Organic gardening is the staple of the healthy nutrition and life without illnesses, problems, and complications. The difference that organic food makes is more than big – the level of nutrients and antioxidants, the processing of the food, its durability and lifespan, and much more. If you’re aware of your health, you should get into the organic food as fast as possible.
Organic gardening involves no chemicals, no preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and almost no technology at all. This way of gardening is healthier for the gardener, and the consumer saves the environment and requires less money overall. So, no wonder that many people are starting their organic gardens. Today we’re tackling this issue: How to start an organic garden without mistakes so that you can reap all the benefits later.
What does it mean to grow organically?
To grow organically, you must maintain the simple, yet difficult-to-implement and sometimes expensive rule: No artificial, synthetic components in the garden, from the ground up.
To start an organic garden, your soil must be free from any artificial processing, without a trace of any pesticide or herbicide, and has no signs of plastic components that are used to prolong the plant lifespan or protect the plants from bugs and sicknesses. Next, the seeds you use must be organic, which means they can’t have any synthetic or artificial component in their compound, even to a bacterial level.
During the plant’s growth, you can treat them with organically made products, and organic materials. The process itself shouldn’t contain anything artificial – it concentrates on the basic, harder process of gardening, which produces healthier, cleaner, and nutrient-rich products. Not to mention the taste, texture, and aroma of the veggies and fruit, the scent of the flowers, and colors of the entire garden.
Benefits of Organic Gardening
Organic gardening brings significant benefits to one’s health, in numerous ways. From the produce consumption to the process of developing the plants and fruitage, gardening will positively impact your life, the way you think and behave, and your perception. Here are four major benefits of organic gardening you should know about:
1. Organic Gardening Lowers the Amount of Pesticides You Consume
Organic gardeners care about their gardens from the ground up. This means that the soil is treated to be free of any pesticides, herbicides, and similar stuff.
These dangerous chemicals are manufactured to improve the plant’s durability, increase the fruitage contingent and prevent illnesses and any external factors from jeopardizing the final product. Pesticides and similar chemicals can cause cancer and many other diseases.
Next, those chemicals are avoided in treatment throughout the plant’s whole life, which means less artificial durability and protection, but more nutrients, healthier texture, and plainly organic development, without rushing or anything artificial.
In the end, this means that your garden will produce healthy, non-toxic fruit and vegetables.
2. Helps in Conserving the Environment
Pesticides mentioned above doesn’t affect the plants and the soil; unfortunately, these dangerous chemicals influence the air around the whole garden, and with the power of wind, can spread throughout the area, affecting the environment significantly.
More and more research and global warnings show us that environment deeply affects our health, makes us weaker, less resistant to illnesses, weakens our organs and immune system.
Next, pesticides can move through the soil and water, and end in your garden produce instead where you might intend to use them. Their effect on the environment is substantial, and organic gardening solves this problem with great efficiency since pesticides are completely forbidden.
3. Saves Money
This one might sound unconventional, but it is true. The misconception of organic produce starts with the end price on the market shelf – it’s almost three times higher than standardized, chemically treated veggies and fruit.
But the difference lies in the long run; the organic gardening requires composting, which provides a healthy replacement for the pricey items that help your garden. Because it becomes sustainable in few seasons, organic garden (based on composting) will require almost no money for maintenance.
Composting comes as a recycling of organic materials (your greens, food waste, etc.) which are so much healthier for your soil and plants.
4. Food Looks & Tastes So Much Better
This benefit is one of the most important; organic fruit and vegetables are at entirely different league than regular ones. The difference between the two comes in every aspect you’d consider for quality produce to have; the looks, the size, the colors, the taste, the texture, the insides, the outsides… You name it.
First and foremost, organic food develops slower, which means it takes more time to develop. Take a ripe tomato for example – the organic one will be smaller, but way better in texture, will have a richer color, and the texture and juices inside will be much more intense.
The taste between the two tomatoes is also highly notable; the standardized, chemically treated one will often look and taste like plastic, and will stay in that state for longer (so the hypermarkets have more time to sell it). Organic one, on the other hand, will be ripe for way less time, and be softer, and way more fragile. It will look more natural, and taste like the real tomato should.
The benefits are many, but these four should be enough for you to start putting some interest in the organic movement. Now, let’s go through the step-by-step process of starting your organic garden.
Step-by-step Process of Starting Your Organic Garden
If you’re reading this part, congratulations! You’re now an official organic gardener!
Here’s what you need to sort out to begin the organic gardening process:
1. Choose the right space for garden
As you may have noticed already, the soil where you’ll grow your plants is the major factor in the organic gardening. You simply can’t pick any place and start. On the other hand, you might already have the garden in a specific location, but you can’t know is the soil adequate. When choosing the place, pay attention to the sun, water, and the wind. Those will all be quite important for your garden.
First, you should inspect the soil, or make room for new, fresh organic soil which you can acquire from organic shops. The area of your garden should be as large as you want but have your preferences and requirements in mind.
Good advice for beginners – start small.
Checking the soil in the nearest agricultural office is the smartest thing to do from the start. Based on the results of your sample, the nice people there will give you advice on how to proceed. If your soil is “worn out” or contains traces of chemicals or even chemicals themselves, you’ll get the proper treatment instructions, which you should follow to the finest detail. If you don’t have these services at your near disposal, you can adhere to PH values checking. These metrics are very important because different plants require different PH values in the soil.
2. Prepare the soil
Autumn is the right time of the year for testing, and winter is ideal for treatment of the ground since there’s no planting during the coldest season of the year.
