Published on May 18th, 2013 | by Chris Keenan
How to Start an Organic Garden
As more attention is placed on how our store bought fruits and vegetables are grown and harvested and the tremendous amount of pesticides used in conventional farming practices, organic and pesticide free produce is becoming more popular. With just a little bit of space and some soil, you can grow your own organic fruits and veggies right from the comfort of your own home – pesticide and chemical free. Here is what you need to know to get started.
The best way to start an organic garden is by beginning with good soil. Get the dirt in a potential garden plot tested for pH balance, nutrients, and chemicals that may already be in the soil. There are at home kits which can be used to test all of these things in the soil, available at your local garden supply store. After testing, gardeners must amend the soil with what is missing in order to give the growing plants the nutrients they need. Forget about Miracle-Gro; this can be done naturally with compost, grass and leaf clippings, and even by adding in worms to help break down the compost into good dirt. Earthworms also have the added benefit of not only helping the soil but as a form of natural pest control by protecting the garden from slugs.
When starting an organic garden, it’s important to choose your plants carefully. It is often easier to grow plants from seeds to ensure that they have been started without any chemicals. Choose only plants that are best suited for the temperate zone and location in the garden. Some plants do grow really well when in an organic garden and produce lots of produce. Indeterminate Tomatoes are great because they keep growing and producing fruit until the winter frost. Zucchini, non-hybrid pole beans, Swiss Chard, Snow Peas, and Sugar snaps are also high producers.
When planting the garden, create wide rows between the plants to help promote air circulation. This cuts down on fungal growth. Try to water plants in the morning to prevent evaporation, while giving the ground enough time to dry out before nightfall when plants can become damaged by growing fungus and bacteria. After plants are established, water them once a week with about an inch of water. Gardeners need to get down on their knees and remove weeds from around their plants on a regular basis. Grass clippings, straw, and wood chips can all be used as mulch around the base of the plants to keep weed growth down.
With loads of care and attention, gardeners will soon have the best tasting organic produce anywhere. Be sure to start picking during the peak growing season to keep fruits and veggies from rotting on the vine. This also encourages further growth of produce too. Check the garden daily to see what has come in.