Anyone can enjoy the relaxation and fruitful benefits of cultivating their own organic garden. Starting to garden can be intimidating at first. So, what exactly should a novice learn and do when they want to start growing plants? Start by reading the tips and advice in this article to get you started. There is a lot to learn, but this will get you started on your journey. Then you can read through some of the more advanced organic gardening articles on the site.
- Involve The Whole Family
- Soil Testing
- Artificial Heating In Winter
- Use Mulch In Your Organic Garden
- Keep Organized
- Laundry Basket
- Composting Principles
- Garden Mulching
- Use Climbers To Create Shade Zones
- Leave Some Areas Of Your Garden Wild
- Don’t Overwater Your Plants
- Pests In The Organic Garden
- Build Raised Beds
- Prepare New Areas For Growing
- Harvesting Time
- Planting Time
- Coffee Grounds
- Choose The Right Plants
- Save Your Best Plants For Next Season
- Consider A Greenhouse To Extend The Growing Season
- Stay Healthy In The Garden
- Gardening With Kids
- Recreate A Natural Environment
Involve The Whole Family
Involve the whole family in your gardening hobby; children find growing things to be very interesting. You can provide a good learning experience that your children can appreciate the more they learn on how to grow healthy produce.
If you want to get serious about growing food, the first thing you should do when planning any garden is test the soil. You can obtain a soil analysis for a nominal fee from a provider or purchase a soil testing kit for yourself. Using that report, you can amend your soil as needed for a thriving garden. The cost of the analysis will be easily offset by the benefits of a healthy and vibrant crop.
There is also a self checklist of things you can do to pinpoint any general problems your garden soil may have. It is called the Willamette Valley Soil Quality Guide and was developed by Richard Dick, Ph.D., from Oregon State University:
- Soil structure and tilth:
- Soil Organisms:
- Plant Residue:
- Plant Vigor:
- Root Development:
- Water Infiltration:
- Water Availability:
Artificial Heating In Winter
Indoor plants need an environment that is between 65 and 75 degrees. Warm temperatures encourage plant growth. Heat lamps can be used to promote growth without the necessity of raising your home’s interior temperature.
Use Mulch In Your Organic Garden
Organic material piled three inches deep is an effective mulch in your flower gardens. Covering the beds with mulch serves multiple purposes; it helps the flowers by retaining moisture and adding nutrients, and it discourages the growth of unwanted plants. This will also make your flowers appear beautiful and finished all year long.
Newspaper As Mulch
Want to know a quick and easy way to kill weeds naturally? Take layers of newspapers and layer them flat on the soil surface for controlling weeds. Weeds can’t grow without light. As a result of the layers of newspaper, sunlight will be blocked and weeds won’t grow. Newspapers tend to break down into compost over time. A layer of mulch can be put on top of the newspapers to look more attractive.
Organize Your Gardening Tools
When you are doing work in your garden, be efficient. Don’t waste your time by looking all over for your tools. Set up the tools you will need for your day prior to hitting the garden, then put them away neatly at the end of your gardening session. Get a tool belt if you need to, or a pair of pants with a lot of pockets.
It is all about work efficiently in your garden. Wasting time finding tools is inefficient gardening, not to mention, very frustrating. Have all of your tools gathered and prepared for use before you work in the garden, and make sure to put them away neatly in an organised manner. You can keep your garden tools in a tool belt, or in your pockets. Another good idea is to keep them all in a bucket that you carry around with you.
Do A Little In The Garden Frequently
Do not let all the chores for your organic garden pile up. Even if you are too busy to concentrate on your garden’s needs every day, you can do little things that will prevent you from having so much to do when your back to your garden. When you’re outside, pull a few weeds while waiting for your dog to finish his business.
An old laundry basket works great for gathering produce from your garden. A benefit of using something like a laundry basket is that it can strain for you, as well as hold a large amount of produce. Rinse your crops while in the laundry basket to strain the excess water.
When composting lawn clippings, leaves, and other materials, it is best to add the same amount of green, freshly-cut material as you do dried material. Add grass clippings, waste from fruits and vegetables, leaves, and weeds for the green materials in your compost pile. Dried plant material comprises shredded paper, cardboard, sawdust, and straw. Charcoal, ashes or other diseased plants should not be included in a compost pile. Also, never put meat in your compost or even the waste from your family pets. These can harbor diseases that won’t be killed by the composting process.
Your soil will be healthier if you add mulch. Mulch will protect and nourish the soil. On hot days, mulch will offer protection to a plant’s root system by cooling the soil. Mulch slows down evaporation, thus helps your soil retain its moisture. This also helps all the weeds you have stay under control.
Organic material piled three inches deep is an effective mulch in your flower gardens. Covering the beds with mulch serves multiple purposes; it helps the flowers and vegetables by retaining moisture and adding nutrients, and it discourages the growth of unwanted plants. This will also make your flowers stand out against the mulch and appear more vibrant against the mulched surface.
Pine needles make a great organic mulch. Some plants like acidic soil because they have high acidity. For such plants, pine needles function both as a handy mulch and as a soil amendment to lower the pH. Cover the plots with pine needles. As the pine needles decay, they’ll raise the soil’s acidity.
