount of organic matter, which in turn supports a higher quantity of beneficial fungi and soil microbes. A healthy soil helps to build healthy plants.
Rule #2- Make sure to properly site plants in a situation where they will thrive. This will help to ensure that your plants stay healthy and vigorous. A healthy plant is much less susceptible to pest and disease damage than one which is stressed due to improper site conditions.
Rule #3- When a pest or disease problem is first spotted, take immediate action! It will be much easier to gain control while the infestation or infection is in its early stages. Don't delay!

The major benefits of organic gardening are many:

1) No harmful chemicals on the food you and your family consume.
2) Less harm to the environment around us.
3) Preservation of groundwater and wetland areas by reducing chemical runoff.
4) You will feel better knowing you are doing your part.
5) Studies have concluded that it is much better for the overall health of your plants than using chemicals.

Ways we Practice Organic Gardening Today:

1) Use compost or composted manure for mulch and fertilizer when possible.
2) Use only plant matter for plastics. Leaves and straw work great, as   well as bark.
3) Use organic and/or natural mineral-based fertilizers instead of chemically derived fertilizers.
4Learn and apply proper techniques to grow healthy plants which can help avoid plant diseases and pests. A healthy plant is much more resistant than one which is under stress!
5) Use beneficial insect enemies, such as Ladybugs to control aphids and nematodes, bT or Milky Spore to control grubs and caterpillars.
6) Use natural insecticides and deterrents such as rotenone, pyrethrin and insecticidal soap sprays to control pests, and neem oil, copper or sulphur to control disease problems.
7) Use a little extra muscle power to control weeds versus getting out the weed killer.
8) Have a willingness to give up a small portion of your crop to insect or disease damage in order to produce and consume healthier food for you and your family.
9) Conserve and recycle natural resources. By using natural materials like manure, composted weeds and tree leaves, and kitchen scraps we are using organic materials and reducing what goes into the waste stream.
We at McArdle's would like to share our expertise with you, and help to educate you in the field of organics. Please feel free to ask one of our knowledgeable employees for further information.

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