Starting your own organic garden at home can be daunting, especially if this is your first garden. Luckily, with a few tips from the pros, your garden will come to live in the most worthwhile and satisfying way in no time.
Organic gardening means you won’t be using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, but that doesn’t mean your plants are left to fend for themselves. There are an array of tools you can use to bolster plant health and ward off pests. Organic gardening also isn’t just about what you don’t do, it’s about trying to foster a more holistic, natural ecosystem. Read on for specific tips, taken from The Daily Green’s expert garden blogger, Leslie Land, her New York Times book 1000 Gardening Questions & Answers and other sources.
- If this is your first time gardening, start small. Larger and more successful organic gardens don’t happen overnight. By starting with a simple windowsill garden or a few potted plants, you can work your way up while also building confidence.
- By starting with a small garden, it minimizes the risk of overplanting, which is why many gardens tend to fail. Instead of thinking about how much of each plant you will get, think about how you can use each vegetable or fruit in terms of meals.
Find the Best Soil
- Good soil is vital for successful organic gardening. Go to a garden center for good soil, or better yet, if you have a friend that gardens or farms ask for some of their soil.
- Remember, healthy soil helps build up durable and productive plants.
Make Good Compost
- Compost is a must for any type of garden; it help conserves water, feeds plants and cuts down on weeds. Although many farms and garden centers sell ready-made compost, homemade compost is better for both your budget and your garden.
- For best homemade composting results, add alternating layers of carbon/brown material such as leaves and garden trimmings, and nitrogen/green material such as kitchen scraps and manure, with a small layer of soil in between.
- Turn the pile as new layers are added and use water to keep your compost moist, you should have good compost in as little as a few months.
Choose the Right Plants
- Research a little about each plant you choose and look into their best growing conditions. When choosing plants be sure to pick the right type of plant for your garden’s moisture, light, and soil.
- If you’re buying seedlings, look for plants without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A great place to look for good seedlings is at your local farmer’s market, which may also have varieties of plants well suited to the area that you live in.
Watch Out for Weeds and Pests
- Since you are growing organically, you aren’t going to be using herbicides or pesticides. That’s nothing to worry about though;, there are easy ways to get rid of unwanted growths in your garden.
- You can easily get rid of pests and weeds by hand. After you dig out the weeds by either hand or by using a hoe, add more compost to prevent weed growth in the first place. For unwanted insects, a stream of water removes some bugs, and you can research some organic pest control methods if the problem gets out of hand.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
- If your neighbors or friends are growing gardens, ask them what they grow. By following what other gardeners are growing in your area, you’ll know what you’ll likely have the best luck with.
- There are many online forums for organic gardening. If you have a question, you’ll probably find your answer easily without having to ask yourself.
Buy quality tools
- When you buy tools, it pays to purchase quality. Remember: thrift and frugality are about obtaining the value for your dollar — not just paying the cheapest price.
I used to skimp on garden tools, but I always regretted it. Lately I’ve been buying more expensive, higher quality tools. I’d rather own fewer tools that were pleasure to use (and lasted many seasons) than own lots of crappy tools that didn’t cost me much. (On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open at garage sales. Sometimes you can get great deals on quality stuff.)