How do I start the perfect organic garden?

rz asks: How do I start the perfect organic garden?
I want a decent size organic garden. I would like a lot of tomatoes, green beans, herbs, zuccine, eggplant, squash, lettuces, peppers, and corn. When do I start? Can I start them from seeds now? What can I plant to keep pests away? Any advise would be great.

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Answer by hopflower
First, get off of the position of having it perfect or you will be lead to disappointment. Often. gardens are evolving projects; from which you learn a lot about plants, yourself, and life. You find out what works for you and what you enjoy.

Now, depending upon the size of your garden; you can plant some early spring crops such as lettuces, radishes and peas. The time to tart your organic garden is in the autumn. Rototill or dig with your spade and bring the earth up and over to aerate it. If you have weeds, pull as many as you can out, then cover with about newspaper or cardboard about 8 sheets thick. After that, you can cover all this with about 3-6 inches of compost to feed the soil. The winter rains will mix it in and in spring, you have nourished, refreshed earth.

A great book on organic gardening, and there are many; is Straight Up Organic Gardens by Shepherd Ogden of The Cook’s Garden Fame. See if you can find a copy; it is very helpful. Or, go down to your local library and see if you can find an organic gardening book you are comfortable with.

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  1. You have to read your packages to find when is the best time to sow those seeds, thinning and importantly, spacing.
    You should probably start with a few items first, today I am going to start roma tomatoes and orange sweet pepper in the house. Those to items take about the same time to grow, and both require the same types of soils, so I will sow the seeds indoors and once about 3 leaves high you can transfer to the ground or to bigger pots.
    If you are going to use the ground you will probably choose raisesd beds, so go to the lumber yard and buy untreated wood and build yourself a raised box.
    *Till the soil, if grubs and beetles are in there then use some milky spore (natural) in the grow box and use up the rest on your lawn. Then in your box lay newspaper, and mix your soils (sands, potting soil, whatever is called for to grow your plants)tons of mulch of your choosing, not only surpresses weeds but keeps moisture in.
    *cool tip, when transplanting into your soil cut the bottom out of a cup and place the bottom of it in the hole, plant inside that cup, it will help with cutworms and other critters that cant crawl up that high.
    *keep your garden clean of debris and fallin rotten leaves, bugs love living i them.
    proper spacing is needed to help with bugs and to make sure your plants arent rubbing against one another.
    Pulling your weeds.
    *bugs on your leaves? use the recomended mixture of soap and water and spray the leaves, top and underside.
    *rats, cats, rodents, use fencing, and if that doest stop the squirrels dust the area with cayanne pepper.
    *slugs, many tips on slugs, you pick your favorite. burrying flush with top of soil and using beer makes the little drunkards fall in and die. toss them out in the morning and repeat.
    *beetles, you should have used the first tip, milky spores but if you hadnt then you have have them, you will know you do because they will be the ones eating holes in the leaves. Go ahead and buy the milky spores now, treat the yard and the soil next season.

  2. Hopflower is right on. The garden will not be perfect for years.

    Start with the soil, make compost and add that several times a year to your garden beds.

    learn about seasons in the garden. Peas and lettuce like it cool so are best planted in spring. The rest of your list are warm weather crops that cannot be put in the soil until all threat of frost is over in your planting zone.

    Corn and beans need to be sown directly. Squash can either be started indoors or sown directly. Tomatoes, eggplant and the herbs need to be started indoors 8 to 16 weeks before you plan on transplanting them out in the garden and have the best selection of books on organic growing.

    There is a lot to learn to get competent at it-it takes many many years to get a good organic garden established but it is a great hobby, you will learn a lot about growing things and the natural world and you will eat well.

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