Cultivating your own organic vegetables ensures you know how your food is grown and where it is coming from.
Organic gardening is not like conventional gardening, as there are some key differences. However, the process can be very rewarding.
When you and your family are finally eating delicious organically grown vegetables right from your backyard, all your efforts will have been well worth it.
Here’s a beginner’s guide on how to grow organic vegetables at home.
1. Figure Out What You Want to Grow
Before you pick a spot in your yard, you should figure out what vegetables you want to cultivate. This may have an impact on where you put the garden and what kind of soil you use.
Plant vegetables that you know your family will eat. Consider planting some that you have a hard time finding in your area or ones that are really expensive at the grocery store. Also, choose the ones that do well in the climate you live in.
Below are some of the best and easiest vegetables to grow as a beginner gardener.
- Swiss chard
- Peas and beans
- Hot and sweet peppers
- Bok choy
The next step is to buy your organic seeds. But be sure to read the packets carefully to know when and how to plant.
2. Choose a Spot and Prepare the Soil
Find a sunny or shady spot in your yard that will support the type of crops you want to grow.
You might want to take a sample of dirt to your nearest garden store to have it tested for PH levels. A good pH level for your soil is between 6.0 and 7.0.
Additionally, you will have better results if you are able to till the soil at least 8 to 10 inches deep. This will loosen the soil and help plant roots grow easily with plenty of room .
The next step is to add nutrients to improve and maintain the quality of the soil.
3. Nurture With Organic Fertilizers
Add natural fertilizers to the soil. Find organic compost and mulch at your nearest garden store or make your own and mix it well into the soil.
Measure the planting area so you know how much fertilizer you will need. There are many different types of natural and homemade fertilizers such as fish bone meal, eggshells, worm castings, and compost.
4. Water Your Plants
Maintain your garden by giving your plants the water they need. For some crops, it is best if you hand-water them.
Also, if it’s not absolutely necessary, putting in a sprinkler can waste the water and support weed growth.
Additionally, pay attention to the weather to ensure you are not giving your plants too much when it’s about to rain or too little water if there’s a drought.
5. Watch Out for Pests and Plant Diseases
No matter where you live or what you grow, your garden is susceptible to pests that can harm or destroy your crops. Therefore, it is important to spend time inspecting your garden for bugs and other pests.
Identifying the pest correctly is also important as there are many friendly creatures that can help your garden. These include earthworms, ladybugs, lacewings, and more.
This is why you must identify the insects that are lurking around. They might not be pests after all. To deal with harmful insects, there are many organic solutions to get rid of bad insects and related pests.
Plant diseases are other issues to watch out for. It’s also important that you properly identify and treat plant diseases organically.
6. Attract Beneficial Insects
As mentioned, some insects provide benefits to your garden.
Pollinators such as bees and wasps transport pollen from one plant to another, while other helpful insects like ladybugs hunt down destructive insects. Additionally, earthworms help aerate and maintain soil fertility.
Utilizing organic fertilizers and planting flowering plants will help attract many beneficial insects to your garden.
7. Control Weeds
There are different ways to organically control weeds. However, the best way to control weeds in a small garden is to hand-pull them.
If you visit your garden daily, weeding won’t be overwhelming. You can also use a mulch to help keep down weeds.
8. Harvest When Ready
After you have worked so hard to start your garden, watered it when necessary, and controlled weeds and pests, it’s time to harvest.
Do your research and figure out when is the best time to harvest each of your crops. For many crops, you can follow harvesting guidelines so the plant continues to produce throughout the rest of the season.
Harvesting at the right time will also help to ensure your vegetables are at their peak of tastiness.
9. Enjoy Your Fresh Produce
There is so much you can do with vegetables, herbs, and fruits straight from the farm.
As you eat them, you will appreciate their fresh taste so much more than what you get from the grocery store. After maturely cultivating your produce single-handedly, you deserve to enjoy every single bite.
If you have a surplus of vegetables, try pickling or freezing. That way, you can enjoy the fresh taste throughout the year until it is time to grow again or until another crop is ready.
10. Save Your Seeds
It can be very expensive to buy organic seeds each year. But, by saving seeds to replant year after year you can cut your seeds bill in half.
Crops like corn, tomato, sweet peppers, peas, pak choy, pumpkin, and beans are great to add to your seed-saving collection.
Dry and store them in a dark, cool, and dry place. Once properly dried, you can seal them in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for years.
Don’t forget to put labels on. Include all the necessary details such as crop type and date.
Setting up and working in your garden is a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding. You can’t find vegetables any fresher than what you can walk out into your backyard and pick.
Gardening is not only rewarding for the delicious food you can grow, but it is also a relaxing hobby you can enjoy season after season.