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How to successfully plant and grow an organic vegetable garden

How to successfully plant and grow an organic vegetable garden

With the amount of pesticides and heavy use of chemical fertilizers changing the quality of food nowadays, it’s no wonder more people are seeking out organic options. Although organic foods can get a bit expensive, there is a way to grow mouth-watering fresh produce all by yourself in your own backyard. Growing organic vegetable gardens can be easy to do, as long you pay attention to your garden.

Here are some of the Do’s and Don’ts of growing an organic vegetable garden in your yard.


Do

Do have the right tools ready

It really helps to start with all the right tools when growing your own organic vegetable garden. The basic tools that every gardener should start out with are a shovel, trowel, steel rake, and a watering hose or can. Each tool has a beneficial purpose as the shovel and trowel aid in cutting weeds and moving the soil, and the rake is what you need to grade and remove organic debris. If you’re planting tomatoes, consider purchasing cages because they help with the growth. Since you’re dealing with dirt, remember to protect yourself from insects and the sun so select clothes that you don’t mind getting muddy, and make sure to include hats and gloves.

Do choose a specific spot

When choosing the site of your organic vegetable garden, it’s important to select a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight each day. An ideal location would be somewhere that has easy access to water and is protected from strong winds.

Do evaluate and build the soil

Testing the soil is an essential step because you need to understand what condition the soil is in first, and also what it may need. You can purchase soil test kits at any garden center. Also, if your soil turns out to be in poor condition, a garden center can help you determine best course of corrective action. If you’re an urban gardener, the soil may contain contaminants so in this case you may need to build raised beds and bring in organic soils.

Do buy organic seeds or plants

Purchasing the right seeds or plants can be tricky, especially because you don’t want seeds that have been treated with synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. Check for “certified organic” on the labels, and try asking local farmer’s markets and garden centers when their seasonal plant sales are. Another great option is to look into seed catalog listings, and order from there.

Do research best pest control and fertilizer products

Weeds and diseases are the quickest killers of organic vegetable gardens, so it’s crucial to be prepared. To help reduce weeds, a layer of mulch one to two inches thick over the soil can create a barrier that can prevent the easy growth of weeds. Another benefit of using mulch from organic material is that it will decompose and add organic matter to the soil as well.


Don't

Do not forget to regularly check for dead foliage

Diseased dead, fallen foliage carry a lot of disease than can spread rapidly to other plants. It’s important to regularly walk through your garden at least once a week and pick up dead foliage. When you do pick up diseased leaves, avoid throwing them in your compost, and place it in your trash bin instead so the disease doesn’t spread any further.

Do not water your plants with a sprinkler

Watering your plants with a sprinkler is not a good way to measure how much water your plants are getting. Some might get too much while others may get too little. Also, remember that wet leaves can attract disease, so consider using a water-saving soaker hose instead because it can deliver water directly to the roots, allowing you to ensure that each plant gets the proper amount of water.

Do not be afraid of planting flowers

Even though you’re starting an organic vegetable garden, planting a few flowers is actually beneficial because these plants can attract beneficial bugs and make your garden look a little prettier. These good bugs will attack insect pests like aphids and tomato hornworms and are small enough so you’ll hardly notice them in your garden. Consider planting some Sunflowers, Cosmos, Marigolds, and Daisies.

Do not forget to rotate your plants each year

Avoid planting the same vegetables in the same spot every year because disease can build up and wipe out your plants as soon as they’re planted, so remember to rotate their location. Keep in mind that vegetables that are closely related are affected by the same diseases. Tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, and peppers are all related to each other, and squash, pumpkins, watermelon and cucumbers are also relatives.

Do not plant your vegetables too close together

By jam-packing so many vegetables near each other, you’re not allowing them to breathe and grow successfully because they’re competing for light and water. Depending on the size and type of the plant, you can avoid planting your vegetables too close together by leaving an adequate amount of space between each vegetable.


Summary
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The benefits of starting your own organic vegetable garden in your yard are plentiful. Not only are you saving money on your groceries, but you’re impacting the greater good of the environment as well. Your produce will taste more flavorful compared to supermarket produce, and your body will thank you since the quality in both nutrition and cleanliness are much more favorable. Anyone can start an organic vegetable garden in their yard, as long you plan ahead, and support your garden with the right soil, location, seeds, organic mulch, watering technique, plant spacing, rotate where you plant them each year and nurture it as often as you can.


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Craig Jenkins-SuttonPresident and Co-Owner

Craig’s love of the landscape was a natural progression of his upbringing in central Minnesota where he grew up at a youth camp where his father was the director and his mother oversaw the kitchen. Normal chores revolved around maintaining the c...

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