With a renewed focus on healthy eating and living, more people are turning to natural and traditional gardening methods in their own backyards. This essentially means gardening without the use of any artificial fertilizers or pesticides.
Organic gardening utilizes nature itself for balance by using micro-organisms, insects, and plants to maintain a healthy environment naturally. By adopting this approach you are producing healthier and more nutrient-rich vegetables, herbs and other garden plants and flowers.
It’s not difficult to start your own organic garden but it does takes a bit of planning.
Space, or the lack of it, shouldn’t stop you from growing an organic garden. For those who live in cramped spaces and don’t have the luxury of square footage to work with, pots are the perfect solution. There are a plethora of containers available in a variety of styles that can be adapted in just about any way to create your own designs in limited spaces.
Wooden containers are probably the best as they allow for better airflow. Ceramic pots are a good choice as well but must have holes to allow for draining and air circulation. You should however avoid clay pots as they are too porous, and have a tendency dry out faster.
For people who do have the ground area to work with, start your planning with research. Find the plants you would like to grow and see if they are suitably zoned for your area? When should you plant and how far should they be spaced apart? Learn which plants complement each other and will work together effectively to deter pests.
Basic garden tools remain the same for organic gardening. It’s always a good idea to purchase the best quality you can afford and maintain them religiously.
- For digging and compost turning – spade,shovel, pitchfork.
- For weeding – hoe, trowel, rake.
- For cutting and pruning – secateurs (pruning clippers), pruning saw.
- For loading and carting soils and mulches – a wheel barrel.
- For watering – several hoses and watering cans.
- If possible rain barrels strategically placed to minimize water consumption.
Going organic primarily means that there is no use of synthetic chemicals in the gardening process of any kind. It’s vital to maintain a healthy soil level in order to grow plants which are less susceptible to pest damage. The best way to achieve this is to include compost in your garden bed. Anything from dead leaves and cut grasses to kitchen wastes like coffee grounds and vegetable peelings. These are readily available and costs very little when you have your own compost station set up.
Not all insects are harmful and in organic gardening, you will need to incorporate them into your beds. Earthworms help mulch and enrich the soil continuously and Ladybugs love aphids. Again, knowledge is your best friend when you are introducing new critters to your gardens. Frogs love to eat flying insects so, if your garden is near a pond, you’re in luck.
Place a birdbath near one of your gardens. Attracting birds is a great natural defense. You can also create physical barriers, such as sheer netting which can prevent insects from getting through. You will, however need to be diligent with pest control and a bucket of soapy water will do the deed when necessary on caterpillars and other unwanted pests.
The Plants and Seeds
The type and size of your garden partly dictates the kinds of plants you should grow. You want to choose seeds that can adapt to your soil type, available sunlight, and humidity of your garden. Don’t be afraid to mix and match plant selections that grow healthy together and may actually need each other to survive. If you do chose starter plants you need to make sure they come from strictly organic sources, or you would be defeating the purpose.
You might want to start with vegetables that grow into small shrubs, like tomatoes or peppers, or root crops, like yams and potatoes. Since you are still a beginner in organic gardening, smaller plants will give you good practice.
Add A Little Garden Love
Plants much like people, do best if they are well cared for and loved. Growing your own organic garden is taking it one step further by removing the unhealthy chemicals that surround gardening and using Mother Nature to keep it simple. By going back to basics, some practical know-how and a good solid effort you are well on the way to living a healthier life by growing your gardens naturally.