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Berries hanging from the tree
Keen to become an organic gardener but not sure where to begin? We asked the experts from Organic Crop Protectants (OCP) for tips on how to get started.

 

1. Improve your soil

Organic gardening is all about the soil. Get that right and you’re halfway there! The first step is to add organic matter, like compost and manures, which will boost microbial activity and improve soil structure. Next, test the soil pH to check it’s not too acidic or alkaline.

Most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil of six to sevenpH. Lastly, if your soil or potting mix has become water repellent, use OCP eco-hydrate to improve water penetration and attract moisture.

Tip: When choosing products to use in your organic garden, select products with a symbol, logo or trademark that shows they are certified organic. Take it one step further and read labels carefully to see which ingredients are used, and research the company that makes the products. “Greenwashing” (companies marketing themselves or their products as environmentally friendly when they’re not) is, unfortunately, a real problem. Look for companies that walk the talk.

2. Nourish the plants

Just like us, plants get stressed and hungry, and become more vulnerable to pests and diseases. Regular applications of OCP eco-seaweed will reduce plant stress and stimulate health. It’s particularly good on newly planted plants to reduce transplant shock and stimulate root development. OCP eco-seaweed is a powdered concentrate, which is more economical than liquid seaweed products.

In addition, feed plants with OCP eco-aminogro liquid fertiliser. Made from recycled marine waste, the nutrients are rapidly taken up by plants to produce better growth, flowering and fruiting. It’s the perfect organic fertiliser for all plants, including natives.

3. Protect the plants

Pest and disease problems often have people reaching for heavy chemicals, but there are effective organic alternatives. OCP eco-oil is perfect for killing sap suckers like aphids, mites and whitefly, while OCP eco-neem will also control chewing insects like caterpillars, curlgrubs and grasshoppers.

Use OCP eco-fungicide to fix common fungal problems like powdery mildew, rust and blackspot. All are approved for use in organic gardens and are safe for beneficial insects like bees and ladybeetles.

4. Control the weeds

Weeds steal nutrients and water from our plants and often act as homes for pest insects. Hand removal is one option, but if you’re time-poor or have lots of weeds, spray with OCP Slasher organic weedkiller. It works fast, with visible results within one hour on most weeds. Best of all, it’s glyphosate-free and non-residual, so it breaks down in the soil within a few days.

Banish snails and slugs!

New to the OCP range is OCP eco-shield organic snail and slug killer. Made with iron powder, these pellets will control snails, slugs and slaters to protect your seedlings and plants. As a bonus, when the pellets break down, they provide nutrients to plants and are safe to use around vegie patches.

Note: OCP eco-neem is for use on ornamental plants; it's not suitable for edibles. Keep all garden fertilisers, insecticides and fungicides out of reach of children and pets.

Looking for more organic options?

Browse our full eco-organic garden range by Organic Crop Protectants.

 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.