Organic Gardening: Our Tips for a Healthier Garden – Naturally

Organic Gardening: Our Tips for a Healthier Garden – Naturally

Looking for eco-friendly gardening methods?

At Perth Gardening, we know the right techniques and natural treatments required to promote healthy garden growth – without relying on toxic chemicals and harmful solutions. You can still encourage growth and deter pests the natural way – and with regular maintenance, you can have a healthy organic garden that looks great while keeping your family and pets safe and healthy.

As many of us are becoming increasingly aware of the world’s ecological footprint, the demand for organic gardening is on the rise. Many gardening product manufacturers are thinking twice about what they offer as well since their market is shifting to more eco-friendly options.

After all, using organic and natural techniques for fertilising, weeding and treating your garden not only protects the Earth, but protects your family as well.

The more we learn about the negative effects of chemical pesticides and herbicides and synthetic fertilisers, the more we want to stay away from them.

That is why we try provide earth-friendly Gardening services as much as possible, from natural lawn installation to chemical-free weed control, the use of electric tools and waterwise, native planting. If you would like a gardening service that is eco-friendly from a company that is passionate about looking after our planet – we would love to help you!

From organic fertilisers to a range of organic gardening techniques, here are our tips for organic gardening.

Best Organic Weed Control Methods

Our Tips for Organic Gardening

1. Non-chemical options for weed control

We try to avoid using chemical weed control options, most of those products are bad for the environment and very toxic for the person applying them. They also can pollute our water supply by running off into waterways and being absorbed into the soil. We believe in using chemical-free preventive methods (mulching and regular garden care) that preserve the health of your garden, our waterways and the soil. In our packages, our gardeners will remove the weeds by hand to get the entire root, along with tools when needed – such as whippersnappers to cut them down and reduce growth by limiting their access to sunlight.

Mulching

Mulching is one of the top methods for natural weed control – and as an added bonus, it also helps to improve the quality and health of the soil itself, along with reducing water evaporation so it’s great for looking after our water resources (and your water bill!) as well. Learn more about the best mulch for gardens here in our blog.

Choose a good quality mulch like Pine Bark and apply it in a good thick layer, a depth of between 50-100mm, for best results. A great thickness to aim for is 75mm to really restrict weed growth. This also means that any weeds which do grow through will be easier to pull out.

Regular Weeding

Try to stay on top of any weeds that do grow so they never get a chance to go to seed! Once they do that, you are fighting a losing battle. Let’s face it, unless you pave your entire backyard, it is a living space, so there will be growth and there will be weeds. Learn the types of weeds as well so you know where to spend your energy, for example, which are perennial (regrow season after season) and which are annual (go from seed to seed in one growing season/one year).

Planting – create competition!

Weeds need all the same nutrients that plants do, so if you have empty spaces where they are thriving – try planting something there instead! Add in groundcover or native plants so it is still low-maintenance but also looks great and takes the nutrients, water and sunlight that your weeds need. Make sure to plant them thickly so there is limited space for weeds to take over.

2. Using ‘natural’ options for fertiliser

First, why do we use fertiliser? It’s to give our plants extra nutrients. One of the biggest reasons we have to use fertilisers is that our soil itself is quite depleted and of poor quality – especially here in Perth it’s sandy soils. So the most ‘natural’ fertiliser should actually start with improving the quality of the soil. There will always be things to add for an extra boost, but if the soil is rich and healthy, your plants will be too.

Improving your soil quality.

There are many ways to improve your soil and it takes work and time – but it is always worth it! Options like blood and bone or quality organic manures are a great place to start, along with adding materials that break down over time like lupin mulch. A blend of these, mixed into your soil, with a layer of clean, natural cardboard, topped with a thick layer of quality mulch, like pine bark, creates a layered, ‘green house’ effect. Give it a good soak and let it slowly work its magic, breaking down, trapping in warmth and crating its own micro-climate – eventually turning into a rich, loamy soil your plants will love!

Best natural liquid fertilisers

For a quick boost while your soil improvers work their magic, liquid fertilisers are the best way to go. Be cautious even when using natural fertiliser as often the concentration in nutrients are quite high and may leach into the waterways and pollute the soils. Our gardeners can advise on what is the best option for your garden, lawn and plants along with applying it at the right times in the right quantities for you.

Seaweed or Kelp liquid fertilisers are amazing for both plants and soil. They actually stimulate the soil itself so are the perfect complement to your soil improvement efforts.

3. Regular Garden Maintenance

One of the best ways to keep your garden healthy naturally is regular maintenance. Why?

  • Staying on top of your weeds so they don’t get a chance to seed, means that you don’t have to eventually resort to chemical weed killer as the only option to get on top of things again.
  • Making sure that your hedges and shrubs are trimmed and pruned regularly to promote healthy growth means you don’t have to resort to heavy doses of fertilisers to try and bring them back to life.
  • Regularly improving your soil by adding good quality fertiliers to build them up, regularly topping up your mulch – all these things are part of creating a healthy, resilient garden that looks beautiful… naturally.

