Organic gardening for beginners is a fun, rewarding hobby to pursue. What was once mankind’s greatest vocation and only source of sustenance is now enjoyed by a smaller, but equally enthusiastic group of organic gardeners. Farming and gardening may no longer be an integral part of the daily lives of many, but organic gardeners find great joy in planting and cultivating organic vegetable gardens for themselves, friends, and family.
Much of today’s modern commercial farming embraces genetically modified crops that contain programmed-in properties such as insect and weed resistance and giant-sized fruit production. Because commercial farming is extremely competitive, scientists have patented modified seed that cannot be harvested or replanted and must be purchased from the owner of the patent each new season. Fortunately, organic gardeners are not impacted by patent restrictions on modified seeds. They don’t use modified seed.
Organic Gardening’s History
Organic farming and gardening is the oldest type of gardening there is. Chemicals, such as pesticides and chemical fertilizers, were not in existence until World War II. Organic, or chemical-free gardening was the only way to go. After WWII, the use of chemical products on farms became widespread. While there were some benefits to using chemicals on plants, health risks quickly became evident.
Organic gardening for beginners is one of the fastest growing types of gardening in the United States and much of Europe. While chemical products have become safer, there are still risks. Many families have turned to gardening as a way to avoid the purchase of mass-produced fruits and vegetables that may have been genetically engineered or chemically treated. Others enjoy gardening for the simple pleasures of cultivating the land and reaping the rewards digging in and getting your hands dirty.
Did You Know?
- While you may not want some insects in your organic garden, there are thousands of beneficial insects that help pollinate and eat pests.
- Earthworms “turn” the soil, improving its content. They also leave natural fertilizer behind as they eat.
- Organic gardening can be done in containers as well as planting beds.
- Marigolds, garlic, and onions repel some pests and certain garden-destroying animals.
Organic Gardening For Beginners
The long winter away from the soil and plants is difficult for many gardeners, but most have found a way to engage in organic gardening during the coldest months by starting seedlings indoors. