In a world full of processed foods full of pesticides and chemicals, many people have health problems. One way to improve health of your family is by making a change to a diet containing more organic foods. Organic foods are better for your family’s health and also better for the environment. Although organic foods might be a little more expensive in the grocery store, the health benefits well exceed the extra monetary costs. With this being said, you do not always have to spend more on organic fruits and vegetables if you turn up your sleeves and begin a organic garden of your own. So my goal for this year is to start my very own urban garden!
When beginning an organic garden, you do not have to plant lots of plants. Instead, you can start with just a couple plants. The key is to avoid pesticides and other chemical additives to ensure your vegetables and fruits are all natural. If you follow these steps, you can be successful as well as healthy.
1. Get Your Soil Ready
Plants need to eat good nutrients to thrive much like people do. It is important to avoid putting chemicals in the soil because it will get into your garden foods, which will affect the healthy organic benefits. To ensure your soil is right for planting, you can test it by purchasing a test kit or you can send a soil sample to your local agricultural commission office. Soil should be a mixture of leaves, cut grass and compost, which should come from organically raised animals to avoid chemicals seeping into your foods. You can make your own compost, which is free. Soils that are a good mixture of organic waste, air, water and water are the best for organic growth.
2. Get Plants That Thrive in Your Specific Garden Conditions
There are a couple ways to go about determining the right plants for your space. One is to visit your local farmer’s market where they will offer many native plants for your locality. A second way is by checking the USDA’s Hardiness Zones recommendations. It is updated frequently so you will be able to determine the right plants for your area without too much trouble or misinformation.
3. Plant to Avoid Overcrowding
Once your plants start to grow, they are going to spread out and take up more of your garden space. When planting in a limited area, there are a few plants that are ideal for most any garden. These include Indeterminate tomatoes, pole beans (the old fashioned sort), zucchini, swiss chard and snow peas. All of these are great for small gardens.
4. Feed Your Plants
Most successful gardeners suggest that the best time to water is in the morning. Rainwater is usually best because it is not treated at a water plant as drinking water from the faucet is. Once plants are rooted and thriving, most experts suggest only one inch of water a week. This will keep them from getting covered in fungus or damaged by bacteria. Morning watering also helps prevent these problems.
5. Get Rid of Weeds and Protect Plants
After working so hard on your garden, you do not want it to get overrun with weeds. Keep them pulled as often as possible. If you put mulch around your plants, you will reduce the number of weeds hurting your organic foods.
If you have pests bothering your plants, this may be a sign of another problem such as inadequate light, water or soil. There are many insects beneficial to your garden that keep out predators. It is better to let animals handle the potential predators naturally as pesticides compromise the rewards of organic foods.
The best part of gardening is the reward. Harvest most plants at midmorning with the exception of basil, which does better when harvested in the afternoon to dry it more completely. You can freeze any foods that are too abundant to eat fresh.
Just imagine how good your meals will taste if you cook them with your home grown veggies? In my opinion there is no better way to spice up your recipes than with your very own, home grown food!