Easy Organic Gardening eBook
Essential Guide to Organic Gardening
By gardening organically, the dependence on chemicals is removed. By eliminating chemicals used in regular gardening, your vegetables will be healthier because they will get the nutrients by natural means. Unlike traditional gardening; organic gardening will help to prevent potentially harmful toxins from entering your body. Lastly, it is much more environmentally friendly.
Perhaps you've been wondering why so many vegetable gardeners have compost piles. The short answer is that it's downright sensible. Compost is a bountiful and free source of organic matter, which vegetables adore and consume like crazy. To have it always handy when you need it is unbeatable. Compost is a pile of organic waste that breaks down into rich, dark, crumbly material that jubilant gardeners call black gold It's an excellent way to add humus to your garden, and it also acts as a natural, slow-release fertilizer. You also get to feel virtuous and efficient because you're not sending perfectly useful materials away with the household garbage. Store-bought compost, bag for bag, may not strike you as terribly expensive, but it really starts to add up when you're starting or caring for a vegetable garden. You're better off making your own. And hey, it's easy. Okay, here's the short course on creating compost for your vegetable garden. If you have need of mountains of compost or get...
The basic goal of every chapter is to give you the information you need to go out and create a garden, or at least plant something, no matter what your level of experience. You may already know a lot about roses, for example, but perhaps you want information on how to start an annual flowerbed the chapters in this book can help out in that regard. Even if your primary interest is in growing roses or daylilies, or in setting up a basic vegetable garden, you can find useful information in every chapter that you can probably apply to your planting project.
First, though, get an idea of the growing seasons that you have to contend with (for info on growing season, see the frost zone info in Chapter 3). Typically, the vegetable-gardening season is summer, bookended by late spring and early fall. Gardeners mark the start by the last spring frost date and the finish by the first fall frost date (although some crops, like parsnips and kale, can stay out in the cold a bit longer and even gain improved flavor). If your growing season is short, you can still have a very bountiful vegetable garden. Choose vegetables that mature faster, and try some season-extending tricks. Here are two favorites
Sketch out your vegetable garden plan on paper ahead of time. Figure out how much space to allot to individual plants and don't forget to allow for space between the rows, or paths, so you can tend the plants. (Mature sizes of various vegetable varieties are noted on seed packets and often in catalog descriptions.)
A sure way to banish the winter blues, as well as get a jumpstart on your vegetable garden, is to start some seeds indoors early. To find out how early, consult the back of the seed packet you want to time it so you have several-inch-high seedlings in late spring, after the danger of frost in your area has passed. Refer to Figure 13-6 and follow these steps
If you build it, they will come, sorry to say. Because you're growing edible plants, you should be very reluctant to throw chemical remedies at pest problems in your vegetable garden. Fortunately, you can choose from plenty of proactive, less-risky strategies and deterrents.
When you plant your herbs really depends on the plant, but you can't go wrong planting herbs the same way you plant vegetable seedlings that is, plant them out in the garden after all danger of frost is past (see Chapter 13 for info on vegetable gardening). The reason this strategy works for most herbs is that a lot of them aren't especially cold-tolerant. This technique also gets them in the ground under encouraging conditions warm soil, warm air, and a good summer stretching out ahead of them. They should surge right into robust growth.
Herbs growing by vegetables Adding edible herbs to your vegetable garden is a good idea. They like the same growing conditions of fertile soil and full sun, and when you're in the mood for a spontaneous summer meal, everything you need is right at hand. Some of my favorite choices include basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, fennel, thyme, and chives. Check out Chapter 13 for info on vegetable gardening. If you prefer informal herb gardens, take note A casual bed devoted to all herbs can look delightfully cottage-gardeny, or it can look like a jumble. (A jumble is bad It's hard to care for and harvest from, and crowded plants become more vulnerable to pests and diseases.) So make a plan on paper for this sort, too set it up like your vegetable garden or your favorite flower garden and then see what happens, making alterations as you see fit. Aim for a harmonious mix of foliage colors and types, with the occasional exclamation point of a flowering herb.
Today's consumers are demanding natural and organic foods with label-friendly ingredients, for maintaining a healthier lifestyle, preventing ailments, and concern for the environment. Sustainable methods of growing crops and manufacturing products without the addition of chemicals and pesticides, MSG, hydrolysed plant protein (HPP), salt, sugar, or chemical preservatives are the trend today. The organic food consumption is growing at a steady rate in the United States. The current annual growth rate for organic foods is 20 compared with the 2 to 3 growth rate for conventional foods. The younger generation, baby boomers as well as the Asian and Hispanic Americans, are the biggest consumers of natural and organic foods and beverages.
