Few things are as satisfying as getting your hands into the earth, planting and nurturing and harvesting the fruits of your labors. Adding to the knowledge that you have used the best possible practices to grow healthy food redoubles your satisfaction. Here are some tips on organic gardening to help you grow a harvest that will bring health to you and your family.
If you want to have a more productive garden, expand your growing season into the fall by using row covers. Row covers keep heat in, frost out, and also protect against deer intrusion. The crops under the row covers should still be somewhat resistant to cold however, so it is best to choose greens and root vegetables.
Biennials and annuals are great if you would like to better your flower bed. These usually grow quickly, and provide an easy-to-change solution to making your flower beds bright and beautiful. They allow you to select different flowers from one year or season to the next. They can be used to fill in gaps in your garden between the perennials or shrubs so your garden looks fuller. Some varieties are hollyhocks, petunias and sunflowers.
It is obvious that plants require water to grow. It’s also important to know the amount of water that particular plants actually need. Overwatering or under-watering a plant can severely damage its growth and health. Overwatering can result in root rot, where the water-filled environment encourages the growth of microbes that eat away at the roots. Under-watering a plant can make it’s leaves dry and brittle.
Use compost that is homemade and free. Making a habit of using leaves, pulled plants and other organic bits, will create a rich and nutritious compost for the garden that is free and organic. Additionally, if an enclosed composter is utilized, kitchen scraps and garbage can be thrown in a mix for an excellent compost that is free also.
Start with a small manageable garden if you are new to gardening. If you are inexperienced, gardening can be stressful and frustrating. By starting with a smaller size, you keep your experiences positive and your plants under control. Gardens do require work and upkeep on a regular basis so keep that in mind.
Make sure to pick the right seeds for your location and zone. Certain crops grow better in certain locations. Seed packets usually have information regarding USDA zones. Information regarding USDA Plant Hardiness Zones is also available online. A good example of this is growing oranges in warmer climates and apples in cooler climates.
Improve the health of your soil before your plant your crops and seed. Three or four weeks beforehand use organic compounds like mulch, fertilizer, and compost to increase the nutrient value and retention of your soil. It will also improve the retention of water, create a soil buffer, and more.
Always read the product label before using garden chemicals and store the chemicals in a safe place out of the reach of children and pets. Garden chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers can be very toxic to humans, so make sure you are aware of any extra precautions you need to take when using, storing and disposing of the products.
Use an egg carton to start your seedlings early. Egg cartons are cheap and easy to obtain, and can contain enough soil to get a plant started. Once you’re ready to plant, you can simply rip the carton away from the seedling without damaging the root ball and place the whole soil ball into the ground.
If you are gardening in containers, be sure each container has a drainage system to prevent water from pooling. Lining the bottom of a container with small rocks or pebbles can also help with water drainage for container gardening. Allowing water to sit for extended periods can rot the root system of your plants.
When you are transplanting a plant, do not pile the soil higher than the top of the root. A root crown that is always wet will eventually rot. Plant it in a way, where the water will drain away from the stem. If the water runs toward the plant, it will wash more soil onto the top of the root, causing root rot.
If you have clay soil, the most important thing to do is work it over and amend it with some type of compost. Plants tend to do well this type of soil once they are established, as they can sink their roots deep enough into an area that never dries out. Conversely, plants in lighter soil need watering constantly. Remember to place an organic mulch on the surface, which will stop the surface from baking in the summer.
These tips should help you plan your organic garden. Follow the best advice and the hopes of spring will be fulfilled in autumn’s harvest–with delicious and nourishing meals for you and your family. Nourishing healthy soil, as shown in these tips, can be one of your best investments.