Home gardening is on the rise. People are reclaiming their lawns and returning to the practice of cultivating vegetables and herbs in their own homes, in flower pots or window boxes or backyards. And with this nationwide move to get back in touch with the soil and nature, home farmers are also taking on the challenge of sticking to organic farming. No chemicals, no pesticides, no harm to the local environment - just good, freshly grown vegetables straight from the soil.
But organic farming can be a difficult endeavor. Costs can rack up quickly and it’s relatively labor-intensive. You will have to keep up with your plants regularly and make arrangements for any long trip or changes in weather patterns.
But the rewards can be immensely satisfying - imagine sitting down to eat a family meal with a salad full of greens, herbs, tomatoes and carrots that came fresh from your garden. Here are the tips and tricks to starting your own organic garden at home.
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Step 1: Get the Right Materials
Before you start gardening, you want to make sure you have everything you need to succeed in your endeavors. First thing’s first - make sure you have a space to do your gardening. If you have a wide open backyard to work with, great - start a plot as big as you want. If you’re working with limited space, be sure to stock up on flower pots or window boxes, and consider what space requirements your vegetables will need.
You also want to make sure you have the right equipment. Basic gardening equipment includes rakes, hoes, trowels, watering cans, a good pair of gardening gloves, some gardening shears, twine, and some wooden stakes for plants that need vertical space to grow.
You also want a compost bin, because your organic garden is going to need homemade compost to maintain the nutrients required to grow your plants. Look for a compost tumbler, which you can spin around to aerate the compost regularly. You’ll also want a bucket to move the compost.
Step 2: Plan Your Plants of Choice
Plants work in conjunction with one another, which means your best chance of success at a garden is picking plants that require nutrients that complement one another. In addition, where you live and what conditions your garden is in will affect which plants will thrive and which will die off quickly.
Do research into what plans work best for your conditions and climate. You will also want to select plants that take relatively less time and care to grow, particularly if you’re just starting out with your organic gardening endeavor. Experts recommend turning to swiss chard, old-fashioned pole beans, zucchini, snow peas and indeterminate tomatoes as great choices for gardens based on their relatively short growing periods and space requirements.
Step 3: Prepare Your Plot of Land
Make sure your soil is ready for growing. Use a soil testing kit to check that the nutrient content is right, and as you grow, be sure to constantly add fresh layers of decomposed compost to keep it active and full of healthy microbes. You will also need to get your ratios right for the density of seeds per square meter of land, and you can do that using a good calculator you can find here.
Till your soil regularly, and do some research into what kind of soil you have and what maintenance is required to keep it in its best conditions. Gardening requires regular maintenance, so neglecting these steps will impact your final products. Water regularly - ideally in the morning - and make sure you have natural fertilizer on hand at all times.
With adequate research and effort, you can be growing healthy and flavorful vegetables and herbs in your own garden in no time!