Organic gardening is becoming more and more popular, but it’s not always easy to get your plants to grow and thrive using completely natural methods. We’ve put together some simple tips and techniques to help you get started with an organic garden.
Why start organic gardening?
The main benefit of organic gardening is that you use fewer chemicals in your outdoor space. This means if you’re growing fruit and vegetables, there are fewer chemicals on them when you consume them. Plus, it’s better for the environment and can make your garden more wildlife-friendly.
Start with a raised bed
If you’re new to organic gardening, it can be a good idea to start out by setting up some raised beds, rather than trying to tackle a whole garden. These are often easier to manage as it’s a more confined space to keep maintained, watered, and weeded.
Build your raised bed in a suitable spot that gets sun all day long. Choose somewhere that’s also away from other plants and any trees that might have competing roots and ensure there’s good drainage. This will make it a lot easier to grow your plants organically.
Prepare your soil
Soil is probably the most important part of an organic garden. It needs to be properly enriched with the right nutrients and have a stable pH. To find out whether your soil is ready to be planted you can do a soil test that tells you exactly what your soil is missing, or whether it’s oversaturated with any nutrients.
The key to growing plants organically lies in the health of the soil, so even if your soil is fairly well-balanced, it’s still a good idea to give it a boost with organic fertilizer. This will ensure that your plants grow quickly and strong, and are less susceptible to pests and disease.
Make your own compost
A good way to keep your soil in the best condition long-term is to add your own homemade compost. It’s really simple to start composting — you can pick up a composting bin at a garden centre and just pick a dry and shady corner of your garden to set it up.
You can add in all your gardening debris like weeds, dead leaves, and branches, as well as other organic materials like food scraps and lawn cuttings. These will break down and eventually you’ll have organic compost that’s full of nutrients ready to spread in your flower beds.
New organic gardeners should try to choose easy growing plants that are more resistant to pests, and make sure to plant them at the right times so they’ve got the best chance of growing. Choose beginner-friendly plants that don’t require too much maintenance, such as:
It can take time and practice to get more difficult plants to grow well using organic methods.
If you’re worried about pests destroying your garden, there are organic pesticides without chemicals that can keep your plants safe. Alternatively, a good way to protect your plants is to use the companion planting method.
This means using companion plants that confuse or deter pests to protect the plants they’re next to, or the companion plants might attract other predatory insects that will eat other pests like aphids. Plants that have a strong smell like garlic, onions, and chrysanthemums are a good choice for companion planting.
Rotate your crops
Another way to keep your organic garden thriving is to rotate the crops you grow every year. Different plants will use up different nutrients from the soil while replenishing others. By changing your crops around, you can help the soil to recover and build up nutrients that have been depleted from growing a particular plant.
Whether you’ve got a small garden or a large garden, using organic methods can be easy enough as long as you start off with the basics. Focus on improving your soil, choose the right plants, and when you do need to use things like fertilizers and pesticides just opt for organic versions.