During the past several years, there has been a rapid increase in the consumption of organic produce. According to research led by the Economic Research Service, sales have increased by 10%. Why, you may ask?
Well, it is primarily because of the growing health concerns among people. But also because:
Organic farming produces foods rich in nutrients, minimizes the use of synthetic fertilizers and toxic pesticides, and insecticides. But a significant downside of these benefits is that organic food costs twice as much as non-organic food.
☝️This☝️ Is The Main Reason Why You Should Start Your Very Own Organic Garden!
So, as you might already guess, what to do if you are not willing to pay hefty amounts in exchange for fresh, safe, and delicious organic produce? You start an organic garden at home!
By learning organic farming skills, you can cut down your daily grocery costs. You can devour seasonal produce that grew under your supervision – without harmful chemicals. Moreover, you won’t need to hire professional landscapers or gardeners to set-up and maintain your organic garden. Besides that, it is also an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and pick-up an exciting hobby.
If you are still confused and don’t know what tools you need and what tips to follow, don’t worry; we got you covered! Lucky for you, we have a detailed guide on how to start an organic garden at home.
But Before You Start Your Organic Garden…
You must bear in mind that gardening is a systematic process, and if you want to get results, please try to follow through with every step. There are no shortcuts or easy ways out. Once you sow your seeds into the soil, the seeds will take their time (2-3 weeks) to germinate. So, you must observe every step with patience.
Select A Location
Wait! Don’t put on your gardening gloves yet! First, pick an ideal spot for your garden. This step is crucial because it will eventually determine the quality of your organic produce.
How To Choose An Ideal Location To Your Organic Garden?
When you are starting your organic garden at your home, try to choose a spot that has the following characteristics:
- The spot must have good drainage.
- There must be at least one water source.
- It should reflect 6 hours of sunlight daily.
- It must have ample space for air circulation.
Don't pick a spot that is too close to your house; it might overshadow the plants and block the sunlight.
Invest In High-Quality Gardening Tools!
Organic gardening doesn’t need tons of tools and equipment. Even if you invest in the following five gardening tools, you are good to go.
What Gardening Tools Do You Need?
- Hand-rake: A hand-rake will help you clear unwanted leaves, grass, and weed from your garden. It will also enable you to rake the soil and smoothen the surface effectively.
- Hoe: This versatile horticultural tool will help you dig and move soil. It will also help you to get rid of nasty weeds and level the surface of the land.
- Garden gloves: A pair of garden gloves will protect your hands against potential wounds from thorns and insect bites. From cloth gloves to leather and rubber-coated gloves, you can choose from an array of options as per your requirements.
- Watering can: A watering can is an ideal gardening companion. If there is no water source near your garden, this equipment will come in handy. You can quickly fill in the desired amount of water and water your plants with it.
- Garden shears: A garden shear works like a scissor because it can help you trim weeds. Make sure to buy a shear that is comfortable to hold and has a lock that keeps the blades safe.
You can easily find most of these tools from your local hardware store!
Build A Healthy Soil
When you are starting an organic garden at your home, never forget that soil preparation is essential. Well nurtured soil will yield organic produce that is rich in nutrients and packed with flavor. So, if you don’t keep the soil in good condition, it will compromise your organic food quality.
You can examine your soil quality with the help of a soil test kit. It gives you a comprehensive breakdown of your soil’s nitrogen, phosphorus, and pH levels. To make sure that your soil is perfectly conditioned, you must refrain from using synthetic fertilizers. You can instead create organic compost and quickly strengthen the quality of your garden’s soil.
Are There Any Fertilizers That Are Both Organic And Cheap?
Compost is probably the best material for soil improvement and fertilizing, but some materials are already lying around in your garden. These materials may include fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds, old produce (fruits and vegetables), trimmings, or even kitchen biowaste. Besides that, refrain from using fatty and greasy materials in your compost. Once you’re done, build a 16 inches (about 40 cm) high border with bricks and stones.
Select The Right Seeds For Planting
For delicious organic produce, you should choose seeds or seedlings that can thrive in your region’s climate. To find out what plants can survive your region’s sunlight, moisture, and air – you may visit your local farmer’s market or a garden store. Once you’re there, you will surely come across various local varieties that will help you fill your garden.
If you’re still unsure, opt for tomatoes, peppers, and squash seeds; these plants thrive in most climates and remain fruitful throughout the year. But remember that you might need a greenhouse or grow the plant inside to get results in some regions!
While purchasing, make sure to remain faithful to organic farming’s essence and ask for seeds that haven’t been treated with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides; Ask for organic seeds!
Now that you have purchased your seeds, you can plant them in full sun after the last frost. To sow your seeds, follow these steps:
- Choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
- Prepare the surface with a watering can or pot.
- Spread the seeds or seedlings on the wet surface; leave no gaps.
- Cover with more soil.
- Water the top layer.
To prevent weed growth, make sure to plant each batch thickly. You can also use companion plantings to fill in the gaps.
Seeds need water to grow into healthy and productive plants. So, watering is a crucial responsibility, and you, as the owner of an organic garden, should follow a strict schedule.
Water your plants in the morning; this will lower the risk of evaporation as the temperature is cooler in the morning than in other parts of the day. If you water them in the evening or late at night, your plants will remain damp and become prone to fungal infections. Traditionally, gardeners use a hand-held watering pot, but you can also invest in a soaker hose or drip system to help you with watering. But, no matter what method you use to water, NEVER OVERWATER!
Tackle The Weeds!
Many gardeners believe that there is no such thing as a weed-free garden. That is not entirely true. Sure, every spot of your garden is prone to developing unwanted plants that harbor pests. But with the right precautions, you can reduce their life and enjoy a healthy organic garden. Use the following tried-and-tested tips that do not involve using harmful chemicals:
Pluck The Weeds Off Immediately
Professional horticulturists recommend plucking off the weeds as soon as you spot them. If you get lazy and start to procrastinate, your garden will be filled with nasty weeds and ruin your growing experience. You can examine your garden twice a week and keep an eye out for fresh dandelions, bindweed, and purslane.
Chop Them In Half
If you couldn’t pluck them off when they were fresh, don’t worry – there’s still a way out. Get yourself a high-quality pruning lopper and chop off the heads of the weed. By doing so, you reduce its chance of spreading.
Mulch Is Your New Best Friend!
The use of mulch in organic gardening is widespread. It acts as a barrier and prevents the sunlight from reaching the weed seed. You can use hay, dry leaves, and straw to reduce your garden’s weed growth.
Kill Garden Pests Organically
Pests are every garden’s worst enemies; they mean no good to your organic produce. Instead of intoxicating your plants with harmful chemicals, there are specific natural ways to get rid of them.
A Simple Two-Ingredient Bug Spray
Mix two tablespoons of dishwashing soap with warm water; pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray it on your plants.
Use Garden Lime
Spreading a generous amount of garden lime around your plants will repel raccoons, snakes, and insects. When they lick the surface, they’ll experience a high degree of burning sensation and refrain from sheltering themselves in your garden.
Let The Bug-Eating Birds Do Their Part!
In situations like these, bug-eating birds can be of great help. You can attract them to your garden by placing water tubs and seeds. Once they become habitual of feeding themselves from your yard, they’ll begin to feed on insects.
Featured image credit – iStock.com/sanjeri