Choosing the right food to eat not only for one’s self but also for our families is very important. Eating organic produce over recent years have risen to popularity because they are found to be healthier than conventionally produced food and statistically safer.
Studies have shown that they tend to be more nutritious and are free from dangerous chemicals.
Nowadays, it is not hard to source organic food. We can get fresh produce directly from local farms and suppliers; they are also available in supermarkets. Though eating organic is very beneficial to our health, it could be quite heavy on one’s financials in the long run.
There is one solution for this, though, and that is to grow one’s garden. Now it may seem quite overwhelming, and it is easier to hire someone to maintain one’s garden.
But, with a bit of research and preparation, backyard gardening is easier than what we perceive it to be. This article will serve as a quick guide to all newbie organic gardeners.
Mapping for sunlight
Before breaking ground for your new garden, one important pre-step needs to be accomplished beforehand; that is mapping one’s backyard for sunlight.
In doing so, choose a clear sunny day to do this activity. On the first full hour of the morning, map out the areas that receive direct sunlight.
Every two hours, remap the areas of your yard that are receiving direct sunlight. Ideally, plants need to receive direct sunlight at least five hours daily. Mapping out your spots will help you plot the yard properly for your future garden.
Decide which plants to grow
For those who are new to gardening, deciding what to grow could be a bit of a challenge. Here is a quick checklist that would help future gardeners decide:
- Grow the food that one’s family consumes the most.
- Grow the ones that are most expensive to buy organically.
- Keep your garden simple; start out with beginner seed choices: snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, marigolds, and zucchinis.
Purchase the garden tools and supplies needed
After deciding which plants to grow and plotting out the garden, it is time to purchase the tools and supplies needed for the garden. Some of the basic tools and supplies are listed below:
- Gloves and hand trowels
- Garden hose with a spray nozzle
- Organic garden soil and compost (certified)
- Raised bed garden kit
Prevent grass and weed from growing in your plots
Now that the tools and supplies are purchased, it is time to prepare the backyard. On your chosen location, layout newspapers to completely cover the area. Spray the newspaper until it is soaked.
The logic behind this is that this will prevent weeds and grass from growing in one’s plots, though it is quite normal to have grass growing nearby, we do not want for the weed to overtake the growth of the vegetables.
Start building the raised garden beds
Normally garden bed kits come with instruction manuals. This step though requires a bit of physical labor and muscle. Base the size of your beds on your backyard mapping to maximize growth potential for the plants.
Add the organic garden soil and compost
Remember, only use certified organic garden soil and compost. This process ensures that our supplies are free from unwanted chemicals and other synthetic materials.
When adding the garden soil and compost, refer to the needed ratio per plot and only fill the raised beds 2/3 of the way.
Purchase your organic vegetable and fruits of choice
For new gardeners, it is recommended to start with starter plants to get a feel of the whole gardening process.
Replanting is also advisable instead of growing from seeds. Many new gardeners have learned the hard way that planting from seeds is a bit more challenging due to the 50/50 success rate.
Pant your garden
The last step in the gardening process is to plant your garden. This is the fun and easy part of the whole process. Starter plants will most likely be very small, so just dig a small hole that is enough to cover its roots.
Make sure that the plants are evenly spaced with enough room to grow. Group the same plants together in order to maximize the plot area. Group small plants together and the same goes for large plants of the same kind.
Do not forget to label each area for easy monitoring. After the planting process is done, give it a light watering.
Keep in mind that the best time to water the plants is in the morning. Mornings tend to be cool and less windy, so the amount of water lost to evaporation will be reduced.
Do not water in the evening as well, since the plant will remain damp overnight, making them prone to bacterial and fungal diseases. When watering the plants, ideally, water the roots and not the leaves. For established plants, experts suggest that infrequent watering is substantial.
Typically an inch of water is enough, including rain and water twice a week also promotes deep rooting resulting in stronger plants. To avoid shocking the greenery, use water that is near the air temperature, and collected rainwater is best.
When dealing with weeds, pulling by hand will work though it may sound like hard work. Applying organic mulch and burlap will also help greatly. These will reduce the number of weeds one has to contend with effectively.
If pests are attacking the garden, it may be a sign of other problems. The first thing to do is to make sure that the plants are getting enough nutrients, sunlight, and moisture.
Fostering natural predators such as toads, frogs, lizards, birds, and even bats could be beneficial. Some beneficial insects as well could be our garden’s best friend.
For organic weapons, bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacteria, works well against caterpillars and other leaf-eaters. One can also use insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, and horticultural oils.