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Organic September: How to get the most out of your garden

Best practices on how to grow your own organic food

Organic September is a month-long campaign designed to encourage more people to try organic as a way to promote and educate people about organic food & farming practices. Ready to learn more about how to grow your own food?

Organic eating and farming are more popular than ever before but only 9.1% of EU agricultural land was dedicated to it in 2020. With more and more of us turning to organic produce and pesticide-free options, Organic September might be the best time for you to explore how you can start being organic at home and in the garden:

  • What is Organic September?
  • What makes something organic?
  • What can you do to be more organic at home?

Adopting a more organic lifestyle has endless benefits for the climate, Mother Nature and your health, so let’s find out more…

What is Organic September?

September is a month of transition and preparation heading toward autumn, meaning lower temperatures and shorter days. It also marks the start of Organic September, a campaign many organisations, such as Go Organic and the Soil Association, champion. 

The campaign seeks to raise awareness of organic farming and gardening practices, highlighting their importance in benefitting the planet and protecting wildlife. From ditching pesticides to creating a more balanced ecosystem in your space, the benefits of organic gardening are plentiful.

What makes something organic?

“Feed the soil, not the plant.”

The term ‘organic’ describes produce grown without man-made or modified substances, fertilisers or pesticides. 

For instance, organic farmers must adopt natural ways to keep the soil healthy, like sustainable composting and crop rotation to avoid mineral build-up and maintain a healthy growing state.

It’s the study and practice of copying natural ecosystems, and in some countries, the farm and methods need to be certified before they can be labelled as such.

How to start an organic greenhouse at home to grow your food

What can you do to be more organic at home?

Keep soil healthy & protect plants

A key pillar of organic gardening is the theory that healthy, diverse soil will boost the local ecosystem and support native bug and plant life. In turn, this leads to healthier and tastier vegetables whilst ensuring nutritious soil for future crop seasons. 

To help protect and boost the soil in your garden, consider using organic mulch such as bark or green manure to keep your beds healthy and prevent weeds from popping up. 

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Deal with pests naturally 

If you’re looking to support a healthy, balanced ecosystem in your garden, using chemical pesticides is a big no-no. This is because weedkillers and pesticides can also destroy bees and other beneficial pollinators, harm soil life and cause pollution. 

To manage pests naturally, consider creating a perfect habitat for the predators – for instance, plant ladybird-friendly flowers near greenfly infestations. To deal with slugs and snails, build an environment for hedgehogs, birds and frogs. Alternatively, deal with pests by spraying them with a jet of water from the hose. 

Make your own fertiliser

Artificial fertiliser can harm soil and insect life due to the chemicals which aren’t natural or useful to the rest of the environment. But did you know it’s super easy to make organic fertiliser at home using comfrey? Not only will your garden thank you for the natural boost, but it will save you money whilst reducing the use of plastic packaging. 

Start by donning a thick pair of gardening gloves, then cut off the comfrey leaves. Next, fill a large bucket or container with water, adding 1kg of leaves to every 15 litres of water. Press the leaves down until they are submerged in the water, then leave the container alone for about 4-6 weeks. You can tell when it’s ready, as it will produce a rather nasty smell, and the liquid will be a deep shade of brown. Finally, discard the leftover leaf sludge and add it to the compost heap, then use your homemade fertiliser in the garden. 

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Make your own compost 

There are so many benefits to making your own compost. It can help to reduce food waste, provide free garden nutrients, help maintain healthy soil and attract animals such as hedgehogs and frogs that will eat pests. 

Compost also serves as a fantastic fertiliser and helps to protect plant beds and keep weeds at bay. You don’t need anything fancy to get started, though there are more aesthetically pleasing compost bin options out there. The most basic option is to dedicate an area of your garden for the heap – spaces in part shade and part sun during the day with good drainage are best. 

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You can compost most things that will rot, such as fallen leaves, fruit and veg scraps, grass cuttings and discarded plants or prunings. You’ll need to air the compost heap now and then, so turn it over with a large garden fork or spade. 

Use organic seeds

A key step in creating an organic garden is to use organic seeds. Not all seeds are equal – those developed in an artificially boosted environment will require continued use of chemical fertilisers. It’s far better to acquire seeds that will work in harmony with your organic garden, so be mindful of where they came from.

You can also save seeds from existing, organically grown plants, fruit and veg. The method for saving seeds varies from species to species, but in general, you’ll want to harvest seeds on a dry day, clean them, dry them and store them somewhere cool. 

How to start an organic greenhouse at home to grow your food

Get ready for autumn 

September is a month of change, and there’s plenty to do in the garden to keep you busy as we transition into the cooler months. Now is the time to:

  • Protect your soil from frost and weeds by adding a protective layer of mulch.
  • Start a compost heap ready to make the most of fallen leaves.
  • Install water butts to collect rainwater throughout autumn & winter.
  • Finish your harvesting.
  • Clean out and prepare greenhouses and cold frames.
  • Protect ponds from falling leaves during autumn using a net.

Now you know how to get the most out of your garden by following organic methods and how you can prepare for autumn and winter. Are you ready to be more organic?

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