Strong soil culture is the best way to boost our plants without chemicals. Gardening without chemicals protects our drinking water. It also protects the good soil bacteria and fungi that naturally fend off plant diseases.
Synthetic pesticides, weedkillers and even fertilizers are biocides, they kill the good bacteria and fungi in your soil. Over fertilization also causes grass to die and is the biggest cause of thatch.
It will take a while to build your soil, but if you are patient the soil culture that has been killed with biocides will regenerate.
Certified organic weedkillers and pesticides are much healthier, but also kill good organisms, so I don’t like to recommend “replacement” chemicals. Instead follow some basic tenets to strengthen your soil and plants.
If you run into a problem figure out what is causing it and address that. Just like a doctor wouldn’t prescribe antibiotics for “malaise” but only for a specific problem, gardeners need to know what the problem is to know the cure. And just like in medicine, a healthy soil and healthy plant are the best weed and pest prevention.
So this spring:
1. Test your soil, particularly if areas of your lawn or garden are problematic.
2. Replace only the nutrients that are missing with certified organic soil amendments or compost once the soil temperature warms up to 65 degrees. Adjust the pH for the needs of specific plants.
3. For areas of lawn, overseed with grass seed in the spring to outcompete weeds.
4. Consider adding some clover or alfalfa to your lawn. Both are legumes and fix nitrogen from the air and make it available to your grass.
5. Give our Organic Lawn Care Brochure to your lawn professional. It is a great place to start and is downloadable from this web site on the “download” tab.
6. The next two posts will be on weed control and pest control, but start with the soil!!!!!
7. Email problems and triumphs so we can share.