Keeping My Garden Natural
Keeping my garden as natural as possible means that I am constantly looking for new ways to use old things that are abundant around me. Applying old knowledge and new techniques ensure great success whilst leaving as little impact on the environment as possible. Whether it be homemade fertilizers or weed control, I strongly believe that nature can provide everything that we need without creating an unnecessary imbalance to the natural world. Taking shortcuts in the form of chemicals may seem a good idea now, but I for one don’t want to be around for their knock-on effects and inevitable destruction of our best friend, mother nature.
Using Natural Techniques
Using natural techniques is not all that difficult and a simple ritualistic routine can be developed as you go along. Observing the weather patterns and seasonal changes to see what nature can provide, paired with learning how to utilize the practically free products that fall around you will get you well on the way to an edible paradise. We already know that we can compost just about any organic material from kitchen scraps to fallen leaves and cardboard, but what else can we do? What small steps are necessary? And how can we develop a simple system to suit our needs?
Here are some of the basic methods that I use;
- As I believe that chlorinated water destroys beneficial bacteria in the topsoil, I use water from my fish pond. Every two weeks I empty around 80% of the pond throughout the growing season. Fish pond fertilizer contains many beneficial nutrients and has worked wonders for my citrus trees over the past seven years. I keep Coy Carp and Tilapia, which have been happily giving me their castings over this period. At the end of the growing season, I completely clean out the pond and add fresh water.
- I also fill bins with water and collect rainwater in the wet seasons. If I have to use tap water, I leave it for five days to let off the gas (chlorine). This is then used to make EM bacteria, general watering and moisture for the worm farm.
- Leaves, grass cuttings and hedge trimmings are by far the most important natural materials I use. I even collect them for my neighbours who think that I am absolutely barmy. If only they knew their value. I compost most of my scavenged foliage and use others for mulch or pot liners.
- Coconut coir is one of my all-time favourites. I use it to amend depleted soil and mix it into just about everything. It’s great as a soil medium as it retains moisture well and provides slow release nutrients without rotting or spoiling. It also makes a great material for propagation like marcotting, which you can find a guide on here.
- Worm castings make a great soil booster for seeds or a compost tea that is packed with beneficial bacteria. I like to spray this on my garden once a month and add it to my compost mix at the start of the growing season.
- Banana peel is a very versatile material packed with natural nutrients like potassium. To find more uses click here.
- Eggshells can be ground down to make a slow release phosphorus and calcium boost. I tend to add this to my containers and borders at the start of Spring.
- Rice and potato water collected from rinsing are an instant fertilizer which I use for watering the lawn and borders around the garden.
Join the Conversation
These are just some of the basic methods that I like to use. I hope that you find this article intriguing and maybe even start taking your own steps towards a more natural way of gardening. Please share your ideas and techniques in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.