Few endeavors, for those of us lacking the resources to do whatever we want in life, are as rewarding as simply working in a garden. Whether you farm for a living or tend a small patch in your backyard, the reward of gardening lies in the journey as much as it does the goal or harvest.
While more people every year are trying their hand at gardening, when it comes to organic gardening people tend to get a little fidgety, which is understandable. That ol' fear of the unknown. Growing organically can sound intimidating when one isn't familiar with what it actually takes to have an organic garden. But fear not - with a little common sense, a few tricks, and some help from Organic Daily Post, you can transform your everyday garden into an organic oasis, and much easier than you may have imagined.
An Organic Garden
At its core, organic gardening is merely the act of growing your fruits, vegetables, and other plants of choice without the use of harsh pesticides and other man-made chemicals. It's all about harvesting healthy food grown under natural conditions.
Organic gardening is practically as much a philosophy as it is a technique. Fewer chemicals = better-for-you food. That philosophical mindset applies to other aspects of life as well for those choosing a more natural lifestyle.
With your garden success in mind, the Organic Daily Post has assembled five easy ways to help you create a garden that is not only productive but also healthier for you and for those with whom you share your bounty.
Even if you don't go 100% organic, you still can have a nice, healthy garden harvest by following these simple steps.
1. Companion Plantingβ
If you want to take a more natural approach to gardening you should consider companion planting. By planting specific flora you can save time, money, and a lot of disappointment.
Companion planting is an agricultural term used to describe the planting of one species of plant in close proximity to another plant or plants of a different type. This technique is also known as polyculture. There are a host of reasons why this mini-cooperative can be mutually beneficial to both the garden and the gardener.
There are a variety of reasons for doing companion planting, but the ultimate reason is to increase crop production by creating eco-friendly habitats beneficial to your plants. Pollination, pest control, and the maximizing of space are but a few of the benefits.
For an example, below are five garden vegetables that do well when planted in close proximity to their companion plants. There are endless more plants and companions to discover, all it takes is a little research.
Some of these companion plants run interference by drawing unwanted pests away from the main plants. But then, who protects the companions? Garden warrior insects.
2. Attracting Good Insects to the Garden
Some plants naturally attract beneficial insects to the garden. These 'good bugs' are natural born killers and dine on those plant-destructive aphids and other pests that suck the life from your little green friends. An all-natural alternative to pesticides, beneficial bugs in your garden is another step toward growing organic food. A classic example of a good insect to have around is the lacewing. Lacewings and a host of other good bugs are excellent for natural pest control.
You want Lacewings in your garden. They lay their eggs on the leaves. When the eggs hatch it is the larvae that dine on the mites, aphids, and other destructive pests. The larvae are voracious eaters and make short work of the invaders.
To get them to come to your house, plant one or all of the five in this list. There are many more than these below but space doesn't allow us to list them.
Follow this informative link, ladybugs and other helpful insects, to learn about more beneficial insects and how to attract them.
3. Deterring Invasive Insects Naturally
Other plants are natural insect repellants and deter certain bugs from choosing your garden as their personal smorgasbord. By planting these garden helpers you eliminate the need for hazardous pesticides and fight these pests naturally. It's Nature versus Nature.
Here are five plants that help keep your garden pest free:
Catnip: Repels flea beetles, aphids, Japanese beetles, and more
Chamomile: Repels flying insects
Dill: Deters aphids, squash bugs, and spider mites
Fennel: Drives away slugs, aphids, and snails
Lemongrass: Repels mosquitoes (making working in the garden more fun)
There are many more natural garden helpers to discover with a little research.
4. Amending Your Soil
Just as important as what you grow in your organic garden is the medium in which it is grown. Correct soil is paramount to your growing success. Some plants don't do well if the soil is too clayey. Their roots can't penetrate the stiff, thick dirt. Some don't do well in soil that is too loamy, as the roots can't get a good hold for nutrient uptake. Some dirt is nutrient deficient. That's okay though because most soils are pretty easily fixed up or amended.
You can vastly improve the soil of your garden naturally without the need for chemicals to enhance its nutritional properties. One of the keys to having a successful and healthy organic garden is ensuring the quality of your growing medium.
You want your plants to not only grow but to thrive. Good healthy soil will produce good healthy plants that will flourish. The good news is you don't need a degree in agriculture to create great soil. By adding a few boosters, you can transform dirt into nutrient-rich garden soil.
Do your homework, and adjust the pH level of your soil to match what you are growing. Additionally, you can boost the nutrient levels of your dirt by adding organic matter. It's easy to do and instructions are readily available online for whatever you plan to grow.
5. Get the Most Out of Your Watering & Sunlight
Make good use of the sunlight your garden gets. Some plants and vegetables thrive in full sun while others require a mixture of shade and sunlight. Knowing which plants prefer which will further enhance your garden success.
Fill your organic garden with compatible veggies and plants that require similar sun and water needs. This way you won't overwater one type while not watering the other type enough. An automated watering system like Drip Works can take the hassle out of regular watering.
The same applies to sunlight. Plant plants together that flourish in about the same amount of sun.
6. Know Your Grow
If you're going to invest the time and labor it takes to have an organic garden, you'll need to know a few things that will help you achieve success. These are basic, common-sense strategies that apply to all types of gardening, including organic.
Learn the specific requirements of what you are planting such as how much sunlight do they require? Do they prefer acidic soil over alkaline? What are their requirements? Knowing your plants' particular needs is important to attain the desired result, which is a happy harvest. Learning these basics facts about what you're growing will go a long way toward ensuring a healthy harvest.
High-Tech Indoor Hydroponics
That's about it. In the end, an organic garden isn't all that much different from a regular garden; it simply takes a more natural approach to the care and feeding and also in controlling insect garden pests. You can do it!