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Organic Gardening Basics
Organic gardening is becoming more popular. The publicity that non organic foods are getting in the press is scaring some people away from store bought foods. Growing our own veggies organically is a perfect way to know what is really in the food you eat. To insure there are no additives in your crops, home gardening should be done organically. Organic gardening is easy and healthy for the environment as well as your family.
What exactly is organic gardening? It is defined as the science of gardening without damaging the environment. In essence, organic gardening is to garden without manmade pesticides, chemicals and fertilizers. Although organic gardening takes more time and work, the benefits of healthy food on your families table is priceless and worth the time and effort. Here are the basics of organic gardening beginning with the dirt your plants are planted in.
Preparing the Soil
The most important part of any garden is the soil. First, figure out what kind of soil you have currently. As most soil is sand or clay based, simply adding some good compost will improve the dirt for planting. Test the PH of your soil with an inexpensive tester that can be purchased at a local garden or hardware store. For optimum growth, the soil should be slightly on the high end of the PH graph. To insure you get the PH correct, ask the staff at the garden center what to use to raise or lower the PH in the soil. They will know what will work for your zone. Once the proper PH is attained, keeping it at this level can be done easily by fertilizing once or twice per year.
Choosing What to Plant
What to grow is the next step in organic gardening. There are many seeds available that are totally organic. Plants purchased from a local nursery may also be organic. It is best to ask before purchasing them to insure no pesticides were used to start the plants. Starting the seed yourself in the late winter months is also a great way to insure the plants that are going into the garden are organic. Rotate plants to keep the soil quality perfect for organics, and by all means, plant what you like to eat. It is good to experiment with different veggies, but if you and your family won’t eat it, it is just a waste of time, space and effort.
Organically Control Pest
Anyone who has ever gardened, knows pest just come with the job. Some pests like earth worms, ladybugs, and hoverflies are good for the garden. Pests like aphids, whitefly and others can damage your crops. There are a wide variety of organic applications that will control pests in your garden. A very common application is a mixture of a few drops of dish liquid and neem oil will also rid the garden of pests.
Fertilizers and Compost
Feed your dirt with organic fertilizers and compost. Using all of your organic, vegetable based household waste is a great way to recycle and help the garden. The compost should set for 3 months before it is ready for the garden. As a general rule it will be sweet smelling and very crumbly. A great natural fertilizer is pig, cow or horse poop. Make sure the feed the animals eat is organic and not laced with chemicals that the animals will express. There may be a lot of farmers in your area that would be more than happy to share the waste, so to speak. Just make sure the fertilizer is completely decomposed before adding to the garden.
Organic Gardening Equipment
There isn’t much needed by way of equipment for organic gardening. It simply takes a lot of muscle and some good old gardening tools. Other organic gardening equipment could include a compost bin for composting organic household waste.
Organic gardening is a great way to make sure you and your family are eating the best possible fruits and veggies. With the genetically modified produce introduced into the market, there is no better way to insure you are feeding them the best and healthiest foods. Although organic gardening does take more work and time, in the end, it is so worth it.