If you would like to look after your garden in a more natural, organic way, get in touch with us to book in a service and our gardeners can provide a regular maintenance plan, advise on soil improvement, mulching and anything else they recommend to make your garden healthy and happy as organically as possible.

What’s the Best Mulch for Gardens

What’s the Best Mulch for Gardens

Whether you’re a total newbie, or a garden geek, gardening presents challenges in WA —  invasive weeds, dry climate, and sandy soil are just a few.

So, what’s the best solution?

Although a great garden takes time and skill, one simple trick can help improve the health of your plants and soil straight away. 

What is this? Mulch! 

This humble garden staple can be a game-changer. 

For inexperienced gardeners, choosing mulch can feel intimidating. 

We’re here to help with the low-down on the best mulch for gardens! 

Best Mulch for Gardens

Mulch may be the magic silver bullet that takes your garden to the next level! It can:

    • retain moisture, reduce watering
    • protect plants during heatwaves
  • counteract dry, sandy soil 
    • improve soil structure/nutrients
    • support seedlings
    • reduce soil erosion 
    • attract friendly garden guests like bees, ladybirds and spiders for pest control/pollination 
    • slow down weed growth creating a protective layer
  • recycle food/garden waste!

So, now you know why mulch is important! Now let’s choose the best mulch for you!

best mulch for gardens in perth blog

Wood Chip Mulch

Made from tree cuttings, wood chip mulch is a great “all-purpose” go-to. 

Many consider it the best mulch for shrubs and trees, particularly fruiting ones. It looks good, is easy to lay, and is economical.

Do wood chips have a downside? 

Some gardeners worry about “nitrogen drawn-down” — (wood chip mulch leaching nitrogen from the soil).

This fear is mostly based on urban myth — in fact, wood chip mulch increases soil nutrients. Minor nitrogen draw-down doesn’t affect deeply-rooted plants like fruit trees. However, avoid wood chip mulch for shallow-rooted plants like veggies. 

Woodchip mulch safety tips

Woodchip mulch can be a fire hazard in some circumstances, especially given Perth’s high temperatures. Don’t layer it too thick — 2-10cm is ideal. 

Store mulch in a cool, shady place, and check regularly to ensure it isn’t overheating.  Avoid mulching thickly around tree trunks — in bushfire season this can be hazardous. 

lawn mower on green grass lawn mowing tips

Shredded Pine Bark Mulch

This is our favourite – we think this is the best mulch!

Shredded bark mulch helps block weed shoots from sunlight, helps retain moisture, and enriches soil nutrients. Pine bark is also great for Perth gardens, it’s rusty red colour looks great, while it’s chunky cut allows water to get through to the roots, and it even helps improve the quality of the soil itself.

Bark nuggets last longer than wood chips, but their slow decomposition may attract carpenter ants so keep on top of pest control!

Tips for using shredded bark mulch

When spreading shredded bark, keep it away from tree trunks to avoid rot and rodent damage. Watch for extreme weather strong winds, rain or flooding may mean re-laying mulch. 

 

Which Mulch should you avoid? Black Mulch never gets our vote as the best mulch – some people choose it because they like the look, and it does create a great contrast, but it is very fibrous, which means it actually absorbs water, reducing the amount that will actually penetrate and get through to your plants. It also does very little to help improve the soil, and doesn’t last as long as Pine Bark.

Recycled Mulch

Recycled mulches are made from various materials, including recycled rubber or timber. They can lower your garden’s carbon footprint, so may be the best mulch for eco-conscious gardeners. 

Pallet/timber mulch is long-lasting, retains moisture, and is usually eco-friendly.  However, check how contamination is managed — it may be tainted by chemicals or toxins. 

Rubber mulch repels pests, insects and weeds, and provides a ‘soft fall’ in play areas. It is long-lasting, won’t decompose and reduces mould/fungal growth.  

Safety tip: some rubber mulch releases chemicals in hot weather. Look for a non-toxic brand. 

Hay Mulch

Hay mulch is a well-kept secret we’re letting you in on… 

Hay is grass cut while still green — it contains lots of moisture. 

Many believe it’s the best mulch for flower and veggie gardens — it blocks weeds, and delivers nutrients to the soil as it composts. 

This is especially good for seedlings. 

How to use hay as mulch 

Buy quality hay to minimise weeds. Ideally, spread hay approximately 20cm deep.

Lucerne hay 

Lucerne hay is probably the best mulch for gardens with roses, fruit trees and vegetables. It provides extra nitrogen when decomposing. 

Straw Mulch

Straw mulch is lighter than hay, so weeds come through more easily, but takes longer to decompose and looks better than hay.

Try combining hay and straw. Start with a deep layer of hay to retain moisture and provide nutrients. Top with a light layer of straw. 

Leaf Mulch and Compost

Leaves can be a fantastic addition to other mulch. 

You can shred dry leaves with your lawnmower and spread them on top of gardens,  add leaves to compost or dig them into soil. 

