Organic Gardening Tips

Written by Sarah Provost
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Some people, especially beginning gardeners, think using organic methods is too complex for them. In truth, gardening organically takes no more time, effort or expense than conventional techniques, and has the added benefit of ecological responsibility. Here are a few easy tips to help you reduce the amount of poisons on the planet and on your plate.

Preventing Pests and Diseases

To subvert an old maxim, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of poison. Begin by choosing varieties and hybrids of vegetables that have been bred to resist their most common pests and diseases. Rotating your crops not only helps prevent a buildup of pests, molds, bacteria, etc., but also adds fertility to the soil.

Physical barriers and traps are extremely effective against common garden pests. Lay some chicken wire over the ground to keep cats and squirrels from digging up what you've planted. Put out a hospitable saucer of beer for the slugs--they'll die happy. Collaring young plants with rings cut from cardboard or carpet will keep cutworms from decimating your crops.

Make a cloche for young plants by cutting the bottom off a clear plastic soda bottle. Not only does it keep cutworms, slugs and caterpillars from eating your plants, but it also provides them with extra warmth in the early spring. Leave the cap off so air can circulate. And finally, plant some colorful flowers among the vegetables to attract aphid-loving ladybugs and butterflies. Now, wasn't that easy?

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