Eco-Friendly Tips for Your Organic Vegetable Garden
Looking for simple and easy organic vegetable gardening tips for your garden? While gardening is an eco-friendly hobby, you can make your gardening tasks even more environmentally sound by adopting sustainable practices. Building an organic vegetable garden is not only a great way to enjoy high-quality crops; you are providing the healthiest foods to your family too. This will save you hundreds of dollars on grocery shopping every year.
Of course, maintaining an organic farm will require more upkeep than your ordinary vegetable patch. Since you won’t be using chemicals – such as pesticides and herbicides – to keep pests at bay or GMOs to produce more yield, you have to work harder to keep your crops healthy and disease-free. Don’t fret, try our favorite organic vegetable gardening tips:
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It’s All About Soil Quality
The health of your crops depends mostly on the quality of the soil. This is the reason why amending the soil should be the first step when building an organic garden. You want to start your garden with nutrient-rich, high-quality soil. If your soil quality is less than ideal, use compost and other organic amendments to improve the quality of the soil.
You can buy natural fertilizer at your local gardening store or make it yourself using kitchen scraps, unwanted green waste, etc. You want to work on the soil gently to loosen the soil particles as well. The right soil consistency promotes proper air circulation and drainage. All these will be beneficial to the crops
Make Your Own Compost
As mentioned above, you can make your own compost using kitchen scraps, organic garden debris, and other green wastes. Making your own compost is not only eco-friendly; it’s also cheaper than buying natural fertilizer. You’ll also rid your home of unwanted wastes that’ll only end up in landfills!
Composting is easy and it all starts with a compost bin or a backyard pit. You can dig a pit for the compost pit or recycle an old trash bin for composting. You can choose to make hot or cold compost. Hot composting requires fast-cooking compost to feed beneficial microorganisms that process decay. The compost should be ready within a month or so. Cold composting, on the other hand, requires collecting garden and kitchen wastes and then piling these in layers in a bin or a pit. The yard waste will decay within a few months up to a year.
One of our favorite organic vegetable gardening tips when it comes to building an organic garden of any kind involves protecting the soil from the elements. When exposed to harsh weather, the soil tends to clump together as it loses moisture. Mulching could keep soil moisture from evaporating while also insulating crops from the bitter cold. The process of mulching involves adding a layer of organic materials around the plants.
This method could lighten your gardening tasks too. Since the mulch prevents weed overgrowth, you don’t have to remove weeds every day. Also, you don’t have to water your plants as often since the soil could retain more moisture. Finally, adding a layer of mulch to your vegetable garden helps create a much neater landscape.
Using Eco-friendly Pest Controls
No matter how much you try to keep pests away from your vegetable garden, destructive critters will somehow find their way into your crops. Thankfully, there are so many ways of eliminating pests in the garden without using any type of chemicals. Here are some of our favorites.
But before you go around spraying your own pest control concoctions, you have to learn what type of pests is feasting on your garden first. This way, you’ll know exactly how to contain the infestation and avoid wasting more product. Whatever pests are nibbling at your produce, use safe and natural pest controls such as neem oil, eggshells, citrus oils, diatomaceous earth, salt spray, etc.
Fertilize the Right Way
Did you know that building up good soil takes months, even years? Amending the soil with natural fertilizers is a great way to boost plant growth and gain better yield. Since you’re going organic, you have to use natural fertilizers such as well-rotted manure from plant-eating animals (chickens, rabbits, sheep, etc.), pre-packed organic fertilizer, or homemade organic fertilizer. You can also check out your local garden center for compost or natural fertilizers.
Fertilizing isn’t necessary all the time, however. If you are one of the lucky few who has rich soil already, there is no need to build good soil. If the soil becomes too rich, the plants may develop excessive soft growths that’ll only attract more pests.
If you are new to gardening or it’s your first crack at organic gardening, it’s always a good idea to start small first. Doing this for the first time, you can expect lots of trial and error just figuring out ways to grow your crops as healthily as possible. A too-ambitious project may end up taking more commitment and there is a good chance that you’ll end up quitting in the middle of it.
A 100 square feet garden is a great start for beginner gardeners. You can grow a variety of crops in such a space. To make the most out of the space, you can plant the crops densely and once you get the results that you want, you can start expanding your garden.
Start from Seeds or Starter Plants?
Starting a garden from seeds is a lengthy process but the effort is worth it. It’s just more fulfilling knowing that you’ve grown all the produce you put on the table the old fashioned way! If you are shopping for seeds, shop for certified organic seeds at reputable vendors.
If say, starting from seeds is almost impossible, you can always buy starter plants for your garden. Again, buy from reputable sellers that raise plants without using pesticides or chemicals. There are nurseries that offer a selection of certified organic plants. You can also shop for starter plants at your local farmers market.
Use Companion Plants
Pairing certain types of plants may deter pests, minimize the spread of diseases and even enhance the flavor of certain vegetables! The fact is, some plant combinations work so well in nature that planting them together will instantly improve the quality of your organic garden.
For instance, planting basil and tomatoes together help ward off hornworms on tomatoes. Planting rosemary and cabbage will deter feasting moths that could ruin your vegetable garden. Chives and carrots pair so well. This combination repels aphids while improving the flavor of carrots.
Extending the Growing Season Naturally
Investing in raised beds is one of the most effective ways to extend the growing season and acquire maximum yield all season long. Growing crops in raised beds give you total control over the quality of the soil. The soil in raised beds tends to warm up earlier in the spring season, which gives your plants plenty of time to produce more fruits.
Best of all, raised beds could lighten your gardening loads while also making harvesting much easier on the back. You can make your own raised beds using recycled wood or buy raised beds from reputable sellers. Do note that store-bought raised beds are not created equally, some are chemically treated. If you are building an organic garden, you have to buy raised beds that are not chemically treated in any way!
Found these organic vegetable gardening tips useful? Building an organic vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy high-quality produce while also saving more money on food. Tune in for more organic vegetable gardening tips! Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest gardening hacks and resources!