Grass Cuttings 

Using grass cuttings as mulch is simple — after mowing, spread clippings across garden beds, then wait! 

Grass mulch cools the root zone, conserves moisture, and restores nutrients, especially nitrogen.  

Grass clippings can also be spread on your lawn to keep it healthy. 

Rock and Gravel Mulch

We don’t normally think of rocks or gravel as mulch — but they can be! 

Rocks and gravel:

  • prevent excess drainage and erosion
  • block weeds
  • create a classy look
  • last (almost) forever.

They:

  • cost less than organic mulches and
  • unlike organic mulch, will not attract insect pests.

Note: rock/gravel mulch will not enrich soil, is difficult to remove once installed, and harder to put new plants in. 

How to use rock and gravel mulch

Rocks and gravel suit decorative formal gardens as they don’t decompose. They are often used where plants are permanently established

Leave roughly a 5cm gap around the base of plants/trees. 

To combine with other mulch, lay organic mulch first, then top with rocks!

BONUS MULCH TIPS: 

Weed Mat

Weedmat isn’t technically mulch, but helps protect your garden from weeds and to retain moisture. 

Ideal for fruit and veggie gardens, it can protect crops on vines like melons and pumpkins from decay.

For best results, place the weed mat between soil and mulch. 

Compost

Compost is also important, but unlike mulch is dug into the soil to provide nutrients and hydration. 

Compost can be made from:

  • fruit/vegetable scraps
  • coffee grounds
  • eggshells 
  • grass/plant clippings
  • leaves 
  • chipped wood/bark  
  • shredded paper
  • straw
  • clean sawdust.

Ingredients are put in a compost tumbler, garbage bag or heap, to decompose.  Water, ‘compost starter’ and regular turning all help the process. 

The best compost is around three parts “dry”, and one part “wet”. If it’s too dry, add water, or wet ingredients like fresh grass. If too wet, add dry materials like newspaper or straw.

Health & Safety Tips When Handling Mulch or Compost

Wear a mask and gloves when handling organic/recycled mulch/potting mix, particularly for those with chronic health conditions. They can contain Legionella bacteria, fungal spores or toxins that may be dangerous if they are disturbed and become airborne. 

Other safety precautions include storing potting mix and mulch where it’s cool, and washing hands thoroughly after use. To avoid inhaling particles, open bags carefully and keep mulch/compost damp.

 

mulching services in perth garden mulch supply and installation

Still not sure what is the best mulch is for your garden? Ask the experts at PGE!

Choosing the best mulch for your garden can be tricky, particularly for the inexperienced gardener. Climate, environment, plant species and soil can all influence choices, and balancing these factors can be confusing. Don’t worry though, we can help!

For advice on garden mulching from the experts, contact us at PGE — we can help with anything from a one-off garden clean-up to regular maintenance to keep your garden looking great. Contact us online or call (08) 6263 4645 to find out more!

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They help preserve biodiversity because, without native plants, the wildlife, local birds, and insects that have evolved with them can’t survive.

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Propagating Roses From Cuttings

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About Rose Cuttings

Cuttings come from the stem and may be taken at various points in a plant’s life. Roses are more forgiving than some plants. Rooting hormones may be used to stimulate development.

Planting Preparations

The softwood cuttings must be planted as soon as possible. This means that the spots should be prepared in advance. They can be placed at the outdoor garden or in deep trays. Be sure to avoid direct light to avoid excessive heat. However, the spot should still be bright enough during the day. The north and east sides of the house are good options. The soil should be cultivated up to 6 inches deep. Add sand to help the roots penetrate with ease. For planting in trays, use a soil mix consisting of vermiculite and coarse sand in equal measure. Add plenty of water.

How to Get the Cuttings

Understand that there are no specific calendar dates for this activity. Everything depends on the weather, geographic area, and plant readiness. Start by gathering the tools needed such as a sharp knife, a small dish, a stick, and some warm water. Get the cuttings early in the morning from the healthy plants.

Find stems located between a woody base and a withered bloom. This portion can be turned into a few cuttings. Slice in a 45-degree angle and place it in the water at once. Moisture is essential. A stem may be divided into several 6-inch cuttings. Take out all leaves save for a set on the top. Dip their bottoms into the rooting hormone.

Take your stick and create holes on your rooting bed. A pencil will do just as well. Every hole must be around 4 inches deep and wide enough that the cuttings can be inserted without removing the hormone. The bottom half and two nodes must be covered by the soil. Ensure that the base surrounding them is firm.

Caring for the Fresh Cuttings

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Perth Gardening – Garden Proud

Make your own garden healthy and beautiful by professional gardeners

Can we help?

If you want the professionals to create your own beautiful rose garden, contact our team at Perth Gardening today. Our skilled employees have the knowledge and experience to create top quality work with top-notch customer service. We will help you create a garden that fits your space and your personal taste, reflecting your needs to ensure you will get the most enjoyment possible from your outdoor space.

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