Starting your own organic garden may sound like a daunting task, but once established, the rewards can be numerous. Gardening organically will help to promote a healthier lifestyle, minimize your environmental impact, save money and possibly boost your income with the sale of surplus produce.
Other than being environmentally friendly, produce benefits include:
Free of pesticides
Higher nutritional value
Most plants and vegetables will require a good drainage system and plenty of sun, so before making a start on your organic garden, it’s imperative that you carry out thorough preparation and research, as the local climate, site location, and soil quality will make or break your garden. It’s also advisable to start small and gradually increase your crops each season, as experience is invaluable in order to minimize waste and maintain the authenticity of your organic garden. Careful planning and knowledge will also ensure that you have fruit and vegetables all year round.
Always carry out a soil test before digging your garden - testing kits can be found at local garden centers or purchased on-line. Determining pH levels will enable you to ascertain organic fertilizer requirements in order to promote the development and health of your crops. Adding homemade compost (food waste, egg shells, vegetable peelings, etc) will further enhance the quality of your soil.
What do you want to grow?
You’ll need to consider the practicalities of what you intend to grow. If planted at the same time, certain plants and vegetables (such as peas and radishes) will complement and support each other as they grow - a method known as companion planting. Combining plants carefully is also particularly beneficial in the reduction of pestilence, thereby eradicating the use of pesticides, which can be detrimental to both our health and the environment.
Once your organic garden is prepared, you can either start from scratch with seedlings (it’s usually recommended that you grow these indoors and transfer them when they’re ready) or buy garden-ready plants. Be aware that most garden centers or nurseries grow their plants in an orthodox manner and they’ll have been chemically treated (these chemical will then transfer to your soil), so make sure you do your homework and source legitimate organic nurseries for your plants. Stay on top of your weeds from the outset – grass clippings and organic mulch will assist and minimize weed control.
Make it a home for local wildlife
In order to maintain your garden organically, you’ll want to make it hospitable to wildlife. Introduce a water feature or ensure there is a water source nearby for lizards, frogs and toads, and grow plants that will attract predatory bugs, such as ladybugs. Creatures like these will prey on unwelcome insects and encourage your garden to prosper naturally.
With the correct information and thorough planning, cultivating and maintaining your own organic garden can be an extremely satisfying experience. When managed carefully, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint, have a tastier diet, save money and potentially earn money. Most importantly, you’ll be providing your family with a healthier future.
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