Use Climbers To Create Shade Zones
Cover fences and walls with lots of climbers. These versatile plants can grow over fences to enhance the fence’s appearance. Often, climbers grow quickly, so you’ll get the effect you want by the time the season changes. You can also train climbers to cover arbors and other things that you want covered, and they will even grow right through trees and shrubs. A number of climbers need to be attached to a support, but others just take care of their own attachments via tendrils and stems that twine. Honeysuckle and jasmine are very beautiful varieties of such climbers.
Leave Some Areas Of Your Garden Wild
If you want a sustainable garden, leave part of it undisturbed as a home for the wildlife in the area. Certain wildlife can be good for an organic garden; birds and insects can help your plants reproduce and be as healthy as they can be!
Wildlife can help the plants in your garden to thrive, as insects support plant reproduction, while the excrement of many species contains nutrients which can help to fertilize your soil.
Don’t Overwater Your Plants
Take care not to overwater your plants, as this can prevent the roots from drawing the proper amount of nutrients out of the soil. Don’t go ahead and water your garden if the weather report predicts rain that day. Depending on what the weather is going to be like, you might not want to water your plants for the day.
Pests In The Organic Garden
Avoid Using Any Pesticides If Possible
Pest control is very difficult if you are dealing with your veggie garden. You want to avoid spraying harsh chemicals since the vegetables are meant for consumption. Remain alert in order to control garden pests. By noticing them at an early stage, you can simply pluck them away from your plants with your fingers.
There are many natural substances that are effective for warding off unwanted visitors. For example, planting a border consisting of marigolds or onions can repel slugs. Wood ash, when used as mulch, can help keep insects away from trees and shrubs. Using these methods eliminates your need of chemical pesticides.
Use Organic Pesticides If Necessary
Look up local botanical insecticides; they can be very useful in keeping the pest population at bay. In many cases, organic insecticides work even better than commercial products that are full of chemicals. However, botanical insecticides do not last as long due to their composition.
Use Boiling Water To Kill Weeds
Try “boiling” weeds to get rid of them. Any vessel of boiling water that you can carry safely can be used as an organic herbicide. Just pour boiling water directly on top of the weeds cautiously to avoid damaging your plants. Boiling water is not good for the weed roots and will stunt further growth.
Watch Out For Stink Bugs
If you’re planning on gardening, carefully watch for stink bugs! You should be particularly careful during Autumn. They like to feast on all kinds of fruits, as well as peppers, tomatoes, and beans. If you do not check, they do a lot of damage to plants so try to get rid of them if you can.
Watch For Fungus
Ensuring your plants are both dry and aerated is a great way to keep them healthy. Many diseases, as well as most parasites, prefer moisture. Fungi are parasites that are common in the plant world. Fungicide sprays can deal with fungal infestations, but they are most effective if you apply them before a fungus problem becomes noticeable.
Chamomile tea can be effective if you have problems with fungus in your garden. Simply sprinkle it on the affected plant.
Manage Slugs And Snails
Fill a jar with beer so it comes to one inch below the jar’s top. Bury the jar in the soil enough to keep it stable. Slugs and snails are attracted by the beer and won’t be able to exit the jar. Throw the happily drowned slugs and snails in the compost periodically.
Do not spend your money on chemicals to fight mildew. Rather, you should mix a bit of baking soda with a small quantity of liquid soap in water. Then, spray this mixture onto all of your infected plants once each week till the mildew is gone. Baking soda will effectively remove the mildew without damaging your plants.
Asprin To Stop Plant Disease
Using a solution of aspirin and water can prevent certain plant diseases. Dissolve three aspirin in four gallons of water. Spray the plants with the aspirin water to assist plants in battling disease. Give your plants a spray of the aspirin-water mixture about one time every three weeks.
Build Raised Beds
Build raised beds with untreated stone, brick or wood. Any wood you use needs to be untreated and resistant to rot. Some good woods are locust, cedar and cypress. If you use your garden to grow vegetables, avoid using wood that has been treated with chemicals. These toxic chemicals may seep into the soil, damaging your crops. If the ground cover you’ve used already contained treated lumber, line it with a barrier of some form.
Prepare New Areas For Growing
It is simple to prepare your garden for perennial flowers or vegetables. Simple slice into the soil with a spade, flip the turf, and mulch the area with 3 to 4 inches of wood chips. Give this area at least a few weeks, then you can dig into the area and plant the new perennials.
Be aware of the optimum time frame for harvesting vegetables. Different vegetables and fruits have their ideal seasons and months where they flourish, survive, and are harvested at the highest quality. Zucchini and baby peas, for example, have the best flavor when harvested early. Tomatoes, in contrast, taste better the longer they are allowed to ripen on the vine. So, make sure you do some research, and find out when the best time to harvest your vegetables is.
Whenever you plant tomatoes in your garden, plant multiple sets about three weeks apart. Doing this will cause your harvest to come in at differing times, allowing you to gather up the majority of them and cut your losses. If there’s an issue with one of your harvests, you’ll still have a batch of tomatoes that are good to go.
