Tatnam Organic Patch

Organic Gardening Principles

Adapted from www.GardenOrganic.org.uk

Soil care

Best TOP Practice

work with soil condition – neutral to acid

Keep the soil covered with growing plants, or organic mulch

Dig only when necessary on the vegetable beds

-not on heavy clay, so no need to let the frost “break up” the soil

Acceptable Practice

Cover the soil with black plastic

Not acceptable

Cover the soil with carpet (chemicals, and grow-through)

Cardboard mulch


Best TOP Practice

Anything that has lived on TOP should be recycled there.

Acceptable Practice

Compost all TOPS plant waste, segregating bindweed and Woody Prunings




Not acceptable

Unshredded Woody waste

Woody Compost bin


Digging back into soil


Bramble Compost bin


Digging in, or taking off site

Persistent Perennial, bindweed, marestail

Segregated composting method

Compost bins


In Autumn, dig in less than 1 foot deep. In Spring add to heaps

Deciduous Stack in Leaf Compost bin.

Burn Evergreen leaves

Taking off site

Not acceptable

Taking growing waste off-site, or burying it.


Best TOP Practice

Minimise fertiliser input

Comfrey as a mulch

Wood ash onto compost heap or brassica beds

Acceptable Practice

Manures and bedding from vegetarian livestock

Comfrey as a liquid fertiliser, and accelerator for compost

Ground Limestone


Blood fish and bone, for nitrogen hungry crops, and compost

Not acceptable

Wood shaving sawdust, manure from unknown sources

Seeds & Plants

Best TOP Practice

Collecting local home saved seed

Seeds, Tubers, sets and bulbs with an accredited organic Symbol

Acceptable Practice

Seed from food that you’ve enjoyed

Seeds, Tubers, sets and bulbs without organic accreditation

Not acceptable

Genetically Modified products

Plants taken from the wild

Growing Media

Best TOP Practice

Use own compost mixed with topsoil, (ideally sterilised for cuttings and seed in the cooling oven in an old roasting tin, then left for 2 days).

Acceptable Practice

Horticultural grit, sand.

Not acceptable

Peat other than recycled, reclaimed peat.

Recycled compost from elsewhere.


Best TOP Practice

Recycled containers – tin cans, plastic bottles

Acceptable Practice

Reused plastic and ceramic pots

Not acceptable

Peat Pots

Tyres – to be confirmed

Controlling Pests and Diseases

Best TOP Practice

Natural controls (integrated pest management)

Sacrificial companion planting

(Nasturtiums amongst cabbages, Marigolds with tomatoes)

Acceptable Practice

Keeping pests off (coarse netting)

Fleece in spring to stop frost.

Manual picking, encouraging slugs & snails to eat dead leaves

Beer traps

Not acceptable

Fine netting

Any chemical controls including slug pellets

Weed Control

Best TOP Practice

Hand weeding when necessary

Acceptable Practice

Black polythene for ground clearance

Not acceptable

Chemical weedkillers of any sort

Carpet as mulch


Best TOP Practice

Water minimally from collected rainwater for transplanting, seedings and planting out

Acceptable Practice

Not acceptable

Use of grey water – from streams

Watering established plants

Wood and Timber

Best TOP Practice

Home grown or recycled wood

Acceptable Practice

Raw Linseed Oil (non-boiled)

Not acceptable

Wood from unsustainable sources

New tanalised wood

Paying members sign approval that they will abide by these rules. Guests are also expected to respect them. Any queries or uncertainty should be raised with Mark Spencer, Gary Finch or Andy Hadley v0.1 Feb 2009

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