With so much going on with food importation and how fresh foods are becoming rare sights in most homes, many people are beginning to realize the importance of gardening and the impact it has on our wellbeing. As more people continue to gravitate towards gardening, innovative means of gardening such as vertical gardens and planters are becoming a popular sight in most neighborhoods.
While vertical planters are not the focus of this piece, you should have them at the back of your mind because they will come in handy at one point in your gardening journey. Having mentioned that, let’s dive straight into organic vegetable gardening and how you can get started already and without breaking a sweat.
What is organic gardening?
Contrary to popular opinions about organic gardening, organic vegetable gardening simply means gardening without synthetic products like pesticides and fertilizers. If you intend to use natural products to grow your vegetables, you can boastfully say are into organic gardening.
While you are at it, you should have it at the back of your mind that your plants are a part of something bigger the larger natural system which includes the soil, water supply, wildlife, insects, and of course, humans. So, if you own an organic garden or are hoping to start one, the universe thanks you for your contribution towards sustaining life on earth.
While talks for modified foods are still a subject of discussion to date, we all know the importance of eating healthy foods, growing plants, and how it helps to keep the environment safe. As an organic gardener, your primary concern is to ensure that your activities don’t upset the natural ecosystem. As such, you will be concerned about taking a step to minimize the exploitation of natural resources and how to replenish resources that are being used in your garden.
Organic gardening helps you be in harmony with nature
Before now, not many gardeners are familiar with what organic gardening entail. But thankfully, they are gradually picking up on the idea and running with it. As we hinted earlier, organic gardening doesn’t stop with herbs, plants, and fruits alone it extends to vegetables as well. Hence the word “organic vegetable gardening.” The idea behind organic gardening is steering clear products like synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Opting for organic fertilizer for vegetables instead of their synthetic counterparts will result in minimal destruction of both the living and nonliving in the natural environment. Not to mention, replenishing resources that were utilized during gardening.
What are the essentials of organic vegetable gardening?
Unless you are just joining this point, you should already have an idea of what the essentials of organic gardening are. If you say environmental sustainability, you can go ahead and pat yourself on the back because you just hit the nail on the head.
The essentials or fundamentals of organic gardening revolve around cultivation practice that nourishes soil microbes and plants while also sustaining insects. So, when you hear, organic gardening, you should be thinking about soil management, weed management, and pest control. We will shed more light on that.
Soil management (as far as organic gardening is concerned) points at gardeners sticking to organic fertilizer for vegetables. Weed management talks about using manual labor and using organic ground covering (think mulching) instead of herbicides while pest control emphasizes the benefits of using beneficial insects and companion planting to deal with pests rather than insecticides. Combined they make up the fundamentals of organic gardening and every organic gardener must tinker along this line.
How to start your organic garden
Starting an organic garden isn’t as difficult or a Herculean task as people makes it seem. With basic knowledge of gardening, you can get started without running into a brick wall. The idea is to understand how the natural environment works and emulating it in your garden to minimize the spread of pests and diseases while steering clear synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
The easiest way to get started is to understand the makeup of the soil and give it what it wants. In organic gardening, there is a maxim that goes thus; “feed the soil, not the plant.” Back to the question, how do you start your organic garden?
Step 1: Prepare the soil
Preparing the soil entails making the soil nutritious and safe for your vegetables. This can be done by continuously adding organic matter to make natural nutrients available for the plants. That way, your organic vegetable seed won’t have problems growing and making your investments worthwhile.
Preparing the soil also involved testing the soil pH and assessing the soil composition to determine the best course of action you can take towards making the soil habitable for the plants. While you are at it, remember to steer clear of chemical soil treatments.
Step 2: Make good compost
In addition to using organic fertilizer for gardening, the next best option is using good compost. Composts can be made locally using leaves, grass trimmings, kitchen waste, and yard garbage. They help conserve water, hinder the growth of weeds, reduce the amount of yard waste going to landfills, and of course, make nutrients readily available to the plants. If you don’t know how to make good compost, you can get them from mulch suppliers or organic garden centers.
Step 3: choose the right plants
Having prepared the soil and boasted the nutrients with compost, you should be keen about getting the right plant. The results from the soil tests we mentioned earlier will also come in handy at this point because they will give you an idea of what plants will grow on a specific soil base on its microcondition.
You also have to be mindful of what plants will grow on different spots in your garden considering the drainage pattern, moisture content, and amount of sunlight reaching the area. Last but not least, you also have to pay attention to the climate conditions of the area and consider resistant varieties of organic vegetable seeds.
In addition to all of the steps listed above, it is always best to plant the crops in bed to prevent someone from stepping on them and destroying the soil surface during harvest. Ensure that your plants are adequately spaced, water the crops regularly (especially in the morning when the winds are low and the rate of evaporation is low. Weed at the right time and prune regularly to allow aeration. And always remember to use organic fertilizers.