Organic Gardening 101: Making the Most Out of Your Backyard

 

So you decided to have your own garden, grow your own produce and go organic. However, as safe as it will make you feel going organic is difficult. But, knowing that your family is eating healthy is worth it.  Having pesticide-free food and knowing that your pets are playing in a garden that is free of toxins it is worth it.  Chemical solutions are there to help ease gardening, but they harm your produce and also make the soil chemical-dependent. Organic gardening will take some time, and more effort, but the results will be invaluable.  Check out these other backyard vegetable gardening tips too.  

Check the soil

Not all soil is the same. There are times when the soil is already filled with certain minerals or slightly acidic. These situations won’t allow for a good harvest.  The best way to prepare would be to take a sample of the soil and send it to your local horticultural laboratory. They will send back a report with the analysis results.  It will contain the pH value and advise which actions could be taken to improve the quality.

Which plants to choose

There are quite a lot of options to choose from, and in the end, it all depends on the purpose of your garden.

     Making your own produce – choosing to feed yourself and your family can be quite a feat. Don’t be discouraged if you are unsuccessful at times. For a beginner, it is important to choose plants that are not as demanding.  For example, cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce are easy to grow. 

How to plant

It is wise to choose the location of your crops on their necessity for sunlight. Mark the areas where each plant should go, and be sure to not overcrowd the plot.  So, be sure to leave enough space for air to circulate freely.  As a result, this lessens the odds of fungi growing. Furthermore, the plants won’t over shade each other, risking crop failure.

Organic pesticides

Chemical pesticides are proven to be harmful to people. They are highly effective at protecting the crops, but at what cost? The chemicals the plant absorbs can affect their texture and taste.  Most importantly, pesticides cannot be washed off. Choosing organic, home-made alternatives can more often than not just as effective. One organic and consumable pesticide is Lemongrass.  Lemongrass not only repels certain plant-eating insects, but it also works against mosquitoes.  Furthermore, it doubles as a seasoning and tea herb for human consumption.  Also, ladybugs or praying mantises naturally hunt the pests you have overrunning the garden.

Fertilizing and watering

Even if you choose low-maintenance plants, to get the best results, you will need to regularly water and “feed” them. You can never be too careful when watering.  Water at the base of the plant to avoid damage. When it comes to fertilizer, the best compost is the one you make yourself. Designate a place in your garden for a compost bin.  Mix organic waste, soil, water and open air to create the perfect balance of carbon and nitrogen enriched compost.

 

organic gardening

 

Weeds

Weeds are a pest as much as insects. Its seeds make it almost impossible to root out, especially if you decide to go herbicide-free. And if not controlled as quickly as possible, they tend to spread out and take over the entire garden, bit by bit. There are several ways in which you can suppress the growth and spread of weeds, and all include using your own two hands, some strength and some mulch. Placing mulch around plants will help reduce weeds. And when it comes to mulch, you have a few choices:

     Wood chips – unless you have personal access to the source, these can get pricey
     Burlap
     Straw – a short – term, but cheap solution
     Lawn clippings – high in nitrogen, so they should be used only near plants that need them

Finally, the food tastes better when it’s brought to the table by your own two hands. Organic gardening provides as a good alternative to farmer’s markets.  However, it requires patience and dedication. Make this project easier, by sharing experiences with other gardeners.  Connect with other gardeners on-line, join online forums, and include your friends and family. 

About the Author:  Victoria Lim is a journalist, freelance stylist and a girl with a distinctive taste for home decor. She’s quite passionate about writing, sharing tips and DIY projects.

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  1. Gardens are the best! My husband spoils me. For the past 30 years he has planted one. Mainly tomatoes, okra, corn, potatoes, onion and spices. Canning is work, but when the top is popped and poured into the pan, it sure smells W O N D E R F U L!

    Lots of good information in your post.  Thanks.

  2. Hello! Thought I would stop by and check out your blog. It’s good to meet you too! I’m a follower now; good stuff here! I’m going to start linking up with you on Sundays too.