Easy Tips for Organic Gardening Success
Gardening comes with its own share of tribulations and little wins. And for organic gardeners, these highs and lows may seem even more pronounced. The decision to steer clear of chemically heavy fertilizer and pesticides—while noble—can feel like a whole lot of hard work. Are there any shortcuts that an organic gardener can take to ensure success? You’re in luck. Here are some ways to make your chemical-free garden less work with a higher yield.
Order yourself a greenhouse.
A large problem many organic gardeners face is bugs and how to fight them without pesticides. First order of business? Get a greenhouse. And if you want to go fancy, get an auto light deprivation greenhouse. The type that allows you to program how much light your crop receives. This type can extend your growing season to start early and end late. Growing your crops in a greenhouse does not make your crop immune to bugs. But it will decrease the bug population by providing a barrier between the pests and your precious plants.
Fight bugs with plants and flowers.
What about options to fight the bugs that still manage to get into your greenhouse? And what can those people do who can’t fit a greenhouse on their property? How will they fight the hungry hordes that want organic tomatoes for lunch? You may be surprised to find that plants and flowers can join your fight against pests. The following plants keep pests away from your crop:
- Asters – deters most insects
- Basil – deters flies and mosquitoes
- Chrysanthemum – deters most insects
- Garlic – deters aphids, most insects
- Henbit – deters most insects
- Marigold – deters most insects
Block weeds with mulch.
Weeding can be a strenuous and never-ending job for organic gardeners. Weeds can take the nutrition out of your soil that your plants need. Plus, they compete for space, water, and sunlight. And they are a terrible eyesore. How to fight weeds without spending all waking hours out in your garden?
All plants need light to grow. But what if you were to block the light that weeds receive? Do this by placing mulch down between your organic vegetable rows. This can go far to keep weeds from coming up. Some weeds can be rather persistent, however. In such cases, Farmer’s Almanac suggests doing a double layer of newspaper first, and then placing a two-inch layer of mulch on top of that. Additionally, mulching helps with keeping bugs away, too. Organic mulch is made from bark shavings, grass, straw, or leaves.
Compost from your kitchen.
Healthy soil provides you with healthy, robust plants. An essential part of keeping your soil healthy is by reintroducing nutrients into its composition. For organic gardeners, composting is just a matter of time and requires minimal effort. Have a bin in the kitchen with a tight lid where you can scrape table scraps and fruit and vegetable peels into. Other things that can go into your scrap bin include egg shells, coffee grounds, and tea leaves. Avoid putting anything too oily into the scrap bucket, such as dressings or oil-laden foods.
Once the bin is full, take it out back where you have your compost pile. Your compost pile should be on bare earth with a couple inches of straw, leaves, or twigs forming the base. When you add to the pile, add in layers. One layer would be the scraps in the kitchen, the second layer would be leaves or other dry materials. If you mix your compost pile every other week, it will decompose more quickly. Expect for your compost to be ready within 3 months to a year. This may seem long, but overtime, you will always have a compost heap in the works. And composting is one of the most straightforward ways to get nutrients back into your soil.