If you’re looking to live a self-reliant lifestyle as much as possible or you simply enjoy the act of gardening, there’s nothing better than growing your own garden.
It’s a rewarding hobby that’s enjoyable, relaxing, and of course, lovely to look at. A garden provides a means of growing your own food and nothing tastes better than vegetables and fruits grown right inside or outside of your own home.
However, keep in mind that every gardener, whether they’re a beginner or they’ve been gardening for years, faces challenges when it comes to organic gardening.
If you’re dealing with some struggles when it comes to your garden, you’re not alone. Here are the top 17 organic gardening woes and how to fix them.
Every gardener deals with weeds from time-to-time. Typically, they’ll notice wild grass, wild onions, or crabgrass showing up and disrupting their garden.
This will prevent weeds from showing up. If you already have weeds, try a solution of 1 cup salt in 2 cups water. Boil this and pour directly onto weeds.
2. Disease Infestation
Diseases—from powdery mildew to blossom end rot—is a frustrating part of gardening. After all, plants or veggies in a diseased garden don’t look or taste the best.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent diseases from occurring.
- Check your plants for diseases before you bring them home and plant them.
- Water plants in the morning to keep them healthy.
- Water the soil, not the foliage.
- Control insects.
- Allow the soil to warm up a bit before you plant.
- Space plants properly.
- Use organic fertilizers to boost plant immunity.
3. Blossom End Rot
This is a disease that occurs mostly in tomato plants and can be caused by inconsistent watering, a lack of calcium, or too much nitrogen. It happens mostly if your soil is too wet or too dry, or if the season is too cold.
To fix this, ensure your soil isn’t allowed to dry out, and use a lot of organic mulch around roots. You can also prevent calcium deficiency by adding crushed eggshells to the soil.
4. Insects Destroying Plants
Use methods that will not impact your health and that of your vegetable plants. Try organic methods of destroying insects, such as soapy water, baking soda spray, or neem oil spray. You can make use of insect-repelling plants.
5. Plants Look Visibly Burnt
If your plants look visibly burnt or slightly parched, the leaves are probably starting to become more brittle and breakable. This likely means your plants are getting too much light.
Try moving them if they’re in a container. If not, try using shade cloth throughout the garden so they’re not getting as much light.
Some shrubs and trees around the garden can also be a great long-term solution.
6. Brown Spots on Leaves
This happens to the best of us. Typically, brown spots show up on leaves in your garden because of too much or too little watering, dry air, or too much sunlight.
They can also show up on leaves in your garden due to too cold of temperatures, and in some cases, a potassium deficiency.
Try watering your soil more frequently if it appears dry. If you think you might have over-fertilized when using natural methods like Epsom salt, try overwatering for a day or two.
When it comes to increasing the amount of potassium in your soil, add a bit of wood ash or aged manure.
7. Poor Soil
Poor soil can wreak havoc in your garden as it will cause unhealthy plant growth. All plants need healthy soil that is rich in nutrients and organic matter in order to thrive.
pH (potential hydrogen) testing is also vital.
To test your soil’s pH level:
Collect one cup soil sample that is taken from different parts of the garden. Ensure that it is dug up from 6-8 inches below the soil surface.
Put 2 tsp. into separate containers and add ½ cup vinegar. A pH between 7 and 8 will fizz after the vinegar is added.
If it doesn’t fizz, add some distilled water to the other container with the 2 tsp. of soil. It must reach a muddy consistency. Next, add ½ cup baking soda and stir. If it fizzes, then your soil is acidic (pH between 5 and 6).
If it doesn’t fizz, your soil is likely in the neutral range (pH of 7), which is good. If the process is too tedious, you can buy Soil pH Testing Kits.
8. Tiny White Spots on Leaves
This tends to happen when you have spider mites in your garden. Spider mites can create a serious annoyance as they actively eat plants.
9. Plants Not Producing Fruit
If you have plants that aren’t producing any fruit, you may have an issue wherein there’s not enough nitrogen. You may also have an issue with a lack of pollination.
Try adding some organic nitrogen-rich fertilizers or pollinating the blossoms. This is done with hand pollination techniques, such as using a small brush or shaking the plant gently.
