Organic gardening uses natural ways of fertilizing the soil by adding various kinds compost and soil amendments. At Milagro, we make our own compost using horse manure, fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps and dry material such as leaves or dried plant matter. The compost is created by putting up a barrier of straw bales and then adding the materials in layers in certain proportions, then watering it and covering it to keep the moisture in. Worms and other insects and microorganisms help break down the components into a rich, dark material that feeds the gardens. This process takes some time – about a year or so, but it works well in dry climates with a very small amount of tending.
Building the soil helps to keep plants healthy and resist insects. We don’t use chemical pesticides or herbicides and for the most part, we don’t have to. Occasionally, we have to remove a tomato worm or two, but because we don’t use pesticides, we find that we have more beneficial insects that control insects on the plants. And of course, not using pesticides helps keep bees and other pollinators healthy.