This garden is coordinated by the Churchill Park Community Garden Collective a group of gardeners and community volunteers. We look forward to the upcoming season and hope that you will join our garden community. Please feel free to explore this website for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join, please contact us at garden@opirg.ca.

May 8, 2012

The Ins and Outs of Organic Gardening

                The popularity of organic produce has reached an all-time high, and why shouldn’t it? After all, organic food is better for the environment, because it doesn’t release pollutants into the soil and air, for your health due to the lack of harmful chemicals in organics and even for your recipes because organic food often has a better, less diluted taste. Also, if like all of us this summer you’re growing your organic food, it’s cheaper.

                But without pesticides ensuring your garden is healthy and free of weeds can be difficult and time consuming so for this week’s post I’ve accumulated some tips to help you create the best organic gardens this summer.

1.       Weeding

Weed often, early and thoroughly. When your weeding it’s important to get down to the root, scratching away the leaves at the surface will only keep your garden weed free for a week tops but by getting the roots, you’ll drastically eliminate the number of weeds that can sprout later in the season when you’ve begun planting.  If you plan to keep the same plot next year you may also want to look into planting a cover crop over the winter to reduce the number of weeds that grow in the following spring (check the blog later in the season for more information on how to do this).

2.       Mulching

Mulching around your plants stops weeds from growing and also helps conserve water – it’s also really easy to do. At our garden we have both straw and woodchips available to help with mulching. If you want to know more about mulching this link has a great video on how to do it: http://www.ehow.com/video_2754_mulch-garden.html (however, for water’s conservation please do not leave the hose running attended as they suggest – it is not necessary). You can also feel free to ask myself or other more-experienced gardeners for help.

3.       Crop Rotation

This suggestion really only applies to the returners but it is something that all planters should keep in mind when planning the layout of their gardens. Since different plants require different nutrients from the soil changing where plants are placed every year helps make sure that there are enough nutrients in the soil for them to prosper.

4.       Organic Fertilizers

There are several organic fertilizers available if you feel that your plants still need them but please run it by the CPCG Collective (available by e-mail at garden@opirg.ca) if you do plan on using them as some are not allowed by Hamilton and provincial laws.

5.       Compost

Compost provides all the nutrients that plants need to grow and our own garden will have a large supply of it within the next two days. You don’t need a lot of compost for great results – spreading it even at an inch or two thick is enough for most gardens.  

So there are my five suggestions for having healthy, plentiful organic gardens this summer. Please feel free to comment if you have any more other pieces of advice for gardeners or if you have suggestions for future articles or workshops at the garden.

Happy Gardening!

My name's Laura Crump and I'm a third year student in the Arts and Science program at McMaster University. I've been gardening my whole life but this is my first year at Churchill Park Community Garden. I'm really looking forward to working here this summer, 2012.

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