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Discover organic gardening

Organic gardening can be a rewarding and healthy enterprise, but you need to get your preparation right - and consider all aspects of your garden. Organic gardening doesn't just refer to growing herbs or vegetables - your whole garden can go green.

These tips will help you to get the best results from your organic garden.

The benefits of organic growing

1. Organically grown food contains much higher levels of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants than normal varieties which can help to fight and prevent cancer.

2. Organic food doesn’t require any fertilisers, poisons or pesticides or artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives which can be harmful to the human body. Therefore, organic food significantly reduces the intake of harmful substances in the body.

3. Organic food tastes better – you’ve just got to try it to taste the difference.

4. Organic fruit and vegetables look better – take a peek at the difference in their size, shine and colour.

5. Organic produce is much better for you and your family and, by growing your own, it can encourage you to eat more fruit and vegetables and make more things at home, including fresh salads and soups.

6. Organic farming and gardening is much better for the environment because it uses less energy, helps the soil and can reduce the levels of carbon dioxide in the air.

7. Organic gardening can be good for your mind, body and soul as it’s very relaxing and therapeutic. Scientists have even dubbed it ‘horticultural therapy’.

8. Organic gardening is good exercise – just think what all that bending and stretching will keep you fit and toned.

How to get started with organic gardening

  • Compost is an important ingredient for your organic garden. Make your own from garden and kitchen waste, even paper and card. A compost bin is a must for the organic gardener, and a great way of recycling dead plants, although it can take up to a year for your first compost to rot down sufficiently to use.
  • Look for organically-grown seeds. If you want to ensure everything in your garden is organic, then you should start with the basics.
  • Encourage helpful insect life. Organic gardening is about maintaining a natural balance. Certain bugs and insects, far from being a threat to your plants, will feed on the pests.
  • Look for natural ways to enrich your soil. Leaf-mold is an ideal nutrient. Collect all the brown leaves in autumn and rot them down. They decay in a different way from compost, so make a separate pile, and remember that evergreen leaves aren’t suitable for leaf-mould.
  • Consider creating a pond or water-feature for your garden. This attracts frogs, birds and creatures who will keep down the population of plant-eating pests. If you don’t have the space, think about a water-butt to collect rainwater. Rainwater is a far better and more natural source of nutrients for your plants than treated domestic supply water.

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