A garden is relevant in meeting household food needs but it is more so when healthy gardening practices are adopted. Establishing a garden needs to be done in ways that will not impact severely on environment as that can be threatening to overall food production. At first sight, a garden may seem healthy till it is discovered that it is not, due to excessive application of chemical fertilizers to generate high, quick yield. It should be remembered that gardens need more than quick fixes to achieve good health in a long term. Sustainable garden refers to a practice of farming with intention to generate environmental soundness, economic viability, and socially acceptable food production. A healthy garden refers to a garden where there is no use of synthetic fertilizers much like pesticides.
One key idea to maintaining a healthy garden is diversity that involves growing various types of plants at different period on a given piece of land. This ensures that unexpected heavy rains or warm seasons do make you lose all of it. At least some will continue to survive after such sudden incidence. If your garden is large with many flowers surrounding food crops, then it will become a habitat for a diverse range of animals from insects, birds, frogs, fauna and flora. Such diversity guarantees a healthy interaction between plants and animals which is a sign of a healthy garden.
For crops to grow strongly, they need soils rich in nutrients but good output requires that there exists an effective soil food web which has required quantity of bacteria, fungi, worms, among others. You need to apply more organic matter such as animal droppings, compost, biochar and mulch to create a conducive environment for soil organisms to thrive.
In a worst case that you must apply any type of fertilizer, you should be aware that too much of it could destroy root, making it difficult for easy water absorption. Consequently, the crops become vulnerable to conditions such as drought, heat, and cold. They are also likely to be affected by diseases such as leaf spots. The main point is to prevent overapplication of any specific nutrient to minimize stress on the crops. Acquiring a soil test kit from farm input dealers will allow you to accurately measure the quantity different nutrients in the soil. Failure to do this will make you feed your soil excessively with one nutrient and inadequately with another.
Varying climatic conditions pose threats to survival of some crops by making them wither or exposing them to pest especially when there is poor rainfall. Usually, you can turn this around by growing plants in pots allowing you to easily move them, if need be, to conditions that are vital for plant growth. The trick to have best gardening results is that they must be given required climatic conditions including soils that contain correct pH in range of 6.0 to 7.5. This is preferable soil pH and you need to acquire simple, inexpensive kits for testing your soil, applying needed organic materials, if necessary.
Disease-resistant varieties refer to those that do not succumb but fight off diseases when attacked. For example, vegetables classified as fungi resistant will not be kill by fungi when attacked. With the assistance of colleague gardeners, you can buy any of these disease resistant varieties for any of them you are interested in. There are other recommended books that could be of help in your search for varieties resistant to specific ones.
Instead of applying chemical fertilizers to soil, it is better to recycle green materials such weeds together with leftover plant stalk after harvest back into the soil. Just spread them all over the garden instead of gathering, drying and burning them as green waste. You could also gather fallen leaves, kitchen waste together with dead wood into compost since it supplies nutrients as well as microorganisms including bacteria, protozoa into soil. Compost contributes to decomposition as well as production of nutrients needed for effective plant growth.
Interestingly, it should be noted that there are variations at the rate at which the materials used in a compost decompose. Some materials degrade quite easily whiles others do not. Meanwhile, its production creates significant temperatures for a long time, this kills likely remains of pathogens in those materials. Unfortunately, any infested plant debris that has not effectively go through the process will reintroduce likely diseases into your garden. You have to ensure that the its preparation is done as expected other do not use it as mulch. For debris that are infected, desist from including them in your pile of waste for making compost.
It is common to have diseases in your garden caused by infestations by some microorganisms such as fungi. Rather than doing fungal spraying, deal with these diseases by appropriately spacing out vegetables and pruning fruit trees to permit easy airflow. Remember to prune branches dangling on the ground to minimize fungal spores from getting transmitted from soil to plants. Doing this alongside mulching reduces risk of plants getting infested. Be certain to frequently spray water at bottom of plant instead of on leaves as this coupled with crop rotation significantly control disease infections.
Trimming, however, needs to be done at the later part of winter which is better than doing so spring as this avoids disease infection from rising. It is useful to always employ sharp tools to cleanly cut the branches not to hurt them.
Though pests worry maintenance of healthy gardens, make sure not to even apply organic sprays unless there are no available options. Where needed, use those sprays on only pests but more importantly, familiarize yourself with type of insects in your garden to know which are harmful with intent to eradicate them. It is good to create a few wild areas in your garden to be habitats for useful insects such as native bees. This is necessary as studies found that native bees unlike honeybees prefer shelter in calm places to create their burrowing nets. In all these, you need to get a good insight into difference between pests and other microorganisms since that is always confused.