Organic Gardening at Home

Organic vegetables are widely regarded as more healthy than non-organic so if you want to eat healthily and more cheaply than buying organic from the supermarket, you’ll need to grow your own. Organic gardening at home isn’t that difficult but for a garden to be truly organic, you can’t use pesticides, herbicides or any other chemicals and you do need to use organic fertilizer. More of that later but first there are a few basics to consider.

Choose and prepare a site

If you already have a vegetable garden, you can convert it to organic quite easily but if not, choose a site and size of plot that you want. Obviously, the larger the plot, the more variety and quantity you can grow but the more work you will have to do, so you may want to start small.

Dig over your site to the depth recommended for the veg that need the deepest soil. Add and dig in organic compost or other organic matter such as horse manure, rotted leaves or homemade compost. If you don’t have a compost heap, then now is the time to start one; you can add vegetable waste from your kitchen, grass cuttings and other garden waste but not woody stems as they won’t rot down.

Good compost will make the soil easier to work, will nourish the plants and allow their roots to penetrate the ground as deep as they need to as well as retaining moisture.

Choose what you want to grow

Probably the easiest and most popular veg to grow are tomatoes, lettuce (any variety), carrots, peppers, chillies, spinach, runner beans and courgettes. Tomatoes, beans, peppers and chillies will need canes or strings to support them and be warned, one courgette plant can go a very long way and will take up approximately one square metre when fully grown.

Buy seeds or seedlings

You can buy seeds online or at your local garden centre but if you’re going to grow from seed, you will need somewhere warm to germinate and raise the seedlings. Depending on the plant, it may be easier to acquire organic seedlings instead.

Maintenance of your organic garden

Once your plants are in the ground you need to make sure that weeds are pulled up as soon as they show their heads or alternatively, you can use a hoe or small fork to remove weeds.

Mulch between plants with wood chippings or other organic material; this will also help to keep the weeks at bay as well as retaining moisture in the soil.

Water your plants in the mornings on the roots only. As the plants mature, you will need to water with more volume but less frequently.

Keep bugs at bay with a spray of dilute washing up liquid and encourage friendly insects such as ladybirds or grow companion plants such as marigolds which discourage greenfly.

Always pick and dispose of rotten crops and damaged leaves. Do NOT put them on your compost heap but get rid of them separately or burn them if you can.

Harvesting your crop

Generally, the more you harvest, the more crops your plants will produce and if you choose your produce carefully, you’ll be able to eat fresh organic vegetables all year round.

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