Prev NEXT  


How to Grow a Specialty Garden


Compost-Making Equipment

Wire composting bin

Stackable composting bin

Wooden composting bin

Vented plastic bins

Worm boxes

Compost tumbler

Compost inoculant

Garden fork

Compost thermometer

Sifting screen

More is not always better when it comes to fertilizers. Lower-dose organic fertilizers are unlikely to burn plant roots or cause nutrient overdoses. Many forms release their components slowly, providing a long-term nutrient supply instead of one intense nutrient blast. Organic fertilizers may also provide a spectrum of lesser nutrients, even enzymes and hormones that can benefit growth.

For details on how to use fertilizers properly, read the package labels. The volume of fertilizer required may vary depending on the kind of plant being fertilized and the time of year.
  • Use fish emulsion fertilizer to encourage a burst of growth from new plantings, potted flowers and vegetables, or anything that is growing a little too sluggishly for your taste. High-nitrogen fish emulsion dissolves in water and is easily absorbed and put to immediate use by the plant. For best results, follow the package directions.

  • Add toad houses to the garden to attract toads for natural pest control. Just as fairy-tale toads can be turned into handsome princes with just a kiss, ordinary toads become plant protectors just by hopping into the garden. They may not be pretty, but toads eat plenty of bugs, so you'll be glad to see them. To encourage toads to come to live in your garden, try the following:

  • Put several broken clay pots in the garden for toads to hide under.

    Be sure to read the package labels when using fertilizers.
    ©2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Be sure to read the package labels when using fertilizers.

  • Water when the ground gets dry to keep the environment pleasant for amphibians.

  • Avoid spraying toxic chemicals on the garden.

  • Watch out for toads when tilling, hoeing, or shoveling or mowing.

  • Use organic repellents to chase away rodents and deer. Sprays made out of hot peppers, coyote or bobcat urine, rotten eggs, bonemeal, or bloodmeal, even castor oil, can make your garden plants unappetizing to herbivores. Reapply the repellents frequently, and always after rain, to maintain high protection levels.

  • Grow French or American marigolds to kill any nematodes in the garden soil. Nematodes, which are microscopic wormlike pests that can damage tomatoes, potatoes, and other crops, are killed by chemicals that are released by marigold roots and decaying foliage. You can plant marigolds in and around other nematode-susceptible plants. Or just till marigolds into the soil and let them decay before planting potatoes or tomatoes.
You definitely don't need sprays and pesticides to keep your garden at its finest. Just use these tips and you'll be an expert at organic gardening in any season.