Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide

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Garden Tool Basics

If you're buying seedlings, look for plants raised without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. A great place to look is at your local farmers' market , which may also have native plants and varieties well-suited to your area. It's better to buy stocky seedlings with few, if any blooms yet, and root systems that don't look overcrowded. Many things are best grown from seed, including sunflowers , annual poppies, coriander, dill, annual phlox, larkspur, annual lupine, morning glories, sweet peas, squash, and cucumbers.

Plants that you will be harvesting, such as vegetables or cutting flowers, should be grouped tightly in beds that you don't walk on. Raised beds work great. Grouping reduces weeding and water waste, and helps you target compost and nutrients.

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Ample space between rows helps promote air circulation, which repels fungal attacks. Remember that seedlings won't always stay diminutive, and you do want to limit overshadowing.

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It's a good idea to thin crops based on nursery suggestions. According to Leslie Land, if you want the highest returns of organic produce with limited space and time, these plants are typically winners:. Indeterminate tomatoes : so named because the vines keep getting bigger and producing new fruit until frost. Non-hybrid old-fashioned pole beans: They keep growing and producing 'til frost — assuming you keep them picked. Zucchini: Everything they say about avalanches of zucchini is true, especially of hybrid varieties. Swiss chard: You can keep breaking off outer leaves for months, and every picking will be tender as long as plants get enough water.

Tall snow peas and sugar snaps : They grow readily and produce delicious rewards. The best time to water plants is usually in the morning.

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners

Mornings tend to be cool with less winds, so the amount of water lost to evaporation is reduced. If you water in the evening, plants stay damp overnight, making them more likely to be damaged by fungal and bacterial diseases. Ideally, you want to water the roots, not the greenery , which is easily damaged. A drip or soak system can work great, or just carefully water the bases of plants by hand.

Most experts recommend substantial, infrequent watering for established plants, typically a total of about one inch of water per week including rain. One or two applications a week encourages deeper rooting, which promotes stronger plants. To avoid shocking tender greenery, try to use water at or near air temperature ; collected rainwater is best.

No matter where you live, you'll still get weeds.

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Pulling them by hand may sound like hard work — and it can be — but it also can be good exercise, and gets you outside in the fresh air. Reduce the number of weeds you have to contend with by applying mulch, which also helps protect the soil.

Ultimate Guide to Starting a Vegetable Garden

Organic mulch and burlap can work in a pinch. Straw is cheap but doesn't last long. Wood chips are nice, but can get pricey. Many people opt to use lawn clippings, although it should be noted that because they are high in nitrogen, clippings should only be used on plants that need a lot of the nutrient, such as squash and lettuce. If your garden is being assaulted by pests, it may be a sign of other problems, so the first thing you should do is make sure plants are getting enough light, nutrients, and moisture.

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Also remember that a diverse garden helps prevent pests by limiting the amount of one type of plant offered up to enemies. It's a good thing to foster natural predators in your garden, such as frogs, toads, lizards, birds, and even bats. Beneficial insects can be your best friends, especially ladybugs.

Many nurseries even sell cans of them, though it's true there's a high probability they won't stick around. Leave a small source of water out to attract friendly predators. It's also a good idea to grow plants with small blossoms , such as sweet alyssum and dill, which attract predatory insects. Fun memories. Hi Melissa, I miss my old garden! I was looking at photos of it just the other day.

Just a lot of painting. But really, we all including me will have to wait until next year when we move and hopefully that will be our last move for more photos of my house and garden! Thanks for stopping by! Oh Manuela, I am so far behind getting my garden ready this year. However, all is not lost…I did get to the garden store to purchase several starter plants that hopefully will get in the ground today!

Hugs, Lynn. Oh you are very welcome! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow! But we still had a freeze warning this week! I did spend time planting some flowers in the front yard today. My vegetable garden. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Comments When you said buy an almanac it brought back some good memories of my Mother.

Looking for Something? Only plant the amount of space that you can manage joyfully. The garden should be fun and fascinating, not a chore to be dreaded and avoided. Start small, improve the soil, manage the weeds, and expand the garden as your skills and interests grow. Grow what you like to eat. If space is limited, concentrate on vegetables that yield the greatest return for the effort, such as pole beans, tomatoes, root crops, and leafy greens.

If you like to cook unusual foods, try vegetables that are difficult to find or expensive in the market—such as specialty lettuces or broccolini. In North Carolina most vegetables are grown as annuals, but some biennials and perennials are also grown. Vegetables are grouped by when they grow:. Plant cool-season crops early and warm-season crops in late spring. Use a cold frame or frost cloth to begin earlier in the season. Cool-season crops will bolt as the days lengthen and temperatures rise. Use shade cloth to protect plants and extend the season. Warm-season crops planted in late spring will grow until the first fall frosts.

In late summer, plant cool-season crops for fall. Cool-season crops established in late summer will continue to grow through moderate to freezing temperatures. Cold hardy crops such as kale, collards, and turnip greens planted in fall may live through the winter. In colder areas, use a cold frame or frost cloth to extend the season. For specific planting dates, consult your county Extension center. You can also use N. Scheduling when to plant and when to harvest can be done in several effective ways. Writing the planting dates and projected harvest dates on a calendar is a method used by many gardeners and farmers.

Another method is drawing a diagram of the garden and writing projected planting and harvesting dates on the garden diagram. Knowing when an area will be harvested helps with planning when to plant another crop in that space.

Top 10 easy to grow vegetables for beginners

Using this method of planning allows for a small space to be managed to its fullest potential. If planting in rows, run them across the slope of the land to reduce erosion.

Organic Gardening – How to Start an Organic Garden

If there is little or no slope, north to south orientation makes the best use of sunlight. Do not foster the buildup of insect and disease pests by growing the same types of plants in the same spot year after year. Instead, plan a three- to four-year crop rotation for each bed or garden area to prevent crops in the same plant family from being planted in the same space in succession Table 1. Crop rotation reduces the likelihood of nematode, insect, or disease buildup in the soil. This method of planning works well when the garden consists of three or more raised beds or is large enough to be divided into three or more plots. Table 2 depicts a sample four-year crop rotation plan for a garden with four plots growing vegetables from four plant families. Having a garden plan makes it easier to decide what seeds or transplants to purchase, how many will be needed, and when they will be needed. Things to record in the garden journal would include a list and map of what was planted, planting dates, varieties, source of plants, air and soil temperatures during the growing season, soil test results, fertilizers and pesticides applied, rainfall received, and amount and dates of harvest.

Include photographs throughout the season. Containers : Purchase potting soil or make your own by combining equal parts of compost, shredded pine bark mulch, and vermiculite. Do not use garden soil in container gardens. Raised beds or in-ground gardens : Amend your soil with organic material first either homemade compost or purchased certified compost.

Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide
Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide
Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide
Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide
Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide Organic Gardening: A Quick Start Guide

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