Have you been trying to have organic food? Are you aiming to eat healthy? In order to decrease the amount of pesticides that you consume with your family and to take part in protecting the environment, let us show you what it takes to start organic gardening. You do know that attempting to buy organic food can be very expensive, therefore do not worry anymore because there is a way for you to grow your own fresh organic food and have fun while you are at it!
If you are unsure where to start from, it is possible to hire someone to help you with installation and maintaining a gorgeous organic garden for you, but we are certain that most of us can get this done on our own with low effort. You can always start with small steps, with a plant or two.
By organic gardening, that means you will not be needing any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides but that does not mean that your plants will be defending themselves. There are some tools you could use to boost your plant’s health and keep away the pests.
Let us start!
Your first step for a good start would be getting the tools you need for the task and believe us when we say you do not have to worry about the price! What you need is Clippers, a trowel set, Soil, Compost bin, breathable garden gloves and a watering can.
Preparing the soil
For you to achieve the best result with your organic garden, you need to make sure that the soil used is well conditioned. In other words, plants need to eat just like we do, and that is why you need to make sure your veggies get enough nutrients. Using a healthy soil will help you build a tough productive plant. Avoid chemical treatments since they would harm the beneficial bacteria found in the soil. Make sure you get your soil tested to ensure its quality. You can test it yourself at home and the best time to test is during the fall season and you need to apply any organic nutrients before winter arrives. If you do not have enough time for testing, then do make sure the soil you are using has enough of humus. You would need to mix leaf and grass clippings with manure which should be composted unless you will not be harvesting or planting for 2 months after the application is done. Do get your manure from local livestock that is organically raised.
Achieving a good compost
By using the best compost, you form the correct ratio of nitrogen and carbon-rich organic waste, all mixed with soil, water, and air. A slightly tended pile will also be alright.
- Measure out the space at least 3 feet square.
- Put alternating layers of carbon, leaves and garden trimmings with nitrogen material. (such as kitchen scraps and manure and a thin layer of soil between them)
- Finish it by adding 4-6 inches of soil on top.
- A well-maintained compost should not reek of bad smell. If that happens, add more carbon material such as leaves or sawdust and it more.
The right plants
Make sure you choose plants that will adjust properly in terms of light, moisture, soil quality, and drainage. Keeping your plants happy will make them more resistant to pests and other attackers.
If you are buying seeds, find plants that can be raised without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Get stocky seedlings and root systems. Plenty are grown from seeds such as coriander, sweet peas, and cucumbers.
Vegetables and flowers that you would be harvesting should be grouped tightly in beds you will not be walking on. Beds that are raised work amazingly. When grouping, you avoid weeding and waste of water. You will also be repelling fungal attacks by properly spacing between rows.
The winners of organic produce with limited space and time are:
- Pole beans
- Swiss chard
- Sugar snaps
It is best to water your plants during morning hours because that is when it is cool with less winds, therefore, the amount of water loss is reduced. Watering in the evening will keep the plants damp overnight and that will most likely have them damaged by fungal and bacterial diseases.
Start by watering the roots, not the greenery which can be easily damaged. Carefully water the base of plants by using your hand. For established plants, you want to water them infrequently by a total of about 1 inch of water per week, and that includes the rain. Once or twice a week supports deeper rooting and encourages it. Use water that is close to air temperature; using collected rainwater is the best.
You will always get weeds and taking them out by hand will be a hard work, therefore, you need to use mulch to reduce the amount of weeds such as wood chips or straws. Clipping should be used only on plants that need a lot of nutrients such as lettuce.
Protection without pesticides
First thing you need to make sure your plants are getting enough light, nutrients, and moisture. Fostering natural predators will help you out a lot. Frogs, toads, and birds for example. Beneficial insects can be your best friends, such as ladybugs. Leave a small source of water to attract friendly predators. You can attract them by also planting small blossoms such as sweet alyssum. Using nets and row covers can also work.
Keep in mind that the more you harvest, the more your plants will be producing for you. Make sure you harvest them!
It is best to check your garden every day during peak harvest season. You have any herbs? Using them fresh means you need to make sure you are picking them right before you need to use them. Unless you want to dry and store them then you should wait till right before they start to flower because by then, they will contain the most flavor. Aim to collect the herbs mid-morning except for basil which needs to be harvested shortly after the dew has dried. So, harvest the basil around late afternoon, since basil lasts longer when it has spent some time under the sun.
Leafy greens needs to be picked from the entire crop, pick a little from each plant. You need to wait until the central head is as large as the it will get when you want to harvest broccoli for example. Chop it off right above the leaf node and you will most likely get even better production from the rest of the plants. Basically, keep in mind that it is best to cut with a sharp knife or scissors than to rip with your fingers which might cause more damage to the plants’ tissue. Also, do remember that you can freeze and store some types or go all the way to using cans.
The clean up!
If you pass by a sick plant during the season or by the of the year, you have to make sure that you take up the entire organism. Diseased leaves will tend to harbor more problems for a longer period, so you need to rake up underneath. Place all the bad ones somewhere deep in the ground, about a foot deep at least, or on the bonfire.
A lot of healthy or expired plants can be kept in place during winter. Doing so, will provide food for birds and other wildlife. You can protect your soil from eroding using plant cover. Make sure to cut off annuals instead of yanking them out. Doing that will keep your soil intact and will surely help you prevent the weeds from taking over.