People have this preconceived notion that going organic is expensive. It really isn’t that expensive, especially if you have your own garden.
Read to learn some easy steps on how to start an organic garden.
Know More About Organic Gardening
Going organic is about trusting nature to do what’s best for the plants.
Gardening has always been organic. There weren’t chemicals yet hundreds of years ago.
But with the necessity to combat the elements and the aim of mass production, chemicals were introduced as fertilizers and pesticides.
It erased the naturalness of gardening or farming.
Not only that
There are actually negative effects to using fertilizers and pesticides.
These have adverse effects to the ecosystem as well as the balance of nature.
It was in the 20th century
Farming was industrialized and chemicals were introduced to produce bigger and healthier plants.
However, these are not necessarily healthier for people.
Organic farming was introduced in the 1940s.
But it wasn’t until the 21st century that organic products really became popular.
It became mainstream in 2002 when the United States Department of Agriculture released a set of standards for organic food.
If organic is better
Why aren’t all farmers producing organic food?
Organic farming costs more and would require more care. However, the yield is low.
Sometimes, it’s not worth it.
You know how it is
When it comes to business, it should be minimum expense and maximum yield.
If you have commercial plans for your organic garden, you can’t just declare it as such.
Different countries have different regulations when it comes to recognizing what is organic.
You have to know what your country’s regulations are and you have to abide by them.
While organic farming is more difficult, you can grow your own organic garden at home.
You won’t be facing the problem of low yield because you are basically just growing food for home consumption.
But why should you bother?
Because there are many advantages to having an organic garden.
Benefits of Organic Garden
Nature knows best.
This is the mantra of organic gardening. So, why should you rely on chemicals to produce food?
You don’t need to!
The effort to start your own organic garden is greatly outweighed by the benefits:
Organic gardening is about feeding the soil, which will then provide nutrients to the plants.
Since you are not feeding chemicals to the soil, they are essentially healthier.
As a result
The organic produce will also have higher nutritional content.
You know what else?
Having your own garden is a form of exercise. You have to care for the plants after all.
And with an organic garden, you have to be more meticulous.
Food actually tastes better
Non-organic food items are usually bigger and they are uniform in looks.
You won’t get that size and uniformity in organic food.
You will be surprised with the produce.
You will get small ones and large ones. There are also different shades of color.
But more importantly
You will get more delicious food.
While commercial gardening or farming is about quantity, organic gardening is more about quality.
Let me tell you
You’d be surprised by the taste of organic food when you are so used to buying from the groceries.
Organic just tastes way more superior.
You can just pluck whatever organic food or vegetable you have in the garden and eat them.
They will be juicy and really delicious.
Here’s the thing
With organic food, you don’t even have to wash your fruit or vegetable–you should! But you don’t have to.
My point is, there are no chemicals included in organic farming. That means the food is safe to eat straight from the plant.
Better for the environment
Since there are no chemicals involved, you are actually helping the environment heal.
Check this out
Yep! They linger on the soil, in the air, and even in waterways.
That means they add to the air and water pollution.
Saves you money
A lot of entrepreneurs may not think it’s worth it to do commercial organic farming, but it’s definitely practical for backyard gardening.
You will have your own food right in your backyard.
Organic food and produce are more expensive because it’s quite meticulous to grow.
If you grow them yourself, it’s not as expensive.
But you really have to toil!
How to Start an Organic Garden
It’s really not that hard.
You just need to put up the time and have some patience.
By the way
Gardening is quite therapeutic, so you’ll just have some fun along the way.
Here are the easy steps:
1. Plan your plants
What do you want to grow?
It’s important to plan ahead so that you will have an idea what these plants need.
Choosing the plant
The first consideration would be what you actually want and need.
Fruits and vegetables are easy choices since they are healthy and filling.
You have to consider if the plant or plants of your choice will thrive in your environment.
So, you have to consider the climate you typically get, as well as the soil that you have at home.
Planning ahead gives you enough time to figure out what your choice of plants will need in order to grow healthy.
Remember: all natural components only.
2. Find a sunny spot
The right spot is crucial when gardening–in general.