Warning: This might include waiting up to six months for the soil to recover and get clean.
A healthy soil should have a lot of organic humus, compost, and if possible, animal manure. You can make your own compost (and you certainly will later), or buy it.
3. Optional – Gardening in the Raised Bed
Often people opt for this solution when the soil they have available isn’t of the desired quality, or the terrain is impassable, etc. The latitude and availability can provide a significant ease of use and controlled environment, which is a big plus when starting out. For example, your backyard garden soil requires a six-month treatment before proper usage, but you can make a few square feet raised bed and experiment indoors. Get 32 ideas for building raised bed here.
Make sure to provide the quality compost and hummus for your raised bed, and keep the latitude and height in mind based on your plant roots. Same goes to the foundation of the bed; work with layers of soil and compost.
4. Selecting Seeds
When starting out, you might be in a quite the dilemma when picking the seeds. There are quite the many sources of quality seed products on the global market, but you want to avoid any seed that has been treated with chemicals.
When selecting seeds, pay attention to the plants and vegetable cultures that thrive in your climate area and region. Be careful not to make a mistake selecting an inappropriate plant for the type of soil well. Get informed before you start; you’ll avoid mistakes and make better decisions.
The final step of preparation is complete, and now comes the fun part; putting the seeds into the soil and doing your first victory dance. The planting pattern should incorporate the plants into the best possible formation, since it will regulate the water delivery, and serve as a protection from the weather. Tightly planted rows with ample space between them is one of the traditional methods for vegetables and fruit because of the ease of access and all the benefits of grouping.
Dig a hole proportional to the seed or root you’re using, and put it inside gently. Backfill the soil gently (hold the plant if you’re using a small root) and tamper the area tightly. Water the plant with a lot of water, but don’t go overboard; allow the soil to soak it thoroughly. Repeat until you finish planting.
When you complete the process, do the victory dance. Your organic garden is set!
Taking Care of Your Organic Garden
This is what the process of organic gardening is all about; taking care of your plants regularly, and watching them progress. Here are the most important aspects (and how to perform those duties properly) of organic gardening after the start:
Frequent watering is of the utmost importance to your plants, especially because you’re going organic. Plants require a lot of water in the process of development. You should water your plants according to the required amount and never go for too much. Take the weather into consideration when planning the watering process as well, and invest in a fine watering can. If you’re going bigger, a watering system will go a long way. The best time to water the plants is the morning; this period of the day is the best for water retention. Here’s a DIY tutorial on how to install a sprinkler system.
2. Use of compost and manure
Adding compost and manure on top of the garden surface protects the plant, feeds the soil and enhances the growth, stimulates the health and photosynthesis. This is very important for the development of the plant. Next, the soil is fed with proper nutrients as well, providing a healthy foundation for the plants to flourish. More nutrients in the ground equal healthier plant, and eventually, healthier fruitage.
The most problems you’ll experience growing your organic garden will be around weeding. The organic soil attracts all kinds of plants, and the organic fertilizers contain many living organisms which can develop in this healthy environment. It’s important to check your garden frequently for weed and unwanted inhabitants. Don’t mistake the worms for unwanted guests though; they are a sign of a quality soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
As it gains popularity, organic gardening will always be a topic to discuss. From the people who are doing it, to the newcomers, to ones who are just getting interested; organic gardening has a ton of info and questions to be answered.
Here we’ll list some of the most frequent questions that appear on the web:
Do I need organic seed to start an organic garden?
Absolutely. The chemically treated seeds (that are usually way cheaper and more available on the market) contain traces of many harmful toxins, are GMO enhanced, and have other negative features. Your healthy & organic soil doesn’t deserve anything except the best, right?
What should I plant in my area/region/zone? When?
This question doesn’t have a universal answer. It all depends on your location, the weather season, the intensity of your climate zone, and your needs. On the other hand, if the plants of your choice aren’t suitable for the area/region you plan to plant, you can always opt for indoor gardening. There are things like grow tents and moisturizers, lights, and much more available, which can produce an artificial, but perfect conditions for your plants.
What can be used as an organic fertilizer?
In the shortest form – many, many things, as long as they are organic. This includes decomposed turf, animal excrements, rotten and decomposing vegetables, human waste and more. Here are some ideas and recipes for organic fertilizing.
Is the organic as efficient compared with the chemical enhancements?
This question comes from the people who look at the organic gardening from a shallow standpoint. These people are often repelled by the prices of the organic fruit and vegetables on the market, followed by the fact that organic gardening requires more work because of the exclusion of the chemicals.
Even though there is truth behind these claims, organic gardening is as efficient as standard when is conducted properly. It takes more work and care, more time, and more resources at the beginning, but beats the standardized gardening & produce significantly as soon as the first harvest begins.
Organic gardening has made a big entrance in the recent years and now is here to stay. The differences and advantages compared to conventional gardening are more than obvious, and the reasons to start (or switch to) this way are abundant. The highly positive impact on health, environment, and your pocket make this new way a two-sided revolution. On the one side, the method brings better, more nutritious, high-quality produce, and on the other, it is based on a primal way of gardening, without a modern approach that utilizes laboratory-tested and chemically-induced substances.
The only question that remains is – are you ready to take the plunge and go organic?
I am Jane – a housewife. I live in a warm family with my husband and lovely kids. Two years ago, I started making my backyard into a garden, which supplies significant veggies for my family. I create this blog – puffycarrot.com in order to share my experience and what I’ve learned in gardening. Hope you will find something helpful for your own here.