Organic gardening for beginners can be a challenging and rewarding experience. A lot of people now are interested to learn about organic gardening. Our increasing awareness on the dangers that chemical laden food can cause to our health has motivated us to grow our own vegetables in our backyard. We all want to serve safe and healthy food to our families and the only way to ensure that we are indeed doing that is to have our own organic garden.
Organic gardening for beginners challenges
Organic gardening for beginners comes with challenges that some may find a little intimidating to those new to gardening. There are so many things one needs to know and learn, such as principles of soil building, pest management, weed control, and companion planting – all without the aid of convenient and ready-made chemical solutions. Add to it the need to learn proper composting methods and everything may appear overwhelming at first.
But then again, nothing is too difficult if you find enjoyment in what you are doing. If you are a beginner when it comes to organic gardening, it may not be as complex as you might think. If you are happy working the soil and are ready to get a little dirty, here are some easy tips for you to follow:
Where to plant
There are three choices you may consider depending on your circumstances:
In-Ground – If you have a large backyard then this may be the most practical choice. See if your soil is loamy, gets the right amount of sunlight, has the right moisture content and is well-draining. Your soil should have earthworms that can assist with the tilling and soil aeration. They also help in breaking down organic matter into nutrients that your plants will need in order to thrive. Good soil condition is an important principle to remember in organic gardening for beginners, so if your ground is less than perfect, you can turn it with a shovel and work some compost into it to lift its condition.
Raised bed – If your soil is not perfect and you want to plant immediately, raised bed organic gardening for beginners is for you. Personally I prefer this method. It is an easy way to start a garden and you can fashion your beds in different creative shapes for added garden aesthetics. You can use stones or bricks for borders or even timber. Most local hardware stores & nurseries also sell DIY raised bed gardens so putting them up is a breeze. When your raised bed is ready, you can add garden soil mixed with compost and you are ready to plant straight away.
Container – When you are living in an apartment where space is limited, the best option for you may be container gardening. A lot of plants grow well in containers like lettuce, peppers, green onions, tomatoes, beans and squash. They key is to know which varieties grow well in conditions that differ from the garden types above. You may want to consider plants that grow well in confined spaces, as well as receiving different levels of sun, heat and rain . Make use of large containers if possible to allow companion planting. If not, you can also use smaller containers but keep an eye on soil moisture as smaller pots dry out easily.
What type of vegetables to plant, and what grows well in your area, considering climate and pests.
You can choose to plant seeds, or more established seedlings. Seeds are cheaper than seedlings but the latter allows for direct planting which is easier if you are into organic gardening for beginners. The garden center staff can give you advice on how to transfer the seedlings into your garden. Seeds on the other hand come with in instructions on their packets.
Companion planting is a gardening principle where compatible plants are placed in close proximity to enhance growth and pest control, hence helping the gardener avoid using fertilizers and pesticides harmful to health. Examples of this are culinary herbs such as mint, basil and chives that repel insects away from vegetables, or sunflowers that attract lady bugs and ground beetles that eat aphids, mites and slugs that damage plants.
Taking care of your garden
Mulching discourages weeds from growing and helps maintain soil moisture. There are several materials you can use for this purpose such as newspaper, leaves, wood chips, etc. However, using mulch made of organic matter is more beneficial to plants because this will decompose later on and provides compost and additional nutrients to the soil.
Weed the traditional way instead of using herbicides. Pull them out immediately before they grow strong roots and become difficult to pull. Water your plants early in the morning or late in the afternoon (it’s often best to water plants in the morning only in winter and when snails and slugs are about) so that the soil can absorb it well. Use a soaker hose if possible so that water is directed into the soil and not on the leaves. Wet leaves attract more fungus and diseases.
Organic Gardening For Beginners – Starting a garden
Starting an organic garden involves a bit of hard work in the beginning but your efforts will pay off when you and your family eat truly healthy and safe vegetables. So start your gardening journey with the organic gardening for beginners tips above and enjoy your own home-grown food, and happy gardening!
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Organic gardening for beginners can be tricky, but the rewards are well worth the effort, so good luck!