It has to be said though that it seems more important when it comes to organic gardening.
Since there are no chemical agents that will help you grow the plants, you will need every help you can get from nature.
You want a spot that can be reached by the sun.
3. Till the soil
You need to break clumps of soil. This can be done efficiently through tilling.
What you really need
You want the soil to loosen up so that it would be easily penetrated by the sun, air and water.
Plus, this will also help you remove unwanted things in the soil.
Rocks, for example.
You don’t want them impeding the growth of plants.
Here are the tools you need:
First, you need the shovel to break the clumps of soil. When you see rocks, you have to take them out.
Or you could use the rake to remove the rocks.
Not a tool
You should also use your hands. They are better for pulling out weeds.
Using your hands to pull out weeds will have a bigger chance of actually uprooting them.
This is very important
Weeds compete with the plants when it comes to nutrients.
After you uproot them, you can then remove them from the lot using the rake.
4. Add compost to the soil
This is another benefit of planning ahead.
When you do, you can prepare your own compost before you start growing organic plants.
Compost is an organic matter often referred to as a soil conditioner.
Having a compost also means recycling your organic waste like food.
The main components
Most composts comprise fallen leaves or uprooted grass and food scraps.
It would take weeks for these to break down.
If you can’t make them
You can always buy from your community garden store.
What’s the next move?
Again, you till the soil. This time, by mixing the compost.
You still have to do the first tilling, though, as this is a different method.
It’s like this
The first tilling is about breaking clumps and making sure there are no rocks and weeds in the soil.
The second one is to properly mix the compost with the soil.
When you don’t do it this way
There will be a big chance that you will be mixing the weeds and the compost.
That will only make those weeds healthy.
Here’s an advice:
Be generous with the compost.
5. Start planting
This is where knowledge comes in handy, hence, the reason why you need to plan ahead.
Plant the organic products you want to grow based on their specific needs.
Do they need to be far apart from each other?
If you plan on growing various products, would it be okay for different types of plants to be beside each other?
Know the facts
Before you start planting.
Finally, you need to care for the plants.
They don’t grow by themselves.
Water the plants in the morning.
When you do it in the evening, the soil will be damped overnight. This is because the water will not easily evaporate.
Don’t do it too late, though
Early in the morning is fine.
You also don’t want to water them when it’s hot out or the water will just evaporate without nourishing the seeds or seedlings.
Now as they grow
Water the roots rather than the leaves.
You don’t want to damage the leaves because of the weight of the water.
It’s the roots that will distribute the food and nutrients to the plants.
Remember that growing organic products means you don’t use any chemicals.
Weeding would have to be done by hand.
This is crucial
Weeds will compete with your plants for water and nutrients.
You don’t want that to happen.
Imagine having really fat weeds but unhealthy plants.
c. Remove pests
Aside from getting your hands dirty with weeding, you also have to be skilled as you need to remove pests by hand, too.
Again, you can’t use pesticides.
When you notice pests in your plants
Analyze the problem first.
Is the plant getting enough sunlight? Is the soil moist enough?
If they are not getting enough natural components,
It’s also a good idea to let natural predators live in the garden.
There are times when gardeners shoo away frogs, toads and lizards, among others.
Actually, they are your pals
They eat the pests that would eat your plants.
You know what can be your best friend?
They feast on aphids, which are soft-bodied insects that love to eat plants.
If it gets worse
There are also organic materials you can use to solve the problem:
- Horticultural oil
- Hot pepper spray
You can also ask your local organic garden store for advice.
There you have it! Six easy steps on how to start an organic garden.
Do you notice that organic food is actually more expensive than regular ones? That’s because organic products are harder to grow commercially. In a way, you will never know what you are going to get.
Unlike regular commercial farming, you have fertilizers and pesticides to ensure that you will have a great yield and that the products are large.
However, it’s easier to grow an organic backyard garden. You don’t have a large area to look after. Still, you have to be meticulous since you can’t use fertilizers to fatten the crops or pesticides to kill pests.
So, how to start an organic garden? There are just six easy steps that you can do to kickstart a healthy lifestyle.