Can anyone tell me in simple terms how to start an organic garden?

Breanna asks: Can anyone tell me in simple terms how to start an organic garden?
I would like to start my own organic garden because produce is so expensive and I think it would be a fun hobby because I am home a lot taking care of my brother. My grandma is giving me a compost bin this weekend so I’ll start on that. I have never done a compost or grown a garden so any information you could give me would be great.

I live on a half acre of property in Northern California. We get morning sun in the front yard and afternoon sun in the backyard and have red dirt on our property.

If you could explain to me like you’re talking to an idiot that would be great 🙂 thanks

The answer voted best is:

Answer by Gabriel
1. Get plants
2. Plant them
3. Don’t use chemical fertilizers or pesticides on the plants you just planted.

Presto, you have an organic garden.

What do you think? Answer below!

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  1. I am sure that you are not an idiot. Gardening organically takes time and effort but is worth it. I don’t know if they still publish or not, but if they do; look for “Organic Gardening” magazine. It is produced by Rodale Press. Most of my gardening abilities were learned from that wonderful little magazine. In a nutshell, here are some ideas:

    Decide on the size and shape of garden you want and mark the corners with stakes.
    Either dig or rototill the ground to loosen it.
    Cover the ground with several inches of grass clippings, leaves, straw, etc and work it deep into the soil.
    Plant your garden using the spacing noted on the seed packages. As your soil gets richer through years of composting, you can cheat the plants closer together.
    As the plants come up, thin them to the correct spacing and keep them free of weeds.
    Mulch them in with leaves, grass clippings, newspaper, straw, etc to keep the weeds out and moisture in.
    Try to keep insects under control by picking them off by hand, using organic sprays, spraying soapy water on the plants, or by putting a handful of the culprits into a blender and mixing the paste with water and spraying it on your plants.
    Good Luck!

  2. First off, it’s not rocket science. 🙂

    Secondly, you need a plan.

    Get a pen and paper. Write down what you and your family members actually eat, vegetable wise.. As far as fruit is concerned, there are a few fruits that can be grown in a home garden: strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes (but they take a few years to establish)… and a few others.

    When you decide what you and your family actually eat. It’s time to call your county extension agency, located under your county’s name in the phone book…or I’m sure you could google say, San Diego, CA county extension or whatever. Ask them which plants on your list can be grown in your area. They often will provide you with free literature about the plants you wish to grow as well as information on how to plant, care for, and prepare some of them. They will also help you test and ammend your soil for it’s optimal growing potential.

    When you have a list of which plants you and your family will eat that you CAN grow in your area, you have to find where you plan to grow them. DIfferent plants require different amounts of sun, water, etc. Usually the more sun you have the better when planting a vegetable garden. Pick a spot with the MOST sun, good drainage.. meaning it’s not dust, and it’s not sopping wet all the time..

    Now.. decide how many plants you want to grow.

    This is going to be based on:
    how much room you have.
    how much money you have to spend on soil ammendments (compost, peat moss, mulch, manure…)
    how much money you have available to spend on seeds, seedlings (baby plants that are difficult to start from seed)
    how much time you want to dedicate to this garden
    how much physical labor you can/will put into the garden

    Now.. if you’re not already ready to give up! lol


    Do you have a tiller? (a big heavy noisy machine with spinning blades that chop up dirt, grass)

    If not.. Don’t worry. If so.. Till the entire area you wish to plant. Don’t bother tilling walkways, just mulch over. Beds shouldn’t be wider than 4 feet.

    Do you have grass/weeds in the area you want for your garden? If not.. skip to the next step

    Aquire several cardboard boxes. Enough to make at least two layers on top of the grass/weeds that are covering the garden area you wish to use. Lay down the cardboard two layers thick over that area. Wet with a hose. Lay boards, sticks, anything heavy down on it so they won’t blow away. Wait a few weeks, check to see if the grass is dead. If so, remove cardboard, apply to your compost pile.

    *Cardboard boxes can be obtained free from grocery stores, dollar stores, gas stations, and from USPS website, order a box of the largest size mailing boxes (25 large boxes, delivered free) They work fine.. just turn them upside down after you take them apart.

    Now that the grass/weeds are dead, if there ever was any… get a shovel.. or borrow one.. (They can be obtained cheaply from stores such as Fred’s $ 4, or through Freecycle/Cheapcycle… )

    Start digging. Really. Start at the farthest edge of your garden from you. Put the shovel tip to the ground, Step on it, Sink it all the way in, pull backwards to loosen up the dirt. Take a step back. No more than two inches from your initial slice, repeat. Continue until you have run the length of your garden. Repeat until it is as wide as you want it.

    Turn your shovel perpendicular to your original slices. Repeat the chopping. With your shovel, or a hoe if you have one.. Commence busting the large pieces of soil and dirt clods with your tool until there are no pieces larger than a quarter. Remove trash, stones, sticks, roots (use knife, pruning shears, shovel, or hoe to remove roots)… You may want to find someone to help you.. this is very labor intensive, but great exercise. YouTube helps, too!

    Now that your soil is broken up, and cleared, you can mulch around the beds and in between to keep grass, and weeds from growing back, and to kind of designate your garden space.

    Following your guidelines from your County Extension Agency, select your seeds/plants from local nurseries, or from Seed Catalogs.. Plant according to directions..

    Some tips for “Organic Gardening”

    Don’t be fooled. Organic simply means not using chemicals. Period. That doesn’t mean you have to buy fertilizer labeled “Organic”.. You don’t have to buy a subscription to “Organic Gardening” magazine.. which from my own experience is not worth the money. You can do better with some good books and some research. If you want a magazine, I’d recommend Countryside Magazine. I would suggest you look for some back issues *pre-2000’s of Grit and Mother Earth News.. You can search both of the previous magazine’s entire article history on their websites. http://WWW.GRIT.COM, and http://WWW.MOTHEREARTHNEWS.COM. Excellent FREE information. The magazines are cheap, but it’s mostly advertising, and very yuppi-ish. The best book that I can recommend, when I purchased over $ 100 worth of books

  3. Go to the library, there are LOTS of books on organic gardening.
    Google organic gardening
    Experiment and have fun.

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