10. Not Enough Space
Land space is always a problem for enthusiastic farmers and gardeners. However, there’s a way to make plants grow in very little space. It’s called container gardening.
Many vegetables like kale and arugula can be grown in containers. You can also make use of vertical gardening. Pumpkin, for example, can be planted in a pot and channeled to grow on a fence.
11. Plants Are Weak and Lackluster
We’ve all been there before. We want our plants to grow big, strong, and beautifully. When they seem weak and lackluster, it’s possible you have watered too much or you don’t have enough light.
Try ensuring your plants get 6-8 hours of sunlight during the day. You can also try watering a bit less and make sure you’re not overdoing it with nitrogen.
12. Too Much or Too Little Sun
Each plant has its own daily sunlight requirement. Tomatoes, for example, need more than 6 hours of direct sunlight to bear fruits. Lettuce, on the other hand, will scorch in direct sunlight if left for more than 14 hours.
A good way to know which plant requires what amount of sunlight is to read the back of the seed packet.
13. Plants Appear to be Wilting
If your plants appear to be wilting, it’s more than likely they’re suffering from too little or too much water.
Feel the soil and check if it feels soggy. If it does, stop watering for a while. If the soil feels dry, water a bit more, but make sure you’re watering deeply and consistently.
Wilting plants can often be fixed by adjusting the amount of water you’re giving them.
14. Leaves Are Covered in a White Powdery Coating
When leaves are covered in a white powdery coating, the most common culprit is powdery mildew. This is a fungal disease that affects a multitude of plants. Typically, powdery mildew results from plants being dry while the area surrounding them is moist and humid.
If possible, try moving the plants into a sunny area and make sure you’re providing adequate spacing between each plant. This will promote a much healthier environment with proper air circulation.
15. Leaves Are Covered in Black Spots
This is another very common problem, especially in climates that tend to be hot and muggy. Black spots on leaves are usually caused by black spot fungus, also known as diplocarpon rosae.
Essentially, black spot fungus starts to develop in the spring when temperatures rise and the garden has been wet for multiple hours at a time. This can be treated with a natural fungicide such as neem oil.
16. Plants Don’t Seem to be Growing
Nothing is more frustrating than starting a garden only to find your plants aren’t growing properly, or worse, they’re not growing at all.
More often than not, this is caused by improper soil preparation. Fortunately, there’s a variety of ways to improve the preparation of your soil.
Dig up your plants, if possible, and make sure the soil is tilled properly. This will help plants spread their roots. Be sure to remove any red clay underneath and add compost to the mixture.
17. Leaves Have Yellow Blotches on Them
If you start noticing yellow blotches on the upper surface of your leaves, it’s likely a type of fungus known as rust. Flip the leaf over and look for dark brown, rusty blotches. This is what identifies rust.
You can avoid rust by providing proper air circulation. If your plants end up with rust on them, try removing all infected parts and cleaning away any debris in between plants. This will prevent the rust from spreading further.
Keep in mind, you’ll want to avoid splashing water onto the leaves while you’re watering your garden. This will spread the rust further.
If you’re new to gardening and want to dip your toes in, try starting small with gardening in pots. Herbs and vegetables can thrive in a potted garden, as long as they have adequate sunlight and water.
Start with rewarding plants, such as carrots, kale, sugar peas, snap peas, radishes, and other easy-to-grow vegetables that will help you understand the basics of gardening.
A garden can grow beautifully when cared for with proper sunlight, irrigation, and of course, time and effort on the part of the gardener. We all have gardening woes from time-to-time. It happens to the best gardeners.
If you’re committed to keeping your garden lush and healthy, stay on the look-out for the common challenges listed above and address them as soon as you notice the signs. It’s usually possible to address the issue right away and prevent it from impacting your garden in the long-run.
There are many solid, fantastic reasons to start a garden – from health benefits, such as physical activity and healthier food, to emotional benefits, such as less stress and more relaxation.
There’s nothing better than watching your plants flourish due to all of your hard work, time, and effort spent working away on your very own garden.