A Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening With 10 Top Tips
Have you often wondered how to begin organic gardening so you can feed your family fresh produce all year round?
Does the thought of home-grown fruit and vegetables for your family sound appealing?
That’s exactly how we felt and by having tips and techniques to follow, it made it easier to reach our goals and start enjoying tasty organic produce with our family.
Starting a new way of life can be daunting but, at the same time, really fulfilling and exciting too. Below I’m sharing 10 tips to get you started to creating your very own organic garden to be proud of and begin your own journey and harvest your own delicious produce.
Having children made me really reconsider what we put in our supermarket trolley week after week. Feeding our young children healthy, nutritious food was at the top of our agenda to help them thrive and grow.
This was the catalyst we needed to start us on our journey to start our own little organic garden to cultivate and harvest all our own produce that we know is all organic and pesticide-free.
That’s the essence of organic gardening, utilizing the natural pest control and fertilizer from your garden to grow fruits, flowers, and vegetables in place of potentially hazardous synthetic commercially derived fertilizers and pesticides.
If you are thinking about organic gardening, here are 10 tips to get you started.
No matter where you are in your organic gardening journey, it is always good to refresh or learn new methods to hone your skills. Let’s look at some ideal ways to add easy steps to add to any organic garden repertoire.
1. PEST CONTROL THE NATURAL WAY For Your Organic Garden
Nature has incredible properties to help control pests you don’t want in your garden; using your own compost is your first step.
Having beneficial bacteria, microbes, and worms within your rich compost will help your produce be productive and grow without fertilizer.
Encourage natural predators into your gardens, such as ladybugs/ladybirds, frogs, birds, and bats, as they will enhance your garden naturally.
Incorporate natural remedies into your organic garden and discover how powerful they can be against individual pests. Insecticidal soap spray, garlic spray, and hot pepper spray are just some examples of natural alternatives fighting to have a harmonious organic garden.
2. Crop Rotation
Coupled with controlling crops, rotating your crops will also aid in pest control and increase the fertility of your soil.
By rotating your crops in an orderly way, you can help give the soil time to recoup and improve the soil structure and quality, keeping your crops in tip-top shape when you re-plant.
Once new crops are planted by following crop rotation, it will increase the harvest. Planting a variety of crops each season will increase the diverse essential nutrients needed for a successful yield.
3. Prune Plants
Regularly remove any dead or decaying flowers or leaves from the plants as it will hinder the plant growth. It is best practice to remove them completely from the area and not leave them to rot near the plant.
By getting rid of the plant’s non-productive and damaged areas, you are giving every chance for it to thrive and grow. Keeping a vigilant eye on your plants is vital throughout the year, but you need to keep particular notice just after flowering so you can remove any deadheads and cut back if needed.
It starts in the soil, and creating a wonderfully rich compost for your organic garden is its lifeblood.
Not only can you reduce waste by adding your food scraps into the compost, but you can also add cardboard, garden clippings, and even ground coffee and tea bags (non-bleached) to decompose and make a perfect compost for your plants.
By creating compost layers to decompose, you will have the ideal environment for beneficial worms and insects to thrive in.
You have to have some patience, but it’s worth waiting when you can add it to your soil to create rich organic soil. Organic gardening is a multi-layered skill, and creating rich compost is a vital part to master.
5. Use Natural Fertiliser
To complement your rich compost, you can use a natural fertilizer rather than adding their chemical counterparts. Although they have the requisite nitrogen, potash, and phosphorous, studies have shown they can have as much as three times more than is needed.
This can cause pollution as nature takes over when it rains in the land and travels to water sources. Creating problems for wildlife, aquatic life as well as humans.
Choosing natural (often cheap or free) materials such as cow manure, chicken manure, limestone, kelp, coffee grounds, eggshells, and even banana peels can be the perfect solution for your organic garden.
6. Test Your Soil
It may seem a little alien at first but testing your soil is the only way to determine its deficiencies.
You can opt for a home testing kit and do it yourself, or you could send a sample to a testing facility where they can analyze it for you.
Once you have the results, you will be fully informed on your soil’s pH and nutrient levels and what (if anything) you need to add to make it the optimum soil to grow your organic produce in.
7. Select the Right Plants
This one is a biggie as you want to select the perfect plants for your climate and your family.
By this, I mean to check your Hardiness Zones and ensure you are choosing the ideal plants to thrive in your individual location.
After you have analyzed your soil, check the moisture content, the quality of the drainage you have (or lack of it), and how much light and shade your plants are getting. All these components will influence your organic garden, so it’s best to get all just right.
The next step is to look at what you love to eat; there’s no point growing fresh food you will never enjoy! Choose your plants well, and you can enjoy them all year round if you harvest and preserve them.
8. Water Carefully
Your plants’ roots need water to grow and produce healthy produce, but when is the best time to water and how much?
The cooler mornings are ideal for watering with less chance of evaporation, with overwatering a factor for fungal or bacterial diseases.
Use rainwater (collect in a large tank) where you can and think about having an irrigation system to drip the necessary water through slowly; this way, you can monitor and dictate exactly how much you give them.
9. Use Natural Insect Pest Control
After all the care and love you have given to your organic garden, it would be a shame to add toxic chemicals to rid your produce of insects.
Opt for a natural alternative and explore companion gardening to add in plants that could combat your pest problem.
Basil is great at repelling flies and mosquitoes; lavender repels ticks and moths, and tansy repels ants and cabbage moths. These are just a few examples; there are so many more.
Using natural insecticidal soaps, oils, and even hot pepper spray can help fight to control your garden of pests.
Your garden is full of beneficial insects that work in harmony to create a healthy ecosystem.
Researching these beneficial insects and their relationship with your garden is always the number one task to ensure a healthy, happy garden. The natural wildlife will help you create a symbiotic haven where they will do the pest control for you.
10. Organic Gardening | Grow Something New Every Year
Having a well-stocked garden in terms of fresh produce for your family is a joy and a pleasure to harvest. Growing new plants to enjoy is all part of the fun of organic gardening, and chances are you will find many new favorites you never knew you would love.
Ensuring each plant is right for your climate and planting in the correct conditions gives them the best chance to mature for you to enjoy.
Let your children join in and allow them to test out new and exciting fruits and vegetables that may become a new favorite.
Start small, and you will learn the joy of organic gardening without the need for chemicals; it’s fun and a great learning curve; best of all, you get to enjoy the delicious flowers, fruits (and vegetables!) of your labor.
Inspired? Interested in self-sufficiency? 11 Top Ideas To Become More Self-Sufficient will give you some ideas about how you can begin to implement easy changes to your home and get the lifestyle you want.