Gardening organically is good for you and the planet. And it’s not as hard as you think to make the change. Here’s four small steps to speed you on your organic gardening journey this Organic September…
(Psst! I’ve got a gorgeous giveaway to get you started. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find out more)
I’ve been using organic gardening methods at my Northampton allotment and garden for more than 15 years. But I haven’t had to go on a course or read a complicated book. In fact, many of the principles of gardening organically are easy and come quite naturally to us gardeners.
And it’s not a fad either.
Gardening organically improves the environment by boosting your soil. It encourages a wider range of wildlife to visit and use your garden. And it helps you grow food that you know will be free of nasty chemicals.
It all starts with the soil.
Step One: Save your scraps
We don’t throw anything away in our house. We find kitchen and garden scraps are most a-peeling (sorry). Composting is one of the best ways I can give back to my garden. And turning waste into ‘black gold’ for mulching beds, pots and plants is much easier than you think. All you need it a little bit of time, and some heat. Nothing beats the feeling that you’ve created a complete environmental cycle in the garden with nothing wasted. Here’s my guide – but Garden Organic also have some brilliant advice and videos.
Step Two: Love your ladybirds
It’s easy to get paranoid about pests. Especially when your cabbages and carrots look like Swiss cheese. But a garden with all creatures great and small will be more vigorous in the long term. Potions and pellets can damage the environment, so work with wildlife to nip problems in the bud. Ladybirds for example are very partial to greenfly and will gobble them up for you. Here’s my favourite friendly ways to tackle garden pests.
Step three: Boost your butt!
Water is renewable but this doesn’t mean it will always be easily accessible. In many areas of the world there are water shortages so it’s up to us, in water rich areas, to use it carefully. Plus the British climate is anything but predictable. This summer we’ve seen downpours and droughts. Save water in a butt or bucket and you’ll never need to worry about a hose-pipe ban again. I’m on a water metre so it helps me save money too. Here’s my top ways to save water.
Step four: Save seeds
Saving your own seed is the ultimate money saver. I like to leave seedpods on the plants to dry first. Then I snip off the stems and hang them up in my shed. After two weeks, I’ll collect the seeds in paper bags. (Honestly, they’re like treats at the sweet shop!) I’ve grown beans, pumpkins, herbs and flowers from my own saved seeds. And I still can’t quite believe it when something grows from a brittle little pod I’ve dried myself. I find bigger seeds are easier but if you’re feeling more ambitious, Garden Organic has a handy guide for each veg. You can also listen to my Allotment Alice BBC Diary about edible seeds here.
Organic September is a month long initiative to promote the benefits of organic food and growing practices. Find out more here.
ORGANIC SEPTEMBER GIVEAWAY!
I’ve teamed up with Garden Organic to offer a full membership to one lucky winner! As a member you’ll get:
- A copy of The Organic Way members’ magazine sent three times a year.
- Access to an online members-only area of Garden Organic’s website with growing factsheets, a forum and an enquiry line.
- 10% off all orders with the award-winning Organic Gardening Catalogue.
- Free or discounted entry to a range of partner gardens around the UK including Garden Organic’s base at Ryton Organic Gardens in Warwickshire.
- A monthly e-newsletter with updates from the charity and news relevant to organic growers.
To enter, simply answer the following question: What seeds do I save from my garden each year?
Send your answer, name, email and social media handle to me before September 18. The winner will be announced via my social media channels on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter on September 21. (T&Cs below).
Organic September Competition T&Cs
- The prize consists of one Garden Organic Membership.
- The prize will be sent out to the recipient by post by Garden Organic.
- Entrants must answer the question: ‘What seeds does allotmentalice save from her garden each year?’
- Multiple entries in a single day will not be accepted. Entries that do not answer the question will be void.
- Open to all UK residents, aged 16 and over, excluding relatives, partners and employees of Garden Organic or AllotmentAlice.
- Closing date for entries is midnight GMT on Friday, September 18, 2020.
- Only one entry per person.
- The winner will be chosen at random.
- The winner will be informed by social media on September 21.
- By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.