Organic Gardening Basics – If you’re interested in growing your very own organic garden then check out the below tips. It can be quite a daunting prospect when first starting out but if you follow some simple suggestions then you’ll certainly be giving yourself a head-start.
Prepare the Soil
To get the best results from your organic garden, your soil should be properly conditioned to ensure your vegetables can grow and sustain healthy, strong and productive plants. Many people say that the key ‘ingredient’ to a good organic garden is the soil, so start here. Chemical treatments that get into the soil can find their way into the vegetables that you’re growing and also harm the bacteria and other microbes that actually benefit the soil.
Get your soil tested to get a breakdown of the soil’s nutrient and pH levels and what organic treatments are recommended for your soil type.
You can find a great pH tester for your soil here to start you off:
Make a Good Compost
Making your own compost has many benefits including the fact that its free to make! Also, you’ll find that it reduces weeds, conserves water, and turns garbage into a great organic material. The right compost ratio is a mixture of carbon-rich waste and nitrogen which is mixed with water, air, and of course the soil.
To start off, measure a space of about three feet square and add alternating layers of green material (nitrogen) i.e. kitchen scraps and manure and brown material (carbon) which includes garden trimmings and leaves. Then add a thin layer of soil in between them.
Next, cover the pile with about four to six inches of soil and turn it over with new additions to keep it moist. To keep good compost from smelling, you can add dry material such as sawdust, leaves or straw and turning over frequently.
If you’d like a bit more information about how to make good compost, then check out this book:
Choose the Right Plants!
Choose plants that are well suited to your particular micro conditions. Plants that are well-adjusted to your particular location in terms of soil quality, drainage, light, and moisture will do better and be more resistant to diseases and pests.
Buy seedlings that have been grown without any chemical additives. The best plants are grown from seeds such as cucumbers, morning glories, poppies, sweet peas, coriander, and sunflower among others. There are quite a few books about which plants to buy in our Books section and you’ll also find some great seeds for starting out in the Products->Seeds section. For a great start set of seeds, take a look at this:
Mornings are the best times to water plants because the weather is cooler without strong winds and the least amount of water is lost through evaporation. Watering in the evening can lead plants to stay damp throughout the night which makes them more likely to be damaged by bacterial and fungal diseases.
The ideal way for proper watering is to soak the roots and not the greenery as this is easily damaged. Some ideal watering systems are the use of a drip or soak which ensures the roots and watered efficiently and water is conserved.
The best way to weed is to actually pull out the weeds by hand. Okay, trying to find the positives to this it can be good exercise (but be careful of your back!) and also you get lots of fresh air because you are outside. There, most people don’t particularly enjoy it but it is part of the process and you won’t have to do it often. You can also significantly reduce the number of weeds by applying mulch over your plants as this can help to protect the soil.
Protect your Plants without Toxic Pesticides
A major cause of your precious plants being attacked by pests is that they may not be receiving sufficient moisture, nutrients, and/or light. Maintain a diverse garden to promote biodiversity and limit endangering one type of plant to common pests.
You can help by encouraging natural predators such as birds, frogs, and lizards in your garden by leaving a small water source out.
If you’d like a great starter pack to get you going with your organic garden then maybe consider this:
So, there you go – a few Organic Gardening Basics to help set you on your way. Managing your new Organic Garden is a great hobby and one that can last you a lifetime whilst being totally planet-friendly.
If you’d like to know a little more then you can’t go wrong by checking out this video from YouTube: