Some of the best-tasting food you’ll ever eat can be grown in your own back yard. Think of the variety! A ripe, juicy watermelon or a fresh, crisp carrot, can add to your meal. Not to mention the money you can save growing your own, verses the grocery store. In addition, you can grow you produce naturally, without enhancers. Following are some tips to help you become an organic gardener:
Start your organic garden with a good strategic plan. This helps you know exactly where each plant will go in your garden so that you can maximize the few hours you have to garden each day. As part of your plan, take notes on what plants you will use to replace short-lived crops such as spinach and lettuce.
A great tip when beginning an organic gardening is to add lime to your seed-starter mix. This is done to reduce the acidity of your peat. Too much acidity can damage it. You should aim to add around 1/4 teaspoon of lime in every single gallon of your seed-starter mix.
Use approximately two or three inches of natural, organic material as some mulch in every single flower bed. A thick layer of mulch will prevent weeds, reduce watering needs and fertilize your garden. Your flower beds should also look beautiful all year long.
Manage your garden hose to prevent frustration. Garden hoses, especially longer or heavy duty ones, can become unwieldy and annoying when you have to drag them around the garden, all twisted up. Invest in a portable hose reel or a stationary one, depending on your garden configuration, to more easily manage your garden hose and make storing it fast and easy.
Toads can be a gardener’s best friend because of all the troublesome bugs they eat. To attract toads to come visit your garden and stay awhile, keep the garden bedding moist and offer some places where they can safely hide from predators of their own. A useful trick many gardeners use is to place old, broken clay flower pots upside down in the garden to function as a comfy shelter for the hard-working toads.
Location is very important to organic gardening. Your garden should be in an area that will get at least ten hours of sunlight during the summer. Prior to starting your garden, make sure that your location does not have any large obstructions that will cast shadows and block the sun. Plants need an adequate amount of sunlight to live.
When growing organic plants, you should move your containers to a bright area immediately upon sprouting. This is because the seedlings need a minimum of 12 hours of light per day in order to properly grow. You can use a greenhouse, a sunny area, or a couple of fluorescent lights.
When you are thinking about starting an organic garden, figure out a plan. Creating a plan for where you want to place each plant will be time saving. If you have a short amount of time that can be spent in your garden, having a plan could help you make the most out of that time.
A carpenter’s belt is a great investment for any organic gardener. This is because organic gardening involves many small tools that are all frequently used such as trowels, water sprays, pruners, and gloves. Rather than making several trips back and forth between your shed and the garden, a tool belt can help you carry all of your tools at all times.
While organic gardening is a great way to know exactly what is being put into your body you will have to give a little more care in washing and looking over your produce. This is because there are no products used on the produce which can lead to more bruising and pests.
Short, low-lying weeds can be a headache in any organic garden. The best tactic for dealing with such intruders is to use a spade to cut them out at root level and bury them entirely under fresh soil. Dense, crawling weeds are too hard to pick out individually, but fortunately they are easily handled in bulk.
Get rid of Japanese beetles. Once quite rare, and only found in the eastern United States, these pesky beetles are now moving west. They attack many different types of herbs and vegetables and are difficult to eradicate once established. Handpick them in the early morning by shaking tree limbs and branches. Bait them by mixing together water, sugar and mashed fruit. Place this concoction in a sunny spot at least 1 inch off the ground. Strain out the beetles every morning. Plant ‘trap’ crops between vegetables and flowers: Japanese beetles favor marigold, borage and evening primrose. If you plant these throughout your garden, they will naturally navigate toward those specific plants.
Follow the above suggestions to help you with your organic garden. Think of the benefits you get by gardening the natural way. Maybe the nutrition is your primary concern, or perhaps you are looking for a way to cut cost. Whatever the reason, enjoy taking a bit out of that ripe, juicy watermelon or a fresh, crisp carrot!