Natural plant care is synonymous with organic plant care. Gardening methods of this type include use of organic compost to build good soil, companion planting and beneficial insects to help control harmful pests, and organic mulch as fertilizer. No chemical sprays are used to control weeds or disease. Natural plant care is easy to practice in the home garden and less expensive over time than using inorganic chemical compounds.
Natural plant care is a method of creating a balanced atmosphere that helps grow healthy plants. Healthy conditions for plant growth are nutrient-rich soil, adequate water, control of pests and good air circulation. Natural plant care follows the general guidelines of organic gardening. Organic gardening techniques concentrate on creating healthy soil first and then a chemical-free growing environment. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture sets standards for organic gardening products.
Plants that are grown using natural care methods are less susceptible to disease. Use of inorganic fertilizers (chemical) depletes the soil over time and weakens plants. Organic fertilizer (compost) adds living organisms to the soil, which creates healthy plant growth. Plants develop a natural resistance to harmful insects if they are healthy. Natural plant care is less expensive and requires less time, according to Seattle's Natural Yard Care program.
Natural plant care involves attention to healthy garden soil. A teaspoon of healthy soil contains about 4 billion living organisms. Natural plant care considers the wildlife that inhabits a garden. Wildlife helps protect plants in the garden. Attract beneficial insects and birds by including plants that are native to the local climate area. Beneficial insects include ladybugs, praying mantis and lacewing. Beneficial insects are available at garden centers or by mail order. Natural plant care also involves companion planting to help control harmful insects.
Gardening practices that are organic and natural are sustainable, reduce pollution, reduce pesticide-related health problems and reduce reliance on petroleum-based products. Natural plant care saves money on water, waste disposal and chemicals. Wildlife and ocean life are protected by natural plant care. Harmful chemical run-off into streams, rivers and drinking water is reduced. Food grown with natural care methods is more nutritious.
Natural plant care creates a healthier environment for families. Fewer pollutants in the garden air create fewer health problems for children, pets and elders. Recycling kitchen and yard waste products to create compost is free. According to a 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, organic plants are rich in minerals and higher in vitamin C.