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Your Guide in Starting an Organic Garden

March 29th, 2013

Organic gardening

Everywhere we look, the word “organic” seems to take center stage. With so many advances in technology, including genetically modified or genetically altered foods, everyone wants to go back to basics and partake in organic gardening.  All gardeners, whether they are professional or those who do it as a hobby prefer organic gardening because of two main reasons. It promotes better health to those who eat the produce, and also promotes a better environment.

Organic gardening involves not having to use any pesticides, fungicides and fertilizers which are usually used during common farming. However, little did farmers know that using these chemicals was harming the environment. Pesticides and fungicides were being washed away into rivers by the rain, which affected aquatic life. People also discovered that these chemicals did no good to humans once they ate the food.   So naturally, people started organic farming, which involved no pesticides or other chemicals which are harmful to animals, humans or the environment.

The basic principle of organic farming is to saturate the soil with nutrients rather than the plant. More attention is therefore paid on getting the soil as nutrient rich as possible, since plants get their nutrients from the soil naturally through their roots. In organic farming, crop rotation is also crucial. If you are growing crops in your garden or greenhouse, then this basically means swapping the boxes or located areas around. It allows the soil to rejuvenate itself since each plant takes up a different amount of each nutrient.

Fertilizers are still used in organic farming, but they are organic i.e. natural. In most cases, organic fertilizer comes in the form of manure. However, this is more likely to happen on farms. If you are planning on doing some organic gardening in your home, then you may not be able to get a hold of manure. In this case, you can use compost, which can be made at home or purchased from a good gardening center.

How to start an organic garden: 

If you want to start organic gardening, you will not be sorry that you did. All you need to do is prepare the soil in a way which is natural and chemical free. This means not using any form of plant or flower food as a fertilizer or a plant growth booster. You want to use the most natural product available to you which can be manure or compost (take your pick).  Then water your soil to make sure that it is fully moist.

Decide on what it is you wish to grow. Since you may be completely new to the organic farming game, you may want to start off by planting something simple and easy such as tomatoes or blueberries. Over the growth period, you need to make sure that you are not using any artificial fertilizer to promote growth, since this goes against the principles of organic farming. If you feel the need to re-fertilize the soil, simply add more manure or compost.

Once you have mastered the simple food such as tomatoes, you can try something harder such as potatoes or peas. Once you have enough experience and are comfortable with the concept of organic farming, you could grow virtually anything, which is a superb quality to have, especially during these times where we cannot be entirely sure about what is in our foods.

Your final product will be a delicious item of food that has been grown using nothing but nature’s goodness. This crop will contain no chemicals in any way, shape or form. It is completely and utterly natural, making it the healthiest you could possible get.

 

About the author:

Nicole is an author keen on flowers and home organizing. Enjoy her tips on decorating with flowers and gardening.

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Guest Blog: Get Your Garden Growing!

April 19th, 2011
Just four years ago I was a self-described brown thumb. It wasn’t because I had definitively proven my inability to grow anything but more because I had given no effort to the task. Until 2008 my gardening was limited to a sunflower grown in vacation bible school one summer and a pitiful tomato plant in one of those “As Seen on TV” upside down contraptions. But as I moved from Brooklyn, NY to my family farm in middle Georgia I quickly realized that without bodegas on every corner, street vendors, amusing cab drivers, and dive bars to keep me occupied I was going to need a hobby.

As I walked around the land a few times with my Dad I found myself falling in love with stories about my grandfather clearing the land and sending lumber off to the mill so as to build both a home and a working farm. I dug my hands down into the cool soil that he too had once allowed to pass through his callused fingers. As if the voice of Kevin Costner had spoken out to me I began thinking that this part of the Earth needed attention. If I tilled it, the plants would come.

For almost three months my wife and I scratched, tilled, and turned the soil. We amended it, watered it, mulched it. We plowed out rows and strung up dividers. We researched plants in our zone and read up on potential seeds. With as much passion as I had once given my photography when on assignment in NYC, I was now analyzing the sunrises and sunsets and rain showers in between. By late spring I felt confident enough for us to plant.

We had long since decided to grow organically for a number of reasons. Having lived in culturally rich area just months before, I was very much in tune with sustainability, the plight of “BIG” agriculture, and harms of pesticides on food sources. But deciding how to grow organically was something that took more than just a passing thought. It took planning, research, determination, and discipline to figure out. From that first season came these tips that I hope to share with you.

5 Steps to Getting Your Organic Garden Started

  1. Plan Before You Plant. We started by reading the Farmers’ Almanac. While they have a timeless print edition they also offer a host of resources online now. You can also go to your local Agriculture Extension office or the National Climatic Data Center to research the average last frost date in your area. From this point check out the back of your seed packet to determine the number of days until germination and harvest. Plant as the weather allows and be familiar with which varieties are hearty and which require more TLC.
  2. Recycle, Reuse, and RepurposePotting Equipment. The best way to start your seeds is to purchase seed starting flats or use cut down milk cartons, chipped pots, or empty plastic containers that are two to three inches deep. Fill the containers with potting soil, gently firm the surface and water until moist. Be careful not to make the soil muddy and wash out the seeds.
  3. Take Cover. There are a number of benefits to starting seeds indoors. The right seed starting supplies and methods can improve germination rates. It’s important that you remain vigilant in the caring for your seeds. Once they are planted, cover the container with plastic and place it in a warm spot in your house. Check the container daily and remove the plastic once seeds have germinated.
  4. Let the Sunshine In. After seeds have germinated, relocate containers to a sunny location. Your third-grade science teacher taught you that plants require water and sun. Well, she was right! Water only when the soil becomes dry, preferably from the bottom, to prevent flooding the seeds.
  5. Push Them Out of the Nest. When your plants are ready to be placed in your garden, dig a small hole for each plant, insert the plant, cover the roots, and water. In just a few weeks or months, depending on the variety, you will be ready to harvest some incredible organic veggies!

About Andrew Odom:

Bigger does not always mean better. Progress does not always mean forgetting our roots in order to forge a new future. Blogger, photojournalist, and hobby farmer Andrew Odom has spent much of the last few years rediscovering the lost art of living, growing, and being truly happy. Visit him online at www.tinyrevolution.us.

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