5 Ways to Keep Your Garden All-Natural

It’s almost time to start harvesting your spring veggies and considering your fall haul.

Mid-July to early August is the beginning of the fall planting season – so if your spring harvest fell to pieces, you’ve got another chance!

People all over the country are complaining about languishing vegetables, flowers that won’t fruit, and destitute-looking patches where their self-sufficient livelihood was supposed to be.

That’s likely down to two main reasons:

  1. The pandemic spurred a flurry of gardening the likes of which this country hasn’t seen this the second World War. For a moment there, people were frightened of food scarcity as grocery stores ran out of items left and right, and rumors spread from the midwest that farmers weren’t able to bring their produce to national suppliers because of Covid-19 concerns. 

But if we extrapolate further away from fear, we find hope. People have been home more than ever, and their external distractions were ripped right out from under them. 

Cultivating and tending a garden requires availability for planning, patience, and care. We finally had all three. 

For so many gardeners, this was only their first or second attempt! Forgetting to check in on your garden every day, neglecting to test soil composition, and planting the wrong plants next to each other are perfectly reasonable newbie mistakes. 

  1. Climate change does have an effect on gardening – not so surprisingly. Temperatures are rising slightly every year, and a lot of this season’s crops experienced heat stress in a way they may not have last year, but it isn’t only that. Precipitation patterns are changing, and so are the flight paths and seasons of birds. Naturally, that changes the pattern of insects, both pests and pollinators. 

Since the world around us is altering imperceptibly, it can be difficult to prepare for how your plants will react. 

Prevention is the best cure for all disease, plants included… but how can you prevent what you don’t know to plan for?

Gardening, even to the most seasoned grower, is a process of trial and error. Now that we’ve learned a few things from our spring gardens, we ought to make sure we’re getting our fall gardens off on the right foot. 

And most growers try to be as conscious as possible about gardening all-organic.

Let’s take a look at five ways you can care for your fall harvest the all-natural way!

Pull Incompatible Plants

If you know what you’re going to plant is incompatible with what used to be planted there, pull the old plant! You don’t need to replace the soil – just replenish it with old compost, manure, granular organic fertilizer, and other odds and ends like eggshells for calcium and coffee grounds for nitrogen. 

Then, toss the old plants into your compost box – reuse everything!

Get Reused Cages, Trellises, or Simply Sticks

Climbing plants need help to stay off the ground – instead of buying new cages and trellises, find them used by crowd-sourcing them! Instead of metal poles, use sticks from your yard or the woods to hold up bean plants.

Same effect – less waste.

Attract Pollinators

Pollinators are so vital to your vegetable garden – they’re the reason that vegetables can grow but not flower, as in the case of a failed summer squash plant. 

They love colors, so make sure you plant an array of colorful flowers for them to come find! 

Avoid pesticides and make sure you keep your herbs near your vegetable gardens – mint, oregano, basil, dill, fennel, and rosemary are particularly attractive to bees!

Use Organic Mulch

Organic mulch shares some traits in common with compost – it’s made of once living material, like bark nuggets, grass clippings, straw, salt marsh hay, compost, and chopped leaves. This is as opposed to industrial mulch, which can be made of rocks, gravel, black plastic, and geotextiles.

Mulch helps keep your garden hydrated by retaining water and releasing it slowly. It also helps suppress weeds, protect plants from the sun, and keep them warm in cold snaps.

Dry Out Weeds Organically

Instead of using toxic weed killers, use household items to help kill weeds, or simply pull them by hand!

A mix of vinegar, table salt, and dish soap applied liberally over weeds will dry them out, as will a mixture of rubbing alcohol, water, and dish soap.

There’s no need to infect the air and soil of your garden with toxic chemicals when the things we already have around us will do the trick!

Try these preventive tips and organic solutions this time around. 

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Dr. Pedram Shojai

NY Times Best Selling author and film maker. Taoist Abbot and Qigong master. Husband and dad. I’m here to help you find your way and be healthy and happy. I don’t want to be your guru…just someone who’ll help point the way. If you’re looking for a real person who’s done the work, I’m your guy. I can light the path and walk along it with you but can’t walk for you.