Planning an Organic Garden

Planning an Organic Garden

Why would I be planning an organic garden? What is wrong with the food I buy in stores? Isn’t it safe? Are my children getting the most healthy and nutritional organic food that I can provide them? With the food scares that are being broadcast every few months, you may find yourself asking these questions. The truth is, you are ultimately responsible for your own health & nutrition and that of your children. And if you choose to leave that in the hands of corporations where their bottom line is more about profit rather than healthy, nutritious food, then you may suffer the consequences sooner, rather than later in life.

Buying produce labeled organic still doesn’t protect you from unsanitary handling and what some may consider toxic practices. While the FDA has its own organic labeling standards, you may still find yourself at risk. If you should still choose not to grow your own organic fruits and vegetables, your next wisest choice would be to buy locally grown organic products where you can visit the farm where your food is grown. But for those of you who are ready to take the next step into healthy independence, this guide will help get you planning your own personal organic garden.

Organic Garden Layout Plan

The size of your organic garden will mostly be determined by where you live, how much land you have, and how much effort you wish to put forth. Don’t think you have enough room to grow organic produce? Even if you live in an apartment in the city, there are always options available for growing organically. You can grow organic vegetables in something as simple as a one gallon pot on a rooftop if that’s all that you have available. And resources are available on the web for people in just that situation. If you have land available to grow a garden, you’ll want to consider whether growing your plants in rows or raised beds would best serve your purpose. Growing plants in raised beds gives you the advantage of the soil warming more quickly in Spring, resulting in a slightly longer growing season. But raised beds may also use more water in warmer climates unless the beds are heavily mulched. Growing your organic garden using the row method is more suitable if you plan on raising large amounts of crops. You’ll need to decide which method is best for you. You also have the options of lasagna gardening and square foot gardening, both of which have their pros and cons.

Preparing Your Organic Soil

Plan on spending quite some time preparing your soil for organic growing. You have a wide variety of materials available to amend your soil, but after these amendments are incorporated into the soil they will need time to break down to become nutritionally available to your plants. You want to build a healthy soil. It is the backbone of a healthy populace. A healthy soil breeds healthy plants. Healthy plants breed healthy animals and healthy people. Manure, preferably horse or cow manure, will help improve the soil structure as well as add nutrients that will be used by your new plants. Organic amendments such as bloodmeal, bonemeal, greensand, hair (yes, hair), leaves, seaweed; all of these and more are what will build the foundation for your enriched organic soil. Never again will you find a need for synthetic fertilizers in your garden. You will basically have to rethink how soil fertility and structure is built, especially if you’ve been gardening with chemicals your whole life.

Controlling Pests Organically

The hardest part about organic gardening, you will most likely find, is dealing with pests. Whether it be imported cabbage worms or aphids, or a host of other common vegetable garden pests such as the dreaded squash bug. As an organic gardener, you will sometimes have to think outside the box. We sometimes find ourselves picking bugs off of our plants, one by one. While the chemical gardener might blast a spray of toxic liquid all over their garden plants. We find natural deterrents and use our wits in ridding the pest of our garden. Or maybe introduce natural predators, even if we have to purchase them, to protect our now treasured plants. A sampling of organic pest control products you should familiarize yourself with are: bacillus thuringiensis, diatomaceous earth, and neem oil. You will quickly realize that you can in fact grow plants in a garden without resorting to toxic pesticides.

Protecting Your Organic Soil

Once your soil has been prepared for growing healthy plants, the next step is protecting it. Your organic soil will be at its healthiest when slightly moist and cool. To keep these soil conditions as constant as possible you’ll need to cover the soil with a layer of mulch. Mulch can be anything really, from leaves to straw to last week’s newspaper. Try to keep your mulch about 3-4 inches thick at all times. This not only provides a beneficial environment underneath in the soil, but also helps prevent soil erosion. For what good would it be to build an enriched, healthy soil then to see it all washed away by wind and rain.

With the basics of planning an organic garden in hand, you can now grow nutritious, organic food for your friends and family and enjoy life to the fullest without worrying where exactly in this world your food actually came from.

Copyright © 2009 – Brian French – All rights reserved.

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