The number of consumers purchasing organically grown produce has been on a slow but steady increase in recent years. Organic produce refers to fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, or grains that were grown using only natural means. Recent studies have shown that some chemicals are allowed to be used by federal guidelines and the produce is still deemed “organic”. To receive the freshest produce, gardening is the key, this will ensure that the food is truly organic and will save you money.
Many consumers have made the choice to garden organically due to the concerns of synthetic chemicals on their food. Research studies have found that ingestion of synthetic chemicals (pesticides, ...view middle of the document...
Once your compost pile is established moisten it and bury it under at least ten inches of green material. Green material can be grass clippings, straw, and dried leaves. Cover all with a tarp to keep the moisture locked in. When the material at the bottom is dark and rich in color your compost is ready to use. This process takes from two months up to two years.
Once you begin your journey into organic gardening you will need to do research. A key element in organic gardening is soil. You can have your soil tested by contacting your county agent at your local Agricultural Department. Once you receive the results of your soil test you will need to research what type of plants grow best in your climate and soil type. Also you should think in advance about crop rotation.
Crop rotation is an easy way to control diseases and insects at no cost. For example, tomatoes, cauliflower or cabbage planted in the same location each year will actually encourage buildup of certain diseases in the soil. By rotating crops, you are removing the host plant and preventing the spread of disease. Also, as overwintering insects emerge from the soil in the spring, they expect to find the same plant in the same place. By moving garden plants around, insect pests will have a harder time finding their target.
After your research and plan is made you are ready to begin your garden. You will need to make your bed. Nine weeks prior to planting you should remove all weeds and loosen the soil and moisten the soil. Cover the area with thick clear plastic and bury the edges. This will “cook” any remaining weeds. This plastic should stay in place for six weeks. About three weeks before you are ready to plant you will need to remove the plastic and loosen the soil again and add compost. Once you add the compost you will rake across the soil surface to blend. In the next three weeks, pull all weeds that may pop up and rake the surface.
When your bed is set you will need to think if you want to plant in rows. This is a common practice but is not necessary. Soil should be watered lightly before seeds are planted not after. Sow your seeds in a trench or planting hole. Always read the seed packages for depth they should be planted and other necessary information. Cover all seeds with soil and pack firmly. Sprinkle water on the seed bed whenever the surface is dry until you see the sprouts.
Weeds are a hazard to any garden, as they take water and nutrients from your garden. However, toxic herbicides are not necessary. An organic remedy to this common problem is mulch. Mulch can be mixed with your compost or can be applied alone. Mulch is made up of straw, dried grass clippings, and shredded leaves. A thick layer of mulch in your garden is beneficial to the soil as it decomposes and aids in the prevention of weeds. When a weed does spring up it is better to pull it up by the roots that to merely cut the weed. Persistence is the key to an organic...