Organic Gardening – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
Reduced to its simplest definition, organic gardening means gardening without the use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers. By growing plants, especially those grown for human consumption, organically, gardeners get healthful, nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables that promote health, rather than cause health problems. Successful organic gardening, whether outdoors or indoors, is a bit more time-consuming, but the benefits of eating fresh produce and avoiding the short and long-term bad effects of the chemicals used in most commercial produce production are more than worth it.
The Soil Is The Secret
All plants grown in soil depend on it for all the air, water, nutrients, and structure they need to grow strong and resist disease and pests. Soil is your garden’s foundation. Take care of your soil properly and your plants will flourish and provide you with an abundant supply of fruits and vegetables.
Soil is fairly simple. It’s made up of clay, sand, and silt, along with organic matter, water, and air. The ideal composition of soil is:
- Mineral Material (clay, sand, etc.) – 40%
- Water – 25%
- Air – 25%
- Organic Materials (plants, microorganisms, decaying material) – 10%
Ideally, soil should be dark-colored, compress into a lump in your hand, and smell like clean earth. It should absorb water easily, and drain it just as easily, while holding just the right amount for plant roots to absorb. It should also contain living things, like worms and microorganisms, which help keep it aerated and break it up to allow roots to grow freely.
Most soil, sadly, isn’t ideal, for one reason or another. Too much clay and it won’t drain properly or allow enough air into the soil. Too sandy, and it won’t hold enough water for good plant growth. Not enough organic material, and it can’t supply the nutrients your plants need for optimal productivity.
Organic Materials Make The Soil
Even though organic materials make up only 10% of good soil, they are crucial to creating a good environment for your plantings. In almost all gardens, soil needs to be adjusted, through the use of organic and other amendments to create an ideal environment. Proper amounts of organic material help maintain the proper chemical balance in the soil and attract worms, microorganisms, and other subterranean critters that keep the soil aerated and break down organic material into the nutrients needed by your plants.
Getting to Good Soil
One route to growing in ideal soil is to use organic planting mixes, which are blends of all the proper natural materials in exactly the right amounts. Many organic gardeners use organic planting mixes and organic potting soils for all their gardening, especially when gardening in raised beds, a very popular gardening method.
In other cases, organic amendments can be added to existing garden soils to provide that same ideal mixture. Which amendments needed depends on what’s already in the soil, and what’s missing. A good gardening center can help you make the proper choice of amendments after analyzing your current soil. In all cases, though, choose amendments that contain no artificial chemical ingredients to keep your garden organic.
Controlling Weeds, Pests and Diseases Without Chemicals
In a non-organic garden, gardeners control insect pests and plant diseases by spraying, sprinkling, or otherwise applying a wide array of toxic chemicals, designed to kill the insects or disease-causing organisms. The problem is that the same toxic effects also affect humans, in one way or another. Sometimes, the effects are small, but cumulative. The organic gardener uses vigilance and other techniques, like hand picking of insects, special organic washes to remove other pests, and companion plantings to repel still others. The result can sometimes be produce that is slightly less attractive than the perfect produce from chemical gardening, but that’s a minor concern. Organic produce has only good effects on the body, while those perfect-looking veggies and fruits carry a toxic load of chemicals.
Fertilizers and Other Additives
The ideal soil needs only small amounts of fertilizer, and proper composting of spent plants to be added back into the soil can keep your soil fresh, healthy, and productive. Still, there are times when your garden may need a boost to promote strong foliage growth and a good crop. When the need for additional nutrients occurs, there is a wide array of organic fertilizers and additives to handle the job, without resorting to harsh chemical fertilizers.
Organic Gardening Center – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
Interior Gardens is often thought of as a hydroponic and indoor gardening business, but a large part of our business is serving organic gardeners in the Minneapolis St. Paul Metro Area through our retail store. We have carefully selected organic products from around the world to help our customers get the maximum success with their organic gardening projects. From Soil and Soil Amendments to Plant Nutrients and Additives, and from Organic Pesticides and Disease Control products to Gardening Accessories and Propagation Products, we have been serving organic gardeners for over 18 years. Come into our convenient Minneapolis Garden Center, at 1620 Central Ave. NE in Minneapolis, just off I-35W, and let our expert staff show you how you can improve your garden. Make Interior Gardens your organic gardening shopping resource today!