Organic gardening can be tricky with the extra steps here and there but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be giving it a try. I’m going to share with you how to start your very own organic garden, starting with the tools you’ll need, to what types of soils and fertilizer you should be using and what crops you can grow that will help each other during the growing process.
Tools: Spade, trench spade, round point shovel, Hand trowel, cultivating tool, Rake, pruning shears, weed barrier, possibly a few 2x4’s, 2 ¼ sheets of plywood.
First and foremost find a location, one that gets a minimum of 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. This can be done in a raised bed or directly in the ground. If this is being done directly in the ground a few extra steps are needed. First, removing a minimum of 6” of soil (I find just going a full 1ft is much better especially when considering root vegetables) by no means is this soil garbage, spread it around the rest of your yards plants. Once this soil has been removed it’s time to lay down a layer of weed barrier (I like to double the layer, just longer protection from weeds) this is going to keep grass and weeds from growing up into your garden for at least the first 1-2 years depending on where you live and your growing season, it will protect longer in the Midwest over the west coast.
When choosing which soil to go with your going to have to do some research with what’s available in your area. If you’re interested in making your own mix, keep in mind you’ll have to watch the PH of the soil mix your making you’ll want to keep it in-between 6.0 – 7.0 this will ensure an optimum growing medium. To make your own soil I suggest the following to start, Mushroom compost, cow manure or chicken (careful with chicken it’s much more acidic), topsoil, peat moss, earthworm castings, bat guano, fish, and crab meal; mulch can also be used but be very careful as to where it comes from moths and butterflies love to lay eggs in the warm mulch piles and then the eggs get spread to your garden.
If all this sound like too much work you can simply buy bags of organic soil, however not all bags of organic soil are the same. Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, and your local garden center will all have organic soil options make sure to do research on them to find the best option for you. My personal favorites of ready-mix organic soil are in order.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest soil mix, (anything by fox farm is quite amazing, check for organic though some are not) Kellogg organic all-natural soil mix, Kellogg Amend organic plus.
Next you want to think of companion planting, what is companion planting? A way to maximize your gardens potential, for every vegetable you plant there is another that will help with the soils PH as well as chase away pests ensuring you get the most out of your garden.
Well, start with everyone’s favorite, tomatoes, oddly enough one of their best companions is basil, along with Marigolds, asparagus, carrots, and celery. When planting peppers plant companion vegetables like, spinach, onion, tomato, basil. If you have a little extra room grow beans with their companion corn that they will crawls up their stalks so no trellis for those guys, beans also help fix the nitrogen in the soil which is great for corn. Onions and carrots should always be planted next to each other, carrots are notorious for “the carrot fly” an annoying little bugger that will lay its eggs on the tops of the carrot and the maggot make its way into the carrot ruining the crop, onions will naturally repel the carrot fly other vegetable that should be planted next to onions are parsnips, beets, cabbage, lettuce, savory, tomatoes.
Starting your own organic garden is an amazing experience, and sometimes it can be very frustrating, but it’s all worth it in the end, you’ll be able to harvest your own vegetables from your very own organic garden, Happy gardening!!
Did you know our chefs can also help you with your garden? Having fresh produce and herbs available for cooking will make a big difference in your meals! Send an email to Rebecca@wholehealtheveryday.com to get gardening!
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