With harmful chemicals lurking on store-bought produce, it is time to take up organic gardening. There are many benefits to it. Cultivating your own vegetables ensure your produce is fresh, clean, and free of pesticides.
Organic gardens are much like non-organic ones, but with a few key differences. The process can be tough, but very rewarding work.
When you and your family are finally eating delicious vegetables right from your backyard, all your efforts will have been well worth it.
1. Figure Out What You Want to Grow
Before you pick a spot in your yard, you should figure out what vegetables 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.
Choose ones that do well in the climate or region you live in. The worst thing is working so hard only to find out your vegetables are inedible.
Find the organic seeds you want and read the packaging carefully about 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 plants you want to cultivate. You might want to take a sample of dirt to your nearest hardware or garden store to have it tested for PH levels.
A good level to maintain is 6.5-7.0. You will have better results if you are able to till the soil at least a foot deep. This will make sure the roots grow easily and have plenty of room.
The next step is adding nutrients to the soil.
3. Nurture With Organic Fertilizers
Add natural fertilizers or materials to make your plants grow better. Find organic compost and mulch at your nearest garden store (or make your own) and mix in well with the soil.
Measure the planting area, so you know how much mulch or fertilizer you will need.
These can help your crops grow. It is important to ensure you are using only organic materials at this point.
There are many different types such as fish and seaweed fertilizer, eggshells, worm castings, and natural compost.
Not only will they help you to keep your veggies growing, but it will also ensure that you, your children, pets, and wild animals are safe from chemicals found in other types of harmful fertilizers.
You can also use mulch, which will decompose and help to enrich the soil.
4. Give it Plenty of Water
Maintain your farm by giving the plants plenty of water (if it calls for it). For some plants, it is best if you hand-water them. This will help you to control the weeds as well.
If you are putting a sprinkler in, not only are you wasting water, but you will support weed growth.
You should also 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
No matter where you live or what you grow, your farm is susceptible to pests that can harm or destroy your crops. It is important to spend time with your crops, so if you notice any bugs you can fix the situation right away.
Identifying the pest is also important in remedying the situation. There are many friendly creatures that can help your garden, like worms, birds, and other insects.
This is why it is imperative that you identify what pests are lurking around. They might not be pests, after all. The best step to prevention is to make sure you only invite friendly pests onto your farm.
You can do this by making sure your plants are healthy, have a variety of flowers and vegetables, or find an organic solution to rid of them.
6. Attract Beneficial Insects
Some insects provide benefits to your garden in numerous ways.
Pollinators such as bees and wasps transport pollen from one plant to another, while other helpful insects like ladybugs hunt down destructive insects. Earthworms aerate and fertilize the soil.
Utilizing organic fertilizers, planting flowering plants, and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals will attract beneficial insects to your garden.
7. Control the Weeds
There are different ways you can organically control weeds. Since you don’t want to use a weed killer that has lots of unhealthy chemicals, the best way to control weeds is to stay on top of them.
Hand pull them or use a hoe. If you visit your garden daily for just a few minutes, it won’t be overwhelming. You can also use mulch to keep out unwanted and annoying weeds.
8. Harvest When Ready
After you have worked so hard to start your garden, watered it every day, and controlled weed and pests, it will be time to harvest the vegetables of your labor.
Make sure you do your research and figure out when the best time is to harvest each of your crops. For many crops, it is important that you follow the 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 tastiness.
9. Enjoy Your Fresh Produce
There is so much you can do with vegetables 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 that is free from pesticides, you deserve to enjoy every single bite.
If you have a surplus of vegetables, you can try pickling or freezing, so that 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 seeds each year. By saving seeds to replant after the harvest, you can cut your seeds bill in half.
It also puts you in a secure spot as many plant varieties have been discontinued because large corporations have taken over the industry and are more focused on hybrid and GMO profits.
Crops like corn, tomato, sweet peppers, peas, pak choy, pumpkin, and beans are great to add to your seed-saving collection.
Dry them and store in a dark, cool, and dry place. Once properly dried, you can also seal them in an airtight container and store in the freezer for years.
Don’t forget to put on your labels with all the necessary details such as crop type and variety. Setting up and working on your farm sure is a lot of work, but it is also very rewarding.
Organic agriculture is worthwhile. You can’t find produce any fresher than what you can walk out into your backyard and pick.
Farming is not only rewarding for the delicious food you can grow on your own but will also be a great relaxing hobby you can enjoy season after season.
For more in-depth information detailing the steps on how to grow and maintain a chemical-free garden, see the book Grow Organic.