19 Oct 2009

My Organic Garden (Part 1)

Weeds are the vegetal pests of the garden and can wreak havoc with lawns, flower borders and vegetable patches relentlessly. However I disagree with the use of pesticides and weed killers. Those may provide a quick turnaround solution, but they are not without consequence as they leave a trail of death behind them, killing not just weeds, but also garden bugs (good or bad!), gastropods, worms, and harming other life forms. Regular use of chemicals will impoverish the soil, destroying precious nutrients. If you are using pesticides, weed killers and – come to think of it – fertilizers, while cultivating edible plants, you will also incur the risk of consuming quantities of the chemicals as these will travel down the food chain.

For as long as I have owned my property (over ten years), I have never used chemicals, bar once when I was given (against my will!) an anti-greenfly/ whitefly spray to treat my single rose bush in the front garden! Having said that, I used the spray on no more than a couple of occasions, as I didn’t want it to interfere with my principles.

However my proudest achievements have been to eradicate disease without resorting to chemical aid, and allow plants to grow and strengthen at their own rhythm rather than force them to balloon up with fertilizing wonders… I also decided from the start that my lawn would be a country lawn, with the accepted interference of dandelion if need be (dandelions might sometimes be humanely removed, by pulling them off the ground, not a mean feat in itself!). Earlier on in the garden’s life I even sowed the odd splash of prairie lawn seeds and every now and again I still enjoy the sighting of cardamine coming into its own.

It may sound obvious but research carefully the soil and location requirements for each new plant you purchase. Sadly I never realised for years that hydrangeas do not thrive in sunny positions. By the time I had found out it was too late. But I learnt from my mistake and made sure that the next hydrangea I purchased would be placed in a shady position. In the space of 3 years, it has thrived enormously, with nothing more than the right location, a good watering in the summer and a good haircut in the autumn once its blooms have withered beyond recognition.

Old wives’ tales and personal observations have also enabled me to nurture my plants and help them thrive in as much of a natural environment as possible. My mum had mentioned to me a few times that chives planted at the foot of a rose bush would help keep aphids away. Incidentally a wild rosa canina started to grow amongst the chive patch in my herb garden. Over the years, I've had the pleasure to notice that the rose bush was never once affected by pests, although rose bushes in other parts of the garden had been under attack (to be continued).

No comments:

Post a Comment