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Organic Supplies for Healthy Gardens

by Gabby Hyman, All About Lawns Columnist

You may not have to use synthetic chemicals to fight weeds and promote a healthy backyard garden. Many people have gone completely organic: choosing naturally occurring substances for seeding, mulching, and fertilizing their gardens. Today, there are environmentally friendly supplies for fighting insects and garden pests.

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Starting at the beginning of your garden cycle, you can prepare your soils for strong flower and vegetable growth by adding rich compost. There are compost bins and supplies available that can help turn lawn clippings, kitchen waste (egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.), and other organic materials into soil conditioning agents that help drainage and provide sound micronutrients that plants love. You can also order worms and worm bins to help accelerate natural composting.

If it is too late in the year to get a healthy amount of compost together, you can also buy organic nutrients, liquid and solid supplements, and mulches. Organic growth media can foster good root growth and rapid blooming. Catalysts can boost fruit and vegetable yields without genetically altering the plant.

Using Organic Fertilizers
For those who are new to organic backyard gardening, the selection of organic fertilizers can seem overwhelming. All garden plants typically need a variety of macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), micronutrients (iron, boron manganese, chlorine, copper, and zinc), and secondary nutrients (magnesium, calcium and sulfur).

Organic fertilizers can deliver these minerals through natural agents like bat or seabird guano, worm casings, kelp, bone meal, crab shells, cottonseed meal, potash, and other organic mineral compounds that provide nitrogen and potassium. You may want to try fertilizers that add mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungus that stimulates root growth and fights disease.

Natural Pest Control for Backyard Gardens
Organic garden experts agree that balancing natural elements in the garden provides the best overall defense against pests. The organic argument is that blasting your plants and vegetable garden with chemicals ultimately upsets the balance in a way that creates dependence on more and more toxic substances. Instead of using chemicals, organic gardeners employ beneficial insects, natural repellents (oils and soaps) and pest barriers, or--in dire circumstances--botanical insecticides.

Have aphids? You can order parasitic gall-midges, larvae that hatch and eat aphids without chewing on anything else in your garden. There are pest-specific bacteria that you can introduce to the garden that only kill target insects without harming flowers, vegetables, plants, or pets.

Organic soaps smother insects and then degrade safely in a matter of days without harming anything else. If you have critter woes, you can fight moles with organic, biodegradable castor oil-based pellets that shoo them elsewhere.

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About the Author
Gabby Hyman has created online strategies and written content for Fortune 500 companies including eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Microsoft Encarta, Avaya, and Nissan UK.



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