Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting Into Organic Gardening

Instead of chemicals in your soil and on your food, why not try organic gardening?Begin with just a few plants in pots or a small garden area, tuck a few vegetables in your flower beds, or go really wild and make your whole yard into a garden! 

Actually, if it’s your first garden, it’s better to start small.It's easy for gardeners to plant more than they can easily care for. Looking at all the goodies in gardening catalogs makes us want to plant everything we see!Growing lots of yummy vegetables is a worth ambition and can be a lot of fun, but it's also a lot of work.Once you got into the hoeing and weeding and harvesting, you'd likely wish you hadn't planted such a big garden.It's better to start small and work you way up to having a big garden!

On Location…

Like the real estate agents are fond of saying, “It’s all about location, location, location.While some plants grow in the shade, generally speaking, vegetables needs a whole lot of sun to do well.One thing you can't provide artifically is ample sunshine. Even a huge bank of portable lights wouldn't do the job, not to mention being outrageously impractical.

Practically speaking, any garden, organic or otherwise, needs sunshine.To get the best results, 6 hours of sun are necessary for your garden plot or where you place your pots of plants.It's handy to have your garden close to the house so you can get to it easily, but sometimes shade from the house or surrounding trees make it impossible.Having a garden close to the house is nice, but sunshine is more important.

Be sure your garden location not only gets ample sunshine, but drains well so the plants don’t sit in water.It's great to have fertile soil, but you can always add soil amendments if needed.

Down and Dirty

Adding compost will help your soil no matter what type it is.To improve the soil so plants will grow better, you can also use natural fertilizers and organic materials.  Most vegetable roots are in the top 6 inches of soil, so tilling or double digging will easily mix the materials into the soil where the roots can reach it.

Time to Plant

Seed catalogs and nurseries are brimming with all types of vegetables.Take into account what kind of vegetables you and your family like to eat, then choose varieties that will do well in your area.Cool weather crops like peas, for instance, woudn't do well in the heat of a southern summer, while a slow maturing crop like peanuts need a longer summer than most northern locations can provide.

A mulch of organic material around the vegetables will help conserve water, add humus and nutrients, plus discourage the growth of weeds.It's a good way to improve your garden soil and help your plants grow better!

Don’t Let Them Bug You

Where there’s lovely young plants, there’s bugs looking for a meal.Spraying plants with plain or soapy water will dislodge bugs, or hand picking caterpillars and other bad bugs off plants is another option..  

 Not all bugs are bad, and some are even beneficial such as ladybugs, green lacewings, praying mantis, spiders and wasps since they eat insects that try to eat your vegetables. 

Companion planting with insect repellant plants such as marigolds or nasturtiums can also help keep bugs away from your garden.

It also helps to learn to live with a certain amount of imperfections.Taste is what's important. A vegetable doesn't have to be 100% perfect to taste 100% wonderful.Problem spots can be cut away from the food before eating it.

Get The Weeds Out!

You can call a weed "a plant growing in the wrong place.That's a pretty good definition.If something is growing you didn't plant, consider it a weed and get rid ot it.However you want to do the job, just keep the weeds out of your organic garden.There is only so much water and nutrients in the soil to go around, and weeds steal some your vegetable plants could be using.

It's Time To Garden!

Keeping the garden weed and bug free, placing it in a good location with fertile soil, and planting the right vegetables are all the right ingredients for a super organic garden.  Growing an organic garden is a wonderful way to put great tasting food in your diet.Enjoy growing your own organic vegetables!

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