Try Organic Gardening

Instead of chemicals in your soil and on your food, why not try organic gardening? You can start with just a few plants in pots or a small patch, or you can go whole hog and dig up half your yard!

Actually, if it’s your first garden, it’s better to start small. Gardeners have a tendency to plant more than they can reasonably care for – everything looks so great in the catalogs! But even though gardening is a lot of fun and a satisfying pastime, it’s also a lot of work. Half way through the growing season you may wish you’d been a little more moderate in your planting. It’s better to work your way up to that huge garden!

On Location…

Like the real estate agents are fond of saying, “It’s all about location, location, location.” Some plants will grow in the shade, but for most vegetables you need sunshine. An ample amount of sunshine is one thing you can’t provide artificially, unless you’re planning on a huge bank of portable lights out in your garden, and with the price of electricity these days, that’s a definite no-no.

Practically speaking, any garden, organic or otherwise, needs sunshine. Put your pots or garden plot where the plants will get at least 6 hours of sun a day for best results. While it’s nice to locate the garden close to the house for easy access, shade from the house or trees may not make that possible. Sunshine has priority over easy access.

Be sure your garden location not only gets ample sunshine, but drains well so the plants don’t sit in water. Fertile soil is a big plus, but if that’s lacking, you can always add soil amendments.

Down and Dirty

Adding compost will help your soil no matter what type it is. You can also use natural fertilizers and organic materials to improve the soil and help the plants grow. Most vegetable roots are in the top 6 inches of soil, so tilling or double digging will easily mix the materials into the soil where the roots can reach it.

Time to Plant

Seed catalogs and nurseries are brimming with all types of vegetables. Besides taking into account what you and your family like to eat, choose vegetables that will do well in your climate. For instance, some long season crops like sweet potatoes wouldn’t do well up north, while cool climate crops might not fare so well in the deep south.

Mulching your vegetables with organic material helps conserve water, adds humus and nutrients as well as discourages weeds from growing. It’s a great way to improve your garden soil and plants!

Don’t Let Them Bug You

Where there’s lovely young plants, there’s bugs looking for a meal. Hand picking caterpillars or other bugs off is one option, or spraying the plant with soapy water, or even plain water, will dislodge the bugs. There are also some organic products made for bug control.

Not all bugs are bad, and some are even beneficial. Bugs such as green lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantis, spiders and wasps eat the insects that try to eat your vegetables.

Companion planting with insect repellant plants such as marigolds or nasturtiums can also help keep bugs away from your garden.

It also helps to learn to live with a certain amount of imperfections. The vegetable doesn’t have to be perfect to taste good. You can cut off any problem spots before eating it.

Destroy Those Weeds!

Weeds have been defined as “a plant growing in the wrong place.” That pretty much sums it up. If it’s not something you planted, consider it a weed and hoe it out, pull it up, or till it under. However you do it, get it out of the garden. Those extra plants steal nutrients and water needed for your vegetable plants.

Ready, Set, Garden!

A good location, fertile soil, the right plants, and working to keep the garden weed and bug free are the right ingredients for a great garden. Growing an organic garden is a wonderful way to put superior tasting food in your diet. So get out there and get your garden growing!