In these times of economic uncertainty, I wonder if people will turn away from organic gardening thinking it is more costly and time-consuming than traditional methods. I would like to reassure people that it isn’t. Not only can we save money and benefit wildlife, we can also cut down on our overall workload in the garden.
When we interfere with nature’s cycles we can end up doing more harm than good, with unseen side effects. We may get a quick result initially but we often become dependent on using unsustainable and costly products. Every time we use artificial pesticides and fertilisers we are unbalancing nature.
For example, artificial fertilisers high in nitrogen produce a spurt in growth, often weakening a plant and leaving it more prone to attacks from pests and diseases. The fertilisers also weaken the structure of the soil and reduce fertility over time. Likewise, artificial pesticides kill both predators and pests unselectively. We get immediate effects but, as there are few or no predators left to combat another attack of pests, we become reliant on these chemical pesticides. This affects other animals further up the food chain.
A healthy plant in the right place can combat attacks from pests and diseases most of the time. Good gardening practice, involving mulching, balanced feeding and encouraging insect predators, will cut down on our workload and increase the biodiversity in our gardens. Making your own compost, leaving a small wild area, making a wildlife pond, putting up insect, bird or bat boxes – all these things will help our struggling native wildlife and also act as predator banks in the garden.
A garden that is organic and good for wildlife doesn’t have to be messy and untamed; it is down to personal taste. Overall we can cut down on costs and have healthier plants, also improving soil structure and biodiversity.