Posted by Neil Lang on Jun 25, 2018

My life as a Organic Gardener 

Most of you know me as a soon to be retired instructor at NAIT.  But if I had to live it over again it would be as an organic gardener.  Organic what? Yep, I derive lots of pleasure weeding, digging in the soil, planting, and transplanting.   I got into the organic thing quite early in the mid-80s.  The idea is to use no pesticides, herbicides or inorganic fertilizers.   I did it for the health of the plants.   Feel the soil properly with no junk food and things will grow.  Besides, it helped in reducing costs.  Yet the trade-off is for the extra time needed to manage pests and soil diseases. 
What no fertilizer? 
Consider the compost nutrients to be your fertilizer.  Compare chemical fertilizers to like a high-intensity Java Boost.   It is a rapid-fire approach but needs to be repeated.  Got children or pets?  Avoid chemicals in the garden that may be harmful. 
Options for living organically 
• Double dig soil without mixing layers. 
• Pick nasty bugs like cabbage worms, potato beetle, red lily beetle 
• Use water wisely 
• Introduce nematodes which  are tiny good guys who go after the bad guys 
• Compost compost compost.   
• Keep adding compost yearly and the soil is enriched 
• Get to know what weeds look like when they are small.  Pick often 
• Save your kitchen scraps. Dump regularly in composter even in winter 
Hints on dealing with dandelions 
• Ideally, dig them out roots and all 
• Or yank  out the plant top avoiding spreading seeds 
• But at least… when the flower turns white, carefully pick it and trash the bag 
• Try spreading corn meal as it inhibits germination of weeds and adds nitrogen 
• And finally… accept those pretty yellow flowers 
• Beautiful healthy plant material 
• Gorgeous  blooms 
• Greenery despite the occasional holes 
• Enjoy your garden even in winter 
Become a lazy gardener 
• Stop bagging grass clippings. Let them settle as a layer of mulch 
• Purchase a compost bin or two and toss in kitchen scraps, trimmed branches etc 
• Layer to get a lasagna garden effect 
• Avoid overwatering 
• Let your garden or flower bed get a little wild.  
• No need to trim constantly 
Yours in growing good health
Neil Lang