15 Tips for Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is gardening which uses matter from waste material of plants and animals rather than synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organic matter includes decaying leaves, animal waste. grass clippings, vegetable peelings and scraps, waste from the kitchen, and more.
Today, many are involved in organic gardening to produce organic vegetables and fruits. Organic gardening is not difficult and the rewards make the effort worthwhile.
We will share with you tips to help you on your way to organic gardening.
1) Develop the Soil
The soil is arguably the most important factor in growing organically. Organic material provides the solid base of nutrients needed to grow healthy organic vegetables and fruits. Time and effort must be put into developing organically rich soil to grow your vegetables. Organic scraps from fruits and vegetables and other food waste must be collected to develop and enrich the soil. Raised garden beds are one of the best ways to get a deep layer of fertile soil. It yields up to four times more than the conventional methods.
2) Make your Beds Rounded
A rounded bed is more space efficient and helps with the growing of your vegetables. The shape of your beds does make a difference. If the tops of raised beds are rounded to form an arc, the raised beds become more space efficient and overall give you more space to plant and grow your plants.
3) Space Out Smartly
Be very strategic in how you space out your plants. To maximize your yields, how you arrange your plants will be an important factor. Arranging the plants in triangles will result in more yields than arranging them in rows or squares.
It must be noted that there’s a fine balance between how tight or lose you space them out. Some plants won’t do well if they are crowded out and some won’t do well if there’s too much space between them and others; some need others as support to grow on.
4) Go Vertical
If growing space is an issue for you, you can maximize your space by growing plants which tend to grow very vertically like tomatoes, pole beans, peas, squash, melons, cukes and more. Getting cages, fences, stakes and trellises will be needed to serve as supports for these plants.
5) Choose Plants Wisely
Different plants have different characteristics and issues. It’s important that you carefully choose which plants you want to start gardening with. Tomatoes are naturally more susceptible to pest and disease issues than other plants. To make gardening easier, look for disease resistant varieties of plants. You can research it or look on packets, plant tags, catalog listings, etc.
6) Naturally Feed Plants
It goes without saying that for organic gardening, we want to only deal with organic matter for our garden. Hence, we want to feed our plants with only organic matter like animal manure, vegetable and food waste which can be turned into compost with a composter. It defeats the whole purpose of organic gardening if you use non-organic matter to fertilize your plants.
7) Rotation Rotation Roation
A good technique to practice with gardening is to rotate the vegetables each year. Rotating your crops help reduce pest and disease issues in addition to resolving nutrient deficiencies and excesses.
8) Practice Succession Planting
With Succession planting, you grow more than one crop in a given area during the growing season. This technique allows you to harvest multiple crops from a given plot of land.
9) Lengthen Your Season
You can grow another crop by extending your season by adding a few week to the end of the growing season. To get the extra weeks of production, you will need to keep the air around the plants warm, even when the weather is cold, by using mulches, row covers, coldframes or cloches.
10) Mulch Properly
Mulching is very important in gardening. Not only does mulching help reduce weeds; it also creates a barrier which prevents fungal disease spores from getting on the leaves. It is suggested that a layer of mulch 1 to 2 inches thick is sufficient for gardening
Moreover, organic matter mulch is the best mulch to use as it will decompose and add organic matter to the soil. A garden soil which is mulched regularly only requires about a 1 inch layer of compost yearly to maintain its quality.
11) Attack Weeds
Weeds are not the friend of a gardener. Weeds compete with your plants for the nutrients, water and space. But they also attract insect pests which spread disease as they feed from one plant to another.
12) Water Smartly
It is a wise gardening technique to water your plants in the morning an not he afternoon or evening. Powdery mildew and other fungal diseases are often spread by high humidity; hence, watering the plants in the morning instead of the afternoon or evening prevents that.
Moreover, its also a good technique to water deeply and thoroughly. Your plants will keep their roots near the surface if they are watered frequently and if it is shallow watering. This makes the roots less hardy and more likely to suffer when deprived of water.
13) Keep It Clean
It’s a good habit to keep your garden clean of fallen twigs, branches, leaves etc. Many diseases spread from fallen foliage, diseased leaves, etc.
14) Plant Flowers
Planting flowers will attract beneficial bugs which will attack insect pests such as aphids and tomato hornworms.
15) Beneficial Insects
We discussed above how planting flowers can attract beneficial bugs. Educate yourself on which plants attack insects, which plants invite them and what each bug eats. Ladybugs eats aphids. By inviting ladybugs in your garden by planting the flowers ladybugs likes, you get them in your garden to attack aphids.
Additionally, the following plants attract beneficial insects- Bachelor’s Button, Cleame, Cosmos, Black-eyed Susan, Daisy, Marigold, Nasturtum, Purple Coneflower, Salvia, Sunflower, Yarrow and Zinnia.