From practical tips to the latest research, universities offer valuable info and give a regional perspective. National organizations also have regional and local branches, and their sites tell you of events to attend, groups to join, and gardens to visit. If you have a particular plant passion, you're likely to find a plant association of like-minded gardeners on the Web. Many offer expert advice, publications, and regional gatherings. You can also find many sites on organic gardening, which can help you create a garden that's healthy for your family, for wildlife, and for the environment. And of course, you can search through numerous online mail-order companies that can supply you with what you need to get your garden started. Pull up a seat to your computer and get ready to explore (In case the computer doesn't appeal to you today, I also give you the phone numbers and addresses of the mail-order companies so you can request a catalog.) Organic gardening experts Organic Gardening...
Feed the soil, and the soil will feed your plants. That's one of the basic tenets of organic gardening. In most cases, an annual application of rich compost or well-aged manure will provide enough nutrients and organic matter to sustain your plants all through the growing season. Even so, your garden will probably need a quick pick-me-up from time to time. That doesn't mean that you have to run out to the garden center and drop some cash on an expensive fertilizer. Chances are you have the ingredients for making your own inexpensive, earth-friendly plant food right at hand.
Fifth generation farmer Dean Berden of Snover, Michigan, uses cover crops for fertilizer in his farm fields and his family vegetable garden. Dean produces dry beans, soybeans, wheat, oats, and organically certified cover crop seeds on his 500-acre Thistle Down Farms without using any commercial fertilizer supplements.
What exactly is cultivating, anyway After all, this is gardening I'm talking about, not farming. All it really means in the context here is stirring up the soil and fighting weeds. These jobs, quite honestly, always seem to go hand in hand. You need to do them for the good of the soil and the survival and prosperity of your garden plants. Cultivating tools exist to make the job easier and more efficient, regardless of whether you're tending a vegetable garden or a flowerbed.
Don't toss the pieces back in the water where they can break down and foul and water Add them to the compost pile or dig them straight into a vegetable-garden's soil. For potentially invasive floaters and submerged plants, play it safe and add them and their prunings to the household garbage.
Using raised garden beds is a very practical way to construct a good vegetable garden. They have good drainage, the soil warms up quickly in the spring, they're easy to weed (high off the ground), and you're less likely to step on and compact the soil, so roots can grow better in looser, well aerated ground. Just make bottomless wooden boxes between 8 and 12 inches deep, set them in a sunny, flat area, fill with good soil, and away you go. Native soil can be used if it's of good quality, otherwise half native and half added purchased soil would work fine. See Figure 13-5 for how to build a raised bed. If you use more than one raised bed, space them so you can walk between them or bring a wheelbarrow down the row. Construction tip Brace each corner with a corner post for extra stability.
The biggest mistake beginning vegetable gardeners make is using lousy or too-thin soil. Gardening is not rocket science, folks (even if NASA is working on growing vegetables in space). Please, before a single vegetable begins its hopeful, potential-filled life in your yard, give it a very good home This prep work can save you untold disappointment and, perhaps more than any other factor, assure a bountiful and delicious harvest. If you're working with a brand-new vegetable garden (or one that fell fallow and you're bringing it back to life), I suggest you stake it out and get it ready the autumn before you plan to plant. This act gives the soil and the amendments you've added time to settle and meld. It also means you have less work to do next spring. Most vegetables are content with 6 to 8 inches of good ground for their roots to grow in. If you're planning to grow substantial root crops (potatoes, say, or carrots), go deeper still up to a foot or more (yes, you can use a technique...
1 Rain tower The rain tower is just an impulse sprinkler like the whirlybird, but it's elevated on an adjustable tripod contraption so it can water a broad circle. Therefore, it's terrific for watering large areas of tall plants, such as a corn patch or vegetable garden.
To make a weed-free garden bed from scratch, try smothering the weeds in winter rye, suggests Julie Berbiglia, author of The Lazy Gardener's Guide to Organic Gardening. Julie says that she and her coworkers kept an 11 X 11-foot plot in rye all summer at the organic demonstration gardens of the Scarritt-Bennett Center's Organic Garden and Arboretum yf