Organic Gardening for beginners
If you're like me and just starting out then some useful information on "organic gardening for beginners" is exactly what you must read.
Planning your plot
Some key points to consider when starting your organic garden:
- Choose where to plant your garden. It should receive lots of sunlight, be protected from strong winds and have well-drained soil
- Decide on size, start small, choose your vegies and herbs that you love to eat and cook with
- My suggestion is to plant your vegies in raised beds approximately 10 inches in height or more rather than in rows. Make the beds small enough to weed and harvest all the plants easily and high enough so you are not bending down really low to tend to them
- Read space requirements of plants on seed packet and space out accordingly. Always purchase certified organic seeds available now from many garden centres, co-ops, organic markets and retail stores, online and from friends and family who already collect their seeds
- Consider planting vegies next to each other that mature at different times
- Draw up a plan of your crops so that next year you have a reference for rotating your crops. Try not to plant same crop in same plot for a few years
- Set up borders and lay covers around your plants for nutrients and water wise gardening
Feeding the soil
Feed the soil not the plants! Effective soil preparation is the key to successful organic gardening for beginners. Dig the bed up to break up the soil and remove all rocks and weeds. (make sure you get the roots of the weeds too). Add compost to the soil or buy it if you have not made any yet.
Avoid growing these vegetables or herbs together:
- Carrots inhibit the growth of the herb dill
- Broccoli inhibits tomatoes
- Potatoes inhibits tomatoes and squash
- Beans inhibit onions
Consistent watering produces best results
This is very important and a foundation principle to any good organic garden. Rotation prevents building diseases up in the soil and preserves micro-nutrients. No annual plant should go in the same spot two years in a row. If you wait three years it would be even better.
Continually plant small amounts of vegies throughout the season (every few weeks plant some more seeds) otherwise you will end up with bags of the one vegetable and a complaining household sick of being served up zuchini at every meal. I know this from previous experience!
If you don't have a backyard big enough for a vegie patch or you live in an apartment consider planting your favorite vegies and herbs in containers or pots. Tomatoes, eggplants, chillies, beans, peas and lettuce are a few varieties that grow very well in containers.
Collect and keep the seeds from your vegie patch for next season. They are easy to collect, inexpensive and you get access to a greater variety. Propagating your own plants from seed is very exciting and rewarding.
Organic pest control
There is no substitute for regular garden patrols to pick off aphids, remove snails and so on. Promoting beneficial insects is another good organic pest control method. Introducing chooks to control insects and ducks to gobble up all those snails and slugs is great too.
Accept that you will not always get it right when you begin your organic gardening journey. Many budding gardeners like myself experience a glut of peas, beans, zucchini and tomatoes. Simply be creative and make more meals using your fresh produce, share with your neighbours and family and friends, dry, freeze, pickle, bottle or preserve.
I hope reading through organic gardening for beginners will inspire you to get out there and have a go. It truly is lots of fun and rewarding and a very healthy hobby. Goodluck. Happy growing!
"Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest" Douglas William Jerrold about Australia.
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Need to know more?
Visit the sites below to assist you in your organic gardening adventure:
Organic Federation of Australia
ABC Gardening Australia
Global Green Plan
Aerobin - Compost Bin
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