Living and eating healthy, in a true sense of the word, is hard and expensive. If you are tired of spending a small fortune on organic food, yet you still wish to eat fresh and healthy fruits and veggies, then it is time to take matters into your own hands, right there in your backyard. Although organic gardening is slightly different than usual gardening, the gardening basics and techniques are the same. Still, it may all seem overwhelming if you are a novice, but trust me, it is not rocket science. Nature generously rewards even the smallest of effort, so read on to learn how to grow your own organic garden.
Choose The Perfect Area For Your Garden
Make sure your garden is in an open area where plants will be able to have at least 7 hours of sunlight a day. What makes the area perfect is not only the amount of air and sunlight but the quality of the soil as well. Planting in the ground is quite beneficial to plants, assuming that soil is rich in much-needed nutrients. To determine the soil quality, get it tested and if there is a need for applying organic nutrients, make sure to do it before winter. If ground lacks nutrients, you can always grow your food in raised beds and containers.
Learn How To Make Compost
Composting is the best way to keep soil and plants well nourished, as well as to help conserve water and to keep those weeds away. The secret to a good compost is getting the right carbon-nitrogen ratio, or in simple terms, to balance the brown and green material. Make your compost pile out in the open, or if you wish to avoid any bad smells, use compost bins. However, keep in mind that if you properly maintain a compost pile, it shouldn’t actually smell. Add layers of brown (leaves, hay, shredded newspapers, wood chips, nut shells, etc.) and green material (grass clippings, coffee grounds, food and veggies scraps, etc.), along with a layer of soil between them. Turn the pile regularly, and in about two months you’ll have the perfect compost.
Know What To Grow
First of all, stick to growing what you eat, and second, look for native plants and crops that grow well in your region. It is of great importance to choose plants that will thrive in the given conditions since the plants that are more at home are most likely to repel threats and diseases. If you plan to grow plants from seedlings, make sure to find the organic ones. Seedlings raised with the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers will compromise the idea of an organic garden, while some of the chemicals will end up on your table. Also, learn more about companion plants, as they will nourish and protect your crops.
Start Small With Easy To Grow Plants
The best way to learn gardening is to start small, so pick two or three low-maintenance plants and if it turns out well, expand your garden next year. Easy to grow cool weather plants are carrots, lettuce, spinach, peas, etc. Warm weather plants that are low maintenance are tomatoes, basil, zucchini and green beans. Plant in raised beds and group the plants together to avoid water waste and to reduce weeding. Also, leave space between rows to allow air to circulate as it will reduce fungal attacks. Follow the instructions on seed packets to know the correct spacing as well as how deep to plant.
Do Some Weeding
The most organic way to deal with weeds is to get down and pull them out yourself. Weeding may seem like a lot of work, but it is necessary to keep your plants happy and healthy. When weeding, make sure to pull the entire root out since it will spread out again fast if you don’t. Also, to reduce weed, make sure to use organic mulch and learn when to do it. Mulch will stand as a protective barrier both to your plants and your soil, and not only will it help to keep the weed away, but it will also control pests, maintain nutrients and retain moisture.
Make sure to water your plants regularly. Ideally, you should aim to only water the roots, not the plant itself, although that is exactly what happens when it is raining. Try saving some rainwater, and if you water by hand, make sure to do it early in the morning. That way soil will retain most of the moisture. Watering is a process, so if it takes too much of your time, then you should consider using a quality sprinkler that can cover medium to large areas evenly. Ensure your soil takes in enough water, especially during hot summer days.
Defeat Pests Naturally
Instead of using pesticides, look for natural means instead, like planting a diverse garden with a variety of plants that attract beneficial insects. Make your garden a home for birds, frogs, lizards, and ladybugs as they will keep the bad insects away. Plant daisy, marigold, salvia, sunflower to attract good bugs. Use other organic weapons like garlic, horticultural oils or even a hot pepper spray.
Gardening is about continuous learning and the best way to learn is to do it. Each year will be better than the one before as long as you stay devoted to your new hobby, nature and healthy life.
Jessie is a passionate blogger and home designer. She loves writing about tips and tricks that make every home a better place, inside and outside. Besides this, she loves sports, outdoor activities and spending time with her close ones.