Welcome to the wonderful world of growing your own food. Organic gardening is a fun and rewarding project that is always evolving and teaching us old gardeners new ways of doing things.
Don’t be intimidated by the term ‘organic garden’, it simply means growing plants without using any chemicals. The earth will give you everything needed to grow food and flowers. You just need to know a few tips about how to start an organic garden.
The majority of plants need 6-8 hours of sunlight to grow. Select a sunny location and observe it for a couple of days. Even though the location may look like it’s in full sun all day, it may have a few spots that are shady at different times during the day.
A little shade is fine for some plants, like squash or beets. You just need to know where and when the shade will show up.
Yet, I can easily imagine that sometimes it would be hard for gardeners to find such an ideal spot in a garden. I think it’s worth a try to maximize the sunlight exposure for those plants and see if the spot works fine. You never know.
Every planting is a valuable experience and nothing should be thought of as a “waste of time”!
The soil feeds the plants and you must feed the soil so it can support plant life. A soil test will reveal what condition the soil is in and which amendments need to be added. Yes, it’s like us humans who also require the occasional dietary changes to acheive a healthy lifestyle.
All organic gardens will benefit from 2-4 inches (5 – 10 cm) of compost every year, so it’s good to start an organic garden with an application of compost. It might sound a little overwhelming for some of you as it’ll require a little patience. However, over the years, you will have the perfect organic gardening soil. Let’s invest some of your time now and get rewarded later!
Compost feeds the soil, prevents compaction, promotes drainage and aeration. It also helps promote a bio-diverse sub-culture that will promote healthy plant growth.
Find out “What You Can do to Improve Soil Health” here.
Heirloom seeds have not been treated with chemicals and are not GMO, making them the right choice for starting an organic garden. Doesn’t it sound great?
Save plant seeds after the first growing year so you will have heirloom seeds to re-plant and swap with other organic gardeners. It’s that simple.
Use companion planting so plants will provide mutual benefits to one another. One example of companion planting is the ‘Three Sisters’ which uses corn, beans, and squash. The corn provides a sturdy trellis for a bean vine to grow up. A squash plant prevents weed growth and provides shade for the shallow corn roots. Tuck in a dill and marigold plant nearby for organic pest control. This gives you perfect plant companions.
I believe that maximizing plants’ natural behavior like this is key to sustainable planting.
You may want to check out my other article “How to get rid of aphids?” where I explain how you can organically get rid of aphids!
Add a 2-4 inch (8 – 10 cm) layer of mulch to the top of soil in your organic garden after plants reach 6-inches (15 cm) tall. The mulch will help soil retain moisture, prevent weed growth, and keep creeping pests out of your garden. As the mulch decomposes it will add nutrients to the soil and improve soil structure.
I love this idea as organic materials help building an organic garden.
Have I convinced you to try and create your own Organic Garden?