Remember when you were a child in grade school and you planted a seed in a small cup of dirt, watered it for a few months, and then watched it grow into a full-grown plant? It was a simple endeavor, but it probably gave you a lot of fulfillment, even as a kid, to be responsible for something so tiny and be able to nurture it into something more.
Creating an organic garden in your adulthood is not that elementary a task compared to growing a small plant in a cup, and yet it can give you the same kind of satisfaction and instill a similar sense of childlike wonder you felt back then. If you want to grow your own fresh vegetables or flowers (or both), here is a concise beginner’s guide on how to grow your own organic garden:
1. Choose a specific time for planting. Most gardening experts recommend planting after the soil has dried—that is, after the ground has thawed from the effects of winter.
2. Start making your bed. Three weeks before you’re set to start planting, prepare the ground by sinking a fork into it and loosening the soil to about twelve inches below the surface level. Then take a half-inch of compost material and layer it all over your bed. Rake all over the surface until there are no weeds, clumps of dirt, and big stones.
3. Start digging holes for the seeds. If you like to have a bit more symmetry and order in your garden, you can carve out shallow furrows or trenches with a hand trowel or a hoe. Or you can set up your garden in a grid form.
4. Lightly water your plot, but do it so as to just moisten the soil a bit. The purpose of watering the plants before sowing the seeds is so that the seeds do not get drowned or swamped out of their holes if you water after sowing instead.
5. When sowing the seeds, make sure you don’t plant them too closely. Seed packets will usually tell you the specific distance you should plant them apart from each other. If you’ve dug a trench, spread the seeds all over it; if you’ve created planting holes, put two or three seeds in each hole. Sprinkle soil on the seeds afterward, pressing gently to make sure they are firmly embedded in the soil.
Dealing with Weeds
Weeds rob your plants of much-needed water and nutrients. They can also serve as habitats for pests, and they can also turn your beautiful garden into a terrible mess. It’s crucial that you get rid of them if you want your plants to flourish, but you don’t have to resort to using toxic sprays that have harmful chemicals. Instead, you can try the following natural approaches:
1. Mulch – Organic mulch is comprised of things like dried grass, straw, and shredded leaves. You should spread a thick, two-inch layer of this on the ground surrounding your plots so as to deter weed growth. Mulch has the added bonus of nourishing your soil as it slowly decomposes over time.
2. Hand-Pulling – This may sound like a lot of work but it’s something you need to do to prevent the weed situation in your garden from getting out of control. Pulling out a few weeds every day is much better than just waiting around till the problem gets bigger; then, you’ll have a much harder time getting rid of them.
3. Corn Gluten – Spreading corn gluten meal is another thing you can do to discourage the growth of weeds in your garden. Corn, when it is processed, produces corn gluten as a by-product, which inhibits weed growth and fertilizes your soil at the same time. It is also an environmentally friendly product as it is safe for both people and animals.
The Watering Process
Contrary to what most people think, watering plants is not that as simple as pouring water on them every day. There are guidelines that you must follow if you want to make sure that your plants get just the right amount of sustenance:
1. Choose and Plan Your Garden’s Layout Accordingly
Your garden’s layout will influence the way you water in that, for instance, a plant that requires a lot of shade will require a lot more water if you put them in a sunny spot. When planning your garden, consider the specific needs of your plants and try to group them according to those needs.
2. Water During Cooler Times of the Day
Watering in the early morning or the early evening—when temperatures are much lower—will help your plants to retain much of the moisture from your watering. When watering, direct your spout or hose at the soil around your plants.
3. Employ the Rainwater Harvesting Technique
If you want to get really green, healthy, well-nourished plants, try to practice the rainwater harvesting technique—a practice in which you’ll gather rainwater in storage containers like those provided by Rain Water Tanks. Rain is the purest kind of water there is, unlike the water that comes from our taps, which is full of all sorts of chemicals.
Planting your own organic garden requires a lot of hard work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the process. You can build your own garden room, to which you can retreat after working so hard planting and watering and weeding.