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Organic Gardening

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Organic Gardening and Tough Fruit Trees

There are two basic philosophies when it comes to gardeners on the subject of how to deal with bugs in the garden. There's the "I don't use anything but pure spring water blessed by virgins on my fruit trees" and there's "Let's nuke `em so nobody will have any bugs or children for years to come."

I think we need to find some middle ground. Surely we've all awakened to the fact that pouring chemicals on what we eat is just a bad idea. But the reality is bugs like fruit too, and we have to fight them for it.

So what are we to do? I think it starts with the health of the trees. It's a basic fact that healthy trees attract fewer bugs and can better fend off disease.

It really pays to start with your soil. Get a pH test and adjust your soil accordingly. Manure and mulch your trees frequently and don't starve them for water or fertilizer. Water them for fruit load and don't be greedy: thin the fruit so that the tree isn't stressed.

Be sure to use fertilizer designed to feed your particular plant. After all, blueberries like different fertilizer than apples! If you aren't sure how to care for your fruit, download our instructions for different types of fruit by clicking here.

If you're interested in making your own compost, check out this link: Guide to Composting.
Learn how to make compost, and why improving your soil is the best thing that you can do for your garden.

If you get an outbreak of fungus or bugs, remove the diseased leaves and lightly spray the trees with a mild insecticide or fungicide. Our best recommendation remains: Rely first on good health and spray only when needed. Wherever possible, choose targeted, preferably organic, pesticides and fungicides. As with any product, read and follow label directions for application, including checking if the product is approved for use on a particular plant.

And, although it is an uncomfortable truth, some fruit trees are just harder to grow organically than others. Want an organic blueberry? It's not hard. Want an organic peach? Prepare for some serious maintenance and eternal vigilance. If you want an orchard that requires little care, think about choosing from the list of tough trees below. They are easy to grow organically and will reward even the lazy gardener.

Tough Trees for Organic Gardeners or Just Great Trees for Lazy Farmers

This group leads the pack in easy to care for fruit trees. Most rarely need spraying and can tolerate a wide range of abuse like drought, lousy soils, lawnmower blight, chainsaw massacre and other hazards of gardening.

  • American Chestnut
  • Black Walnut
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Elderberry
  • Ginko
  • Goumi
  • Japanese Raisin Tree
  • Jujuba
  • Loquat
  • Mandarin Melon Berry
  • Mulberry
  • Muscadine Grape
  • Olive
  • Pawpaw
  • Pear
  • Pecan
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple Guava
  • Pomegranate
  • Walnut

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