Gardening is not an exact science and nature is certainly not organized. Forests do not grow with neat rows of trees spaced at exact distances, lined with bushes and shrubs and colorful patches of wildflowers. However, without human interruption, Mother Nature shapes the landscape in a way where everything-plant, insect and animal-has a purpose. That is why successful organic gardening requires few, yet very important rules:
Start with the soil and add local, organic matter (e.g. compost, grass clippings, plant waste)
Choose plants and grass native to the area
Understand pests, since some may be predators but many others can be beneficial “pests.”
When you garden organically, you think of your plants as part of a whole system within nature that starts in the soil and includes the water supply, people, wildlife and even insects. And when you do need help, search for information from gardeners, like the writers in this section, who year after year work to make their own patches of land beautiful for themselves and Mother Nature.