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Sustainable Living through Organic Gardening

Sustainable Living through Organic Gardening

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Sustainable Living through Organic Gardening

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  1. Sustainable Living through Organic Gardening Rebecca Hunt Sunnyslope Ranch

  2. What does Sustainable Mean? • Satisfy human food and fiber needs. • Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agriculture economy depends. • Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls. • Sustain the economic viability of farm operations. • Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

  3. Defining Organic Gardening • Improve soil health and fertility • Decrease erosion • Reduce pests and diseases • Encourage plant and animal diversity

  4. Why Garden Organically? • Provide Family with Safe, Wholesome Food in a Least-Toxic Environment • Be a Locavore and Increase Nutrients in Foods • Helping Pollinators • Minimizing Water Contamination

  5. Keys to a Successful Organic Garden – The Four P’s • Planning • Proper Starting Materials • Proactive Gardening • Pursuit of Knowledge

  6. Planning • Start small – avoid gardener burnout • Make it convenient & inviting • Put the garden in full sun • Choose a well-drained spot

  7. Planning • Grow a mix of crops • Grow what you will eat • Share the work, share the wealth • Create a neighborhood CSA program

  8. Proper Starting Material • Seeds & Seedlings • Look for organic seedlings • Start with organic seeds • Seeds of Change • www.seedsofchange.com • Peaceful Valley • www.groworganic.com • High Mowing Seeds • www.highmowingseeds.com

  9. Proper Starting Material Know Your Soil • pH & Nutrients Levels • www.groworganic.com • Organic Matter • Green Manure & Cover crops • Compost

  10. Compost • Feeds Microorganisms & Other Soil Life • Decreases Harmful Disease Organisms • Improves Soil Structure • Increases Reserve of Soil Nutrients • Buy or Make Your Own

  11. Proactive Gardening • Fertilizers • Pest Management • Disease Management • Weeds

  12. Proactive Gardening: Organic Fertilizers • Nutrients are contained in complex molecules that won’t leach away with the first rain/watering • Less likely to burn the young roots of seedlings • Enhance overall soil health • Fish Emulsion & Compost Tea are common organic fertilizers

  13. Proactive Gardening: Integrated Pest Management • Start with pest-resistant plants • Make your garden less inviting to pests • Put the right plant in the right place • Confuse pests with mixed plantings • Rotate crops • Don’t over fertilize • Clean up debris • Invite beneficials

  14. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) • Identify the pest • Is it a pest • Is it a disease • Is it something else – over watering, too much fertilizer • Establish Threshold. If you kill all, your beneficials will leave

  15. IPM: Choose a Control Method • Physical controls • Biological controls • Beneficial controls • Other controls

  16. Physical Controls • Barriers – fences, nets, collars • Handpicking • Vacuuming • Hosing Off • Repellents • Scare Tactics • Trapping

  17. Biological Controls • Bt – Bacillus thuringiensis – infects & kills many insect pests • Milky spore – control Japanese beetles & other closely related beetles • Spinosad – effective control for caterpillars, beetles, leaf miners, trips, fire ants

  18. Beneficial Controls • Most common – Lady Beetles, Lacewings, Praying Mantis, Wasps • Wait to release until you see enough of their favorite prey • Attract them – goldenrod, plants from the parsley & sunflower families • Avoid broad spectrum insecticides

  19. Other Controls • Insects breathe through pores in the cuticle that surrounds their bodies. If you plug up the pores, the insects suffocate and die. • Insecticidal soap – can be toxic to seedlings, works on soft bodied pests • Horticultural oil • Dormant oil – used in late winter/early spring. Suffocates overwintering insects • Summer oil – sprayed during growing season

  20. Potential Pest Solutions

  21. Integrated Pest Management • Physical – can you pick it off, hose it off, trap • Beneficials – can you release ladybugs or lacewings • Biological/Others – spray carefully

  22. IPM: Aphids • Blast with Water • Beneficials: Lady Bugs or Lacewings • Spray with insecticidal soap (commercial product or try 1 tablespoon liquid soap per quart of water)

  23. IPM: Snails & Slugs • Set traps, pick them off • Kill with a 50/50 mixture of ammonia & water • Shallow pan of beer • Copper strips strategically placed

  24. IPM: White Flies • Encourage beneficials • Spray with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil

  25. Proactive Gardening:Disease Management • Make wise plant selections – look for disease-resistant varieties • Keep plants dry • Space & prune plants to provide good air circulation • Water the soil, not the plant • Avoid working with wet plants

  26. Proactive Gardening:Disease Management • Avoid excess nitrogen fertilizer • Keep your yard, tools & shoes clean • Practice crop rotation • Control insects

  27. Disease-Control Products • Botanical sprays (citric acid/mint oil) • Potassium bicarbonate • Fungal fungicides • Bacterial fungicides • Neem oil • Sulfur

  28. Mildew • Powdery mildew: appears during, warm, humid weather and cool nights, especially when the soil is dry • Downy mildew: attacks during cool, wet weather

  29. Mildew • Remove infected plant debris • Avoid getting leaves wet • Use potassium bicarbonate, superfine horticultural oil, or neem oil to treat • Last resort: copper and sulfur based fungicides

  30. Proactive Gardening: Weeds • Mulch • Cover Crops • Flaming • Pulling & Cultivating • Herbicides

  31. Mulch • Mulch: 2” to 4” • Decomposing mulches: tree bark, shredded leaves/pine needles, straw, shredded newspaper • Non-decomposing mulches: gravel, stone, landscape fabrics, mulch mats

  32. Cover Crops • Alfalfa, clover, grasses, buckwheat • Ways to use cover crops • New garden preparation • Between gardening seasons • During gardening season (white clover in orchards or in the aisles between planting beds)

  33. Flaming • Propane-fueled flamers make quick work of weeds • Boils sap inside the weed and bursts its cells • Can be dangerous… FIRE • Doesn’t discriminate between weeds and plants • Always have water available!

  34. Pulling & Cultivating • Good old-fashioned hand pulling and hoeing • Disturb the soil as little as possible to not churn up seeds and create more weeds • Get them while they are small with fragile roots • Moistened soil helps with ease of pulling

  35. Herbicides • Pre-emergent: corn gluten meal – not approved to use in food gardens • Herbicidal soap • Research well before using • Should be absolute last resort

  36. Pursuit of Knowledge • WSDA Organic Program • agr.wa.gov/FoodAnimal/Organic/ • OMRI • www.omri.org • National Organic Program • www.ams.usda.gov/NOP • Peaceful Valley • www.groworganic.com • Book: Organic Garden for Dummies • Organic Gardening for Dummies (at Amazon.com)

  37. Thank you For a copy of this presentation visit our website at www.sunnysloperanch.com