How to - Organic Gardening

14 earth-friendly gardening techniques

Green your garden with these easy tips


  • Stabilize soil structure with reliably cold-hardy plants that will remain in place for years.
  • Select disease- and insect-resistant varieties to reduce reliance on pesticides.
  • Avoid deeply tilling the soil, which displaces beneficial organisms.
  • Add a five- to eight-centimetre layer of shredded bark over tree and shrub roots to conserve moisture and insulate them from excessive heat.


  • Feed plants with trace minerals by making compost from disease-free garden leaves and vegetable kitchen waste.
  • Fertilize with nutrients from natural sources such as blood, bone and kelp meals, alfalfa pellets and fish emulsion.
  • Add organic material (leaves, peat moss, pine needles) to the soil to improve texture and help retain oxygen and moisture.
  • Enhance nutrient take-up with Epsom salts: 1 cup (250 mL) per nine square metres raked into soil in spring.
  • Use commercial organic fertilizers with low formulations, below 15 (e.g., 5-10-5), to prevent root burn and excessive soil salts. 

  • Irrigate in early morning (especially roses and other plants prone to fungal diseases) or water at night to keep evaporation to a minimum.
  • Replace water-wasting fine mist and overhead sprinklers with soaker hoses.
  • Cover exposed soil with five centimetres of organic mulch (leaves or shredded bark) to conserve moisture.
  • Water lawns thoroughly once or twice weekly instead of a brief, daily irrigation, so moisture absorbs deeply into soil, promoting healthy root growth.
  • Choose drought-resistant plants that can withstand summer heat.

Read more in How to and Organic Gardening

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