As an urban homesteader you need to have an organic garden, so as to limit your impact on the environment while providing yourself and your family with nutritious and delicious food.
Having an organic garden is not nearly as complicated as a lot of first-timers are convinced it is. It will be a fact there is certainly a little more work and a greater attention level to the particulars with an all organic garden over a conventional garden. Nevertheless, with the appropriate instruction you are going to quickly learn it really is not anywhere close to as challenging as you believed it to be. This guide provides you with the steps you must have to assist you in being started.
Assuming you know little to almost nothing concerning organic gardens let us first be sure you know what it really is. Put simply it means you will plant your garden without the use of artificial fertilizers, to make the plants grow or chemical pesticides to deal with the insects.
To truly get the most out of your organic garden, it’s wise to produce an in depth plan for what you want to accomplish and how you will accomplish it. And the ideal time to develop the plan is in the fall, soon after the fall growing season winds up, because you can see what worked, what didn’t work, and what veggies you enjoyed the best.
Organic Garden Plan Outline:
- The first and most important step to planning an organic garden is to decide where to grow. Your plants will do extremely well if they can receive about six hours of sunlight per day, which even in cloudy Ohio is possible with the right spot. Make sure that the garden area offers easy accessibility to water as well as the ground provides adequate drainage, to allow for water runoff and aeration of the soil.
- Next you need to assess the soil quality. In our post “Gardening Basics” we explain in-depth about how to gauge your soil quality and correct any deficiencies, so check it out to ensure you have optimum growing garden soil. Doing this step in the fall, will give you time to prep the soil before the spring growing season.
- Next you need to decide on what vegetables you will be growing in your organic garden. I personally am not a big fan of peppers, I just use them for seasoning recipes, so I plant few of them, but I love tomatoes, so I plant a bunch of different kinds of those. If you want something different to grow, or have a place for a tree, or want an edible landscape, check out our Guide of Edible Plants.
- Once you know what veggies you will be planting, it is time to lay them out. It isn’t a good idea to plant creeping vines next to root vegetables, like onions and carrots, as the vines can cover them over and choke them off. Garden layout is also important ensure your plants are spread out enough to give them a proper water.
- Last thing to plan for your organic gardening adventure is how you are going to fertilize it. Do you currently have a compost pile? If not, check out our post about how to make a quality compost heap. If you don’t have the space, like we currently have a small patio, instead start reviewing different fertilizers that you want to buy. I personally like using a liquid organic fertilizer so I can use it while watering and not needing another step.
There you have it, an outline of how to plan your organic garden for the spring growing season. Proper planning can really optimize the output and put less strain on you once your veggies start growing.
Whenever we talk of fertilization for your organic garden, it will be pretty much singularly resulting from composting. Besides supplying fertilization, additionally it protects the ground. No matter whether your garden is subjected to heavy rains or at risk of weed infestation, the fertilizers offer sufficient protection and strengthening necessary to supplement the organic growth processes of your organic garden veggies. Besides this, it manages the climate of the ground; it will also give visual appeal to the garden as it can help improve the ground texture and total physical appearance.
So with your plan in place, it is time to start planting your organic garden and soon reaping the benefits.
If you are starting your vegetables from seeds, a good organic trick is to use old egg shells.
Egg Shell Seed Pods
- When cracking eggs, aim to break off the top 3rd of the egg, leaving you a nice pod. If you rinse the shell out, you can place it back into the cardboard carton for easy organization.
- Once ready to start your seedlings, put a 50-50 mix of garden soil and compost into the egg shell and push the seed down into it.
- Water well
- Place the egg carton on a windowsill, where it can get lots of good sunlight and keep it well watered.
- In a little time you will see the veggies sprouting from the soil mix.
- When planting these, crack the egg shells and bury them into the ground, it will provide a nice bit of further organic compost for your growing vegetables.
Now as your organic garden is developing, make sure to keep sprinkling out compost, or use a liquid organic fertilizer as part of your care routine.
Homemade Liquid Organic Fertilizer
- Take a 5 gallon bucket and fill it half-full with compost.
- Pour in 2 gallons of water and stir the mixture, it should have a consistency like mud at this point, if it is too thick add a bit more water, too soupy, add a bit more compost.
- Now put a lid on the bucket and let it sit for 2 weeks.
- Pour the mix through a grate to filter out solids, then filter it through a cheesecloth to further filter out solids.
- The liquid from this will make a great liquid organic fertilizer.
- The solid left behind can be mixed back into your compost heap or sprinkled over your garden.
Keeping your organic garden well fed with fertilizer will ensure you have strong plants that can combat most diseases and will be resilient to the abuses mother nature may toss at them (ere in Ohio it can snow or frost, well into planting season).
As your vegetables mature, make sure to maintain the garden properly. Keep up on the weeding, since you don’t want your garden overrun with weeds.
As the veggies reach maturity ready, keep a close eye and start harvesting them when they are ripe. You don’t want rotting vegetables to stay attached as the rot can spread to the plant, which will result in a lowered yield and less veggies for your enjoyment.
BONUS TIPS FOR A HEALTHY ORGANIC GARDEN
A good way to keep pests and bugs away that doesn’t require a pesticide, is to install a birdfeeder near your garden. The birds will be attracted by the birdhouse, and encouraged to stay because of the tasty bug treats.
If you have the room, install a little pond and get some frogs, those will also keep bugs away, plus you will get the added music at night. I know personally, I love the sound of frogs on a warm summer night.
Foil collars around your root vegetables will keep out borer style pests and animals, it will protect them, while also allowing for proper drainage and veggie feeding.