In recent times, more individuals are becoming aware of the benefits of consuming organic food – both to preserve the environment and curb the number of pesticides that are consumed into the human body. However, this has created a downside that focuses on how expensive organic food products are. Nonetheless, there is an alternative to purchasing organic food; you can as well grow your own natural, mouthwatering produce while gaining knowledge on the beauty of organic gardening.
Be it as it may, most people have no clue where to start. You can as well hire a gardening expert that will install and maintain your organic garden. Nevertheless, you still need to get your hands dirty at some points. You don’t have to go all the way out with your gardening project. Start small and then expand; each day or week, you can plant one or two seeds, and watch them grow with the right care. Before we proceed further, we need to know what organic gardening is.
What Is Organic Gardening?
Organic gardening is the natural cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and plants without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. But this doesn’t imply that your plants grow on their own without any help. You can take advantage of various tools and methods that are designed to improve the health of your plants and repel pests. “How do I get started?” You need the right set of gardening tools; these include top-tested clippers, ergonomic trowel set, compost bin, top-quality soil-test kit, watering can, breathable garden gloves.
Where To Start
To begin with, you need to ensure that the soil is well-conditioned. Remember that you need healthy organic food products. So, make sure that your selected space is enriched with quality nutrients. If your soil is healthy, you will harvest strong and healthy plants free of inorganic substances. Avoid the use of chemical soil treatments as they can seep into your food and in turn harm your system.
You can evaluate the quality of your soil by testing it with a home testing kit. In the absence of one, you can forward a soil sample to your local agricultural extension office. The best season to test your soil is during the fall. For individuals who are deprived of the time to test their soils, ensure that the soil layer is enriched with hummus. To get the best result, the soil should contain a mixture of compost, manure (compost), and leaf and grass clippings.
Once you’ve had all these items in place, measure out your garden space with a size of at least, three feet square. It should contain your compost heap, which can either be gathered in a custom pen or just a simple pile. Proceed to add layers of carbon or brown material (leaves and garden trimmings) and nitrogen or green material (manure and kitchen scraps). There should be a thin layer of soil in-between these items.
The pile should be taken off with a layer of soil – four to six inches. This pile should be turned over, and new layers added. Add water to maintain the soil moisture and boost microbe action. If maintained for a period of two months you should end up with good compost. You can tell if your compost pile is properly maintained – it should not smell. Should this occur, add dry carbon material. With the ideal soil texture, you can plant your seeds.
How To Select The Right Plants
Having created a conducive garden space, it’s time to select the ideal plants that will flourish in specific micro-conditions. You can refer to the USDA’s Hardiness Zones for more information. Your selected plants should be able to adapt to specific planting spots in terms of moisture, light, drainage, and soil quality. The more exposed your plants are to these conditions, the more they will become resistant to attacks. When purchasing seeds, ensure you go for those that are not chemically raised. The best place to check out for this type of seeds is your local farmers’ market. You would also come across native plants that will thrive successfully in your beautiful garden.
When planting your crops, ensure that you group plants that will be harvested in beds that are less prone to human steps. Such plants include cutting flowers or vegetables. The essence of grouping plants is that it reduces water waste and weeding, and at the same time, channel a considerable amount of nutrients and compost. Additionally, spacing each row promotes air circulation. One thing you should avoid when planting is overshadowing as seedlings don’t remain minute overtime. To get the best result with limited space and time, these plants are worth selecting:
- Swiss Chard: Swiss Chard retains its tenderness at all times, even when their outer leaves are taken off for months, as long as they are provided with enough water.
- Indeterminate Tomatoes: Unlike the determinate tomatoes that reach a mature height and produce all their fruits at once, indeterminate tomatoes are vining plants that grow longer and bigger. They also produce new fruits constantly until frost.
- Zucchini: This is a summer squash that can grow over 3.2 feet, equivalent to one meter in length, and are usually harvested during a period of immaturity. It provides a lot of health benefits.
- Pole Beans (Non-Hybrid): This type of plant grows at a considerable rate and produce more seeds as you pick them, until frost.
Watering Tips For Your Garden
As you give your plants the right nutrients they need, it is also essential to water them consistently. The best time to water your plants is in the morning. Due to the less wind associated with this period of the day, there is a reduced amount of evaporation. Watering your plants in the evening is not ideal as they tend to stay damp overnight, making them more prone to fungal and bacterial diseases. When watering, concentrate on the roots, rather than the leaves, to prevent them from being damaged. It is best to water the plant base with your hands.
If you have an established plant, then apply a substantial but infrequent amount of water to it – ideally one inch of water weekly. To promote deeper rooting, apply the same amount of water once or twice a week. For your tender greenery, use water that is close to or at air temperature, preferably rainwater.
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