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Basic principles of organic gardening

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Bobolink (Dolichonyx orizyvorus)
Photo: Raymond Belhumeur

These recommendations apply to all garden themes in the My Space for Life Garden program.

Choose the right location for the right plant

During your preparations, consider the characteristics of your garden and plants. A plant that needs shade and moist soil will be more vulnerable to disease and pests if you plant it in full sun in dry soil.
Consider the amount of sunlight, soil characteristics of the site, the hardiness zone of your area and the space that plants will require when they reach maturity. Favour plants that are more resistant to pests, disease and drought. They will require less maintenance.

Ensure good water management

Water plants thoroughly, as needed (avoid superficial and frequent watering). It is preferable to water in the morning or, failing that, in the early evening. Always respect the municipal by-laws on water use.  Direct the water toward the soil rather than toward plant foliage, to prevent the development of fungal diseases (fungi). Have you thought of setting up barrels to collect rainwater?

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Covering the soil

Mulch creates a protective layer that keeps soil moist for longer. It offers better protection from extreme weather and limits the growth of unwanted plants. Opt for organic mulches, which enrich the soil as they decompose. Avoid decorative rocks, as well as fabrics and geotextiles, as they interfere with soil and air gas exchange.

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Proper lawn maintenance

It is best to mow high and often, and to leave clippings on the lawn.

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Limiting light pollution

Turn off garden lights at night. Avoid skyward lighting, as it can cause changes in the behaviour of birds, insects and other animals.

If necessary, install motion sensors or timers that will turn lights on only as required.

Be tolerant

Your garden will attract a multitude of unexpected guests, including birds, insects and plants. Learn to tolerate these new residents, who contribute to the biodiversity of the environment and can be beneficial. However, should you have problems with disease, pests or weeds, deal with them using cultural, physical, mechanical and/or biological means. Use low-impact pesticides as a last resort.

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