DIY Network

Organic Gardening

Learn about some of the unusual but effective practices of organic gardening.

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effective practices of organic gardening

Gardening is about experimentation. Many of the best gardening tips and tricks come about through trial and error, word of mouth or even pure accident. Some of today's garden secrets may become tomorrow's standard practices. Try these out in your own garden and see what happens.

One of the golden rules of organic gardening is soil preparation. Good soil will help take care of itself, so building up good-quality soil will help you avoid extra additives and chemicals and save time later on.

Dry molasses, or even table sugar, tilled into garden beds at the rate of 10 pounds per 500 square feet will feed beneficial microbes in the soil. The microbes break down the soil and eat harmful pests that would otherwise have to be sprayed with pesticides.

Planting cover crops underneath or between some vegetable crops can reduce the amount of time you spend tilling garden beds. Tilling introduces oxygen, which burns up nutrients within the soil. The root system of a cover crop such as vetch improves the soil's nitrogen content and creates soil structure without adding oxygen. A cover crop keeps other weeds down and encourages earthworms to work the soil underground. Then it gets mowed off and tilled in once, adding nutrients to the soil.

Some cover crops such as buckwheat attract honeybees, which in turn do a thorough job of pollinating the vegetables in the garden. You an even keep the bees in a nearby hive to harvest the honey they produce.

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