Growing Your Own
Growing Your Own
Melissa Kidd (Soil Association Information Officer) gives expert video advice on: How can I avoid pests and disease without using chemicals? and more...
What are the key things I need to do to keep it organic?
The main thing you'll need to do to maintain your patch as organic is to apply compost. This adds all kinds of nutrients to your soil. Weed by hand, and things in your garden like ponds and bird boxes, so they will be your pest-eaters. If you keep your garden as wildlife friendly as possible, you're much less likely to have a problem with pests.
What are the best things to use for fertiliser?
The best things to use for fertilizer in your organic patch are nettles, to soak a load of nettles in water for a few months and then you can pour the water onto the patch and that's a really good source of fertilizer and to use your compost. So if you keep your vegetable peelings and fruit peelings, once you've stacked it for a certain amount of time, like 6 months or so, that then actually ferments down and becomes an incredibly rich source of fertilizer; those are the two main things.
What costs are involved in growing organic produce?
For the gardener, the only costs involved in growing organic produce would be buying the seeds or the plants. You can spend more money; if you wanted to, you could buy a compost bin, but you could equally make one yourself out of planks. There really aren't any more costs involved at all in organic gardening. You're in fact actually probably saving costs, because you're not buying expensive chemicals. You might want to build a pond, but really the only sort of outlay you'd have to make for organic gardening would be the actual seeds themselves.
Do organic vegetable growers use human manure as fertiliser?
No. Under organic farming standards, human manure is not allowed. But obviously, as a gardener, you could use human manure because you're really allowed to do what you want because there's no one checking it but under organic farm standards, human manure is not allowed.