A great article by Cheryl Kahn at Patio Productions with tips for getting back into your veggie patch!
Growing your own organic garden can serve many benefits for you and your family. Aside from the money that you will save by harvesting at home, organic foods have inherent qualities that are beneficial to your health. Gardening is also good for your health!
Getting started, you might be unsure how to get your organic garden going. That’s okay! We’ve put together this list of 6 Tips for Organic Gardening that will teach you some of the best practices for growing, maintaining, and sourcing your backyard farm. Join the sustainable movement and get digging!
Make Your Bed – Raised Garden Beds!
Even if you’re new to gardening, chances are you have seen a raised garden bed before. Raised beds simplify many of the initial tasks that are required to prep a garden. Essentially, you avoid natural soil and fill your garden bed with fresh soil that is filled with plenty of nutrients and compost! It’s important to start with a solid foundation that will promote a healthy any plentiful harvest.
Redwood and cedar are often suggested as materials for your bed walls. These types of woods are naturally rot-resistant and won’t put your organic garden at risk of introducing any chemicals found in pressure-treated woods. Bed walls also allow proper drainage, ensuring that your soil has is not over-watered.
Save Those Leftovers!
Add a compost bin to your kitchen to separate compost items from general trash. Kitchen scraps can work fertilizing wonders in your garden and they are all natural so your food will be 100% organic! Think orange peels, egg shells, coffee grounds, old cereal, paper towels, and of course old flowers/plants! Check out Mother Nature Network’s list of 81 Things You Can Compost to find all of the hidden treasures around your home!
The general rule for composting is the 3/4 rule; three fourths should be brown and a quarter of your compost pile should be green. Browns are high in carbon while greens, such as garden pruning’s, have a high concentration of nitrogen. Kick your compost pile into overdrive by adding earth worms to speed up the process! Remember to turn the soil in your compost pile to reduce odor and ensure that the air circulates properly so that oxygen reaches the inner pile as well.
Monitor Soil pH
pH is crucial to the success of your organic garden. What is ph? Simply put, pH is a measure of acidity (alkaline) that affects how plants feed on the nutrients in soil. Here’s how it the process works. Water helps to dissolve mineral nutrients in the soil so that plants can uptake these nutrients. An imbalance of water/nutrients can make it difficult for the minerals to dissolve and plants in turn aren’t able to feed on the soil! See the problem?
While pH levels differ from plant to plant, there is a range that is generally accepted for gardening purposes. Test your soil regularly and keep pH levels between 6.0-7.5.
Tip: Compost is a natural neutralizing agent and is a great way to manage pH levels in your organic garden!
Every year, thousands of gallons of water rush down our storm drains and back into the ocean. Collecting rainwater is a great way to benefit from natural showers! Rainwater is better than water from your garden hose because it doesn’t contain the chlorine and other chemicals used to clean tap water. Hard water can stunt plant growth and significantly decrease average yield.
The only water to have a truly “organic” garden is to use a pure water source! You can either use a water filtration system, purchase purified water, or get it directly from Mother Nature! Navigate your rain gutter to a plastic storage barrel to collect water run-off and watch the water come down! Organic Gardening is a collective effort that can benefit others around you and the natural environment!
Use Attractive Plants
As you know, pollination is one of the key elements of natures cycle. Did you know that you can actually attract pollinating insects by placing certain plants in your garden? Flies, moths, beetles, butterflies, and bees are some of the best helpers to your garden. Some examples of pollinator attractors are basil, poppies, spearmint, violets, blueberries, and lilacs!
Get Familiar With Your Garden Auger
A garden auger is a drill attachment that can be used for digging holes, getting rid of weeds, and other landscaping tasks. It is a priceless tool that will help eliminate the sweat and tears that it will take for more moderate gardening tasks. When you finally get your hands on one, you will realize what a life-saver a garden auger can be. Augers work great for weeding and loosening up the soil to allow a better flow of oxygen and the distribution of valuable nutrients!
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out other topics in the Garden Section of our blog!
About this Post
Cheryl Khan is a freelance writer, aspiring gardener, and lifelong designer. When she is away from her laptop, she’s usually hanging outside with her friends, family, and of course her pooch!