The trend of organic gardening has been on the upswing for quite some time now and rightly so. After all, organic gardening helps you grow fruits and vegetables naturally and keeps you and your loved ones away from harmful chemicals. All of this while also helping in creating a holistic ecological system.
5 Organic Gardening Basics
In today’s busy world, many of people opt for buying organic produce, but that can burn quite a hole in your wallet. By knowing organic gardening basics along with a little bit of patience and work, you can successfully create your own organic garden. Read on to know more about 5 basic things that you can to do to get started with this healthy and eco-friendly version of gardening.
Get the Soil Ready
Just like we as humans need to eat the right foods to get the right nutrients, you will need a well-nourished soil to support a healthy organic garden. Using chemical soil treatments can result in harming the beneficial bacteria that your soil might have, so it is best to avoid those solutions when possible.
Start by having your soil tested. Send a small sample to the agriculture extension office in your area, and they will provide you with a detailed explanation of the pH level and nutrients that are present and also make the necessary treatment recommendations. Remember to tell them you don’t want anything to do with chemicals.
If it is not possible to get your soil tested, keep it well conditioned by using lots of humus, that will contain manure, grass, and compost.
Get a Composter
While a good compost is imperative for a healthy and flourishing organic garden, the first step towards making compost is getting a composter. Generally, composters are plastic bins that come with a lid and hatch and are made to sit outside in or near the garden. You can also make your own composter with several plans found online, which are usually constructed of four wooden stakes to provide post corners that are connected by chicken wire or mesh wiring to hold the contents. If you are planning on making your own compost, don’t allow yourself to get bogged down by all the chemistry. It is easier than you think. You will need a space of at least three-square feet where you can place your compost in a pile or in a customized bin. Now create alternate layers of carbon which is brown material like garden trimmings, and then nitrogen layer which is nothing but kitchen waste and manure. Remember to keep a thin layer of soil in between.
The top of the compost pile must have a good four to six inches of soil. Keep turning the pile as you add new layers and a little bit of water to bring in some moisture as this should increase the microbial action. In just about two months, you should have your own natural compost.
Generally, there should be no smell in your compost, but if it does smell, just add more of carbon materials like leaves and straw.
Organic waste can be thrown in the composter like egg shells, tea bags, fruits and vegetable peels and so on. Ideally, a healthy compost will not emit any odor like a garbage bin might.
Features of a Good Composter
- It should be made up of an insulated material that will retain the heat that is created during the composting process.
- The opening should be big enough so that the organic material can be easily placed in as well as retrieved out for using in your garden beds
- It might have wheels at the bottom for transporting it easily.
- It must have a good ventilation mechanism as a good compost needs aeration.
How the Best Compost Helps your Garden
There are several advantages of using compost.
- It provides nutrition to the plants
- Help save water
- Prevents the growth of weeds
- It keeps food and yard waste away from the landfills
While the right soil is imperative to a successful and healthy garden, selecting the right plants plays an equally significant role. Select plants that will suit the micro-condition of your soil and will adapt to the amount of light, water and drainage in your garden. If the plants are the right match to your soil and healthy, there will be fewer outbreaks of weed attacks and other such problems.
Protecting Your Plants
Since you cannot use pesticides, many people find it challenging to maintain an organic garden. To overcome this problem, keep the following in mind:
- Ensure your plants are getting the optimal amount of light, moisture, and nutrients.
- A diverse selection of plants controls pests by limiting the number of plants that are present for them to thrive upon.
- It boosts biodiversity.
- Have natural predators in your garden, like frogs, lizards, and birds to prevent any unnecessary outbreaks.
- Using nets and row covers can be helpful.