Supporting local Farmers’ Markets is important to my husband and me. During the summer (the only time we have one in my local area), we bring the reusable shopping bag to the market and get some fresh produce — and even some organic and natural soaps and soy lotions. However, we don’t get everything at the Farmers’ Market; we also like to grow a garden for some of our needs. It doesn’t have to be difficult to start your own organic garden. Here are 7 tips for growing a healthy organic garden:
As you might imagine, compost is an essential ingredient when it comes to a healthy organic garden. It provides plenty of nutrients for the garden, and it also provides a way for your to live a greener life. Even if you have limited space, it is often possible to build a small worm composting box to help create this natural fertilizer. Organic kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and fallen leaves are great additions to the compost pile.
You can use your compost as mulch in the garden. Organic mulch is great for attracting earthworms. A three-inch layer can be very attractive, and bring earthworms that naturally aerate the soil and build it up. You will find that mulch can also help keep down the weeds, especially when combined with newspaper.
3. Orange Peel Slug Traps
You want to keep out the damaging slugs. Orange peels can be a way to do this. Set them out toward evening, and slugs will gravitate toward the shelter — and the sweetness of the fruit that used to be in the peel. In the morning, you can discard the slugs, and put the peels in the compost pile.
4. Water Smart
It is vital to understand how to properly irrigate your garden. When done improperly, water can actually encourage diseases in your garden. Instead of watering at night, water early in the the morning. This will give the soil time to absorb the water before the sun evaporates it all, and the leaves of your plants will dry out before night. Wet plants at night are more prone to fungi and mildew.
5. Biological Pest Control
An organic garden can benefit from organic pest control. There are parasitic nematodes that will destroy Japanese beetles (milky spore disease works as well), and there are some bugs that naturally prey on garden pests while leaving the plants alone. You can find biological controls for garden pests at different seed stores, greenhouses and organic gardening shops. You can also order them online.
6. Provide Space for Your Plants
Plants need some space and ventilation to grow. Make sure your seeds are spaced properly, so that they have room to grow. You also want to make sure that there is properly ventilation so that air flow can benefit the plants. Earthworms can help with this by naturally aerating the soil. Raised beds and container gardens, when done properly, can also help provide proper ventilation.
7. Keep Your Garden Clean
Pull weeds when you see them, vigilantly keeping them from cluttering your organic garden and choking out the plants. You should also clean your garden at the end of the growing season, raking up leaves and preparing the soil so that pests don’t find shelter in your organic garden. You can also clean out plants that do poorly for two seasons. Instead, choose something that is more likely to thrive. You’ll get a better yield, and you can supplement from other sources.
Bottom Line: An organic garden can be a great way to go green, save money and enjoy better health. You will get exercise, and have better, fresher produce. Plus, since you are growing it yourself, you won’t have to buy as much produce, saving you money. An organic garden is a great way to start down the path to self reliance.
This post was originally published on Naturigy blog