Seeds should be soaked in a dark area overnight. Place some seeds into a small container, then fill it with water until it is almost to the top. This will allow seeds to be watered and they will get a kick start when growing. This will also give your seeds a much better chance to survive and mature.
A rule of thumb followed by many planters is to bury the seeds in soil to a depth of around three times the diameter of the actual seed. You should know that certain seeds need not be covered, because they need the sunlight. Petunias and ageratum are two examples of seeds that require sunlight. If you are unsure about your seed’s requirements for sunlight, the resources are often provided along with the seeds, or you can find out online.
Do not plant your seeds in a rush. First, add moisture to the soil where you will be planting. Then, evenly spread the seeds according to the type of plant and how much room they require for good growth. You should bury your seeds deep enough, usually three times their size. Some seeds require light for growing and must not be buried.
Pet Your Plants (Yes That’s Right!)
In your organic garden, when you are growing seedlings, try gently petting them once or twice a day, which can either be with your palms or with another piece of cardboard like a sheet of cardboard. Believe it or not, researchers have found that using this technique can actually help to increase the size of your plants.
Add used coffee grounds to your soil. They contain nitrogenous nutrients which are essential to plant growth. Plants need nitrogen in order to thrive, so give it a natural source with coffee grounds, then watch everything come to life much more quickly.
Choose The Right Plants
Plants That Resist Slugs And Snails
Choosing the right plants at the start makes a big differece. Don’t plant perennials that are prone to snail infestation. Slugs and snails are voracious eaters that can destroy a plant literally overnight. Snails and slugs have a good time destroying certain perennials that are young and have tender and smooth thin leaves, while leaving others alone. Some perennials are not preferred meals for snails and slugs, especially if their foliage is hairy and tough, or tastes bad. Selecting an unappetizing perennial, such as campanula or heuchera, will help stop them from being eaten.
Consider Hybrid Varieties
When selecting among several varieties of a plant, choose the ones that will produce the largest yield. In many cases, a disease-resistant or cold-tolerant hybrid will produce a higher yield than a traditional variety.
Bulbs Are A Good Choice
Bulbs planted in the spring can flower all the way into summer. Bulbs are hardy, easy to grow into flowers, and will blossom for several years. Bulbs bloom during different seasons, if you pick them carefully you will have flowers almost all year.
Save Your Best Plants For Next Season
As the weather turns colder, it is important to prepare your sensitive shrubs for the change. Any potted shrubs should be sheltered in the winter from cold weather. Connect the tops, and then place a sheet over the top of the wigwam. This is a much better method, instead of putting the plastic wrap around the plant. It allows proper air circulation that can prevent rotting.
When winter comes, you can save a few plants by transferring them inside the house. You may be able to save your most resistant or expensive plants. Dig carefully around their roots and place them into a pot.
Consider A Greenhouse To Extend The Growing Season
Plants need a sufficient amount of CO2 for proper maximum growth. Plants will not thrive if they don’t have an adequate amount of CO2. The best way to obtain a saturated level of carbon dioxide (CO2) is to use a greenhouse. CO2 levels, when kept high, give your plants optimal growing conditions.
Stay Healthy In The Garden
Be Sun Smart When Working In The Garden
Always protect yourself from the sun when you are outdoors working in the garden; you can do this by wearing clothes that will shield you from the sun. Try wearing a large sunhat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes, and use sunscreen on any exposed skin. Protecting yourself from the sun will lower your chances of getting skin cancer, as well as prevent premature aging from sun damage.
Protect Yourself From Pathogens In The Garden
Always completely protect any cuts, or wait until they are healed before attempting any gardening, as this can introduce dirt or chemicals into the wound. If grime gets into the cut, it could become infected. The key is to use bandages capable of covering cuts in their entirety.
Protect Your Joints In The Garden
Make sure you protect your knees well while you are gardening. Bending over for a long while is quite difficult for a lot of people. You should kneel while tending to your plants for the sake of reducing stress to your spine. Place a cushioning kneeling pad on the ground or wear knee pads to make kneeling more comfortable.
Gardening With Kids
Organic gardening is a safe hobby to share with your children. Helping a garden grow is an excellent learning experience for kids, and it allows your family to spend time together while creating healthy, nutritious foods. Kids are also much more likely to eat the things that they helped plant and look after in the garden.
Strawberries For Kids
If you have children, plant strawberries, especially everbearing strawberries, in your organic garden. Children find it fun to pick strawberries and love to assist with the harvest if they get some yummy treats as they work.
Recreate A Natural Environment
Make sure you have a diverse orgainic garden. The more variety of plants there are, the more wildlife that will come – and in an organic garden, the wildlife is your friend (most of it at least). Plant all types of plant varieties to make the garden to replicate a natural environment as much as possible. When you accomplish this, your garden will be a pleasurable place that you can relax in, and you will also feel great satisfaction from knowing you did your part for the environment.
It is by now obvious how beneficial and enjoyable organic gardening can truly be when you know how to approach it. There is so much fun and relaxation to be had as one tries to make their garden grow properly. Using these tips, you can become an excellent organic gardener.