|Words and Terms
• Organic. Anything that is or was ever alive. Organic gardening is a way of thinking and acting with purpose to grow beautiful, delicious plants for a lifetime.
• Inorganic. Everything else.
• Pragmatic. Organic gardening fits into every garden, even if tempered at times.
• Sustainable. Replaceable within a reasonable time frame, cultivatable by humans.
• Soil Food Web. Unique dynamic that results when plant roots encounter soil.
• Organic Matter. Here, plant residues at any stage of decomposition including
• Compost. The most versatile and useful organic matter, especially when it is home made.
• Compost Spectrum Summary
o Fresh cut green or brown plant debris such as leaves and grass clippings
o Leaf mold and Mulch – dark materials but recognizable parts
o Compost happens – dark brown pieces of unidentifiable plant matter
Challenges to Organic Gardening in the South
• Fact: We live where the ground never freezes and the bugs don’t die.
• Perceptions: Traditions, Familiarity, and Stereotypes
• Realities: strength in numbers, more and better products
• Site and Microclimate: sunny, shady, wet, dry and your nooks and crannies
• Soil that drains, Water that works, Attitude of action
GMama’s Mix: Start with 1 big bag bark-based or peat-based potting soil/planting mix.
o Dump all of it into a wheelbarrow & use the empty bag to measure:
o ½ bag ground bark or leaf mold, ½ bag compost (yours or store bought)
o ½ bag manure if pots will be outdoors all year, and ¼ bag coarse sand.
o Add 1 cup each granular fertilizer and garden lime. Tailor as needed
• Smart Plants, Good Timing, and Tolerance: learn from history and current science
Pest Control Strategies
• Integrated Pest Management (IPM): identify and observe, then control consciously
• Truth and Consequences. Organic pesticides are lethal, too, with effects on soil food web and beneficial insects. Slower, less residual, may require repetition or a 1-2 punch
• Physical Controls and Strategies
o Exclusion, traps, and oil sprays
o Rotation and Succession: Prevent overworked soil and confuse pests
o Green Manure Crops: Prevent weeds, add nitrogen, use up old seeds
o Solarization: 6mil clear plastic + 6 weeks @80F = weed control
o Stomp and Squish: Never forget to laugh!