If you are new in organic gardening, the abundance of information may be overwhelming. Don’t get hyped, though – just keep it slow and steady. Organic gardening has its own rhythm, so you don’t have to do everything at once. Start out slow and learn in the process – you will be successful in not time! These five simple organic garden tips will help you get started.
1. Start with the Soil
The soil is the source of life for your organic garden. One of the problems with chemical gardening is that it sterilizes the soil, stealing the life from it. Organic soil is living and has lots of living matter in it. One of the main organic garden tips regarding the soil is – use compost. Buy it until you can make it.
Compost is created out of living vegetable matter. You just save all your vegetable scraps, lawn clippings and other fresh vegetable matter (green material) and mix it with dead grass and leaves (brown material) and let it decompose. You want a compost heap to generate heat, because it decomposes faster that way. It needs to be at least 3’x 3’x 3′ to get good and hot. A hot compost heap that is turned frequently (so that it gets air into it) will make compost in a matter of weeks. However, if your compost pile is not that big or doesn’t get very warm, it will still create good compost just in a longer period of time.
Compost should be added to the soil at least twice a year. Dig it into the top six inches of soil, and you will have rich, dark, productive soil within a couple of years, even if you started out with sterile, gray, chemically treated dirt.
When you grow the same crop in the same soil over and over again, it depletes the soil of specific nutrients and causes serious damage to the soil. Monoculture farming also tends to gather the bugs and weeds that prey on that particular crop.
Therefore, biodiversity is another organic garden tip you should follow in order to achieve best results. Biodiversity means growing lots of different things. This protects the soil and the crops. Companion plants provide nutrients and pest protection for each other. Crop rotation keeps the soil rich and doesn’t attract as many insects; besides you have a greater variety of produce for your table or for sale.
3. Water Carefully
Indiscriminate watering practices waste water and wash soil components into the water supply. Using water carefully prevents waste and discourages weeds. Water early in the morning and use a soaker hose to keep water on the plants and nowhere else.
4. Control Weeds
Organic gardening allows easy weed control, in case you follow these organic gardening tips. Use mulch around your plants to keep weeds out and water in and to give them extra nutrients. Compost is great mulch. Using plastic barriers during growing season will help keep weeds out of your crops. Cover the entire area with plastic during the winter season to kill off weed seeds. Regular weeding doesn’t let root systems develop or go to seed.
5. Control Pests
Organic garden tips on pest control include only non- toxic intervention, so you have to be creative here.
Planting wisely, i.e. using companion planting and crop rotation should discourage pests before they arrive. If pests are already there, remove them by hand, if possible. Tomato hornworms, potato bugs and other larger insects can be controlled by hand. Use barriers, like diatomaceous earth, coffee cans or netting. Insect control is one more natural way to control pests, for example, releasing ladybugs, lacewings or praying mantises into your garden. If all else fails, use an organic insecticide, such as soap.
These five simple organic garden tips should be enough for you to get started. In a year of practicing organic gardening you will be an experienced gardener, and then you may want to try some different approaches. As a beginner, just follow these organic garden tips and your first year organic garden will be productive and successful.