Organic gardening.

Last week we talked about organic gardening and the effect soil has on vegies.  Today I want to look at seeds and pest prevention.

hydroponic

Seeds

Once you have prepared your soil, it’s important to know a bit about seeds before you start growing your own vegetables. There are usually different varieties of seeds for each type of plant, each with its own characteristics. For example, the common tomato plant has hundreds of varieties.

Some varieties will do better in different conditions, such as being sun hardy, shade tolerant or drought resistant. You can also divide seeds by type. There are heirloom seeds, which are really perfect to use in an organic garden as the seed from the plants that are grown can be used to plant your garden the following year. This is really the most sustainable and natural of all seed planting practices.

There are also hybrid plants that are the result of selective breeding practices. Hybrids may be more tolerant to certain poor conditions but the seed cannot be saved from the plants and planted the following year as each generation will be weaker than the one before it.

In some countries there are GMO or genetically modified seeds, that feature a seed that has been cloned with a different species to make it pest resistant, but these seeds are not “natural” and really defeat the purpose of organic gardening.

Pests

Organic gardening takes advantage of many strategies, such as companion gardening, to help deter pests in the garden. You can conduct a simple search about companion gardening online, and discover which plants “like” to be planted next to each other. For example, certain flowers planted in a border around your garden will deter certain bugs that might eat the vegetables, and certain plants fix certain nutrients or release other natural substances in the ground as they grow and can help an entirely different species of plant to grow better.

Common examples are the practice of planting varieties of squash with corn and beans or planting onions next to your potatoes, dill next to your tomatoes, garlic in your rose beds and carrots near your peas.  You will also want to learn about natural remedies for common ailments such as blight, mould or mildew and other natural solutions that can be made at home to help keep pests from attacking your vegies.

While it’s a bit more involved than gardening with man-made chemicals, it is really much easier than it sounds. Once you set down to enjoy the different, delicious taste and texture provided by organic vegies, and know that you are putting something into your body that you helped to create, that is free of dangerous chemicals and was grown in such a way as to help improve the Earth, you will realize it was well worth your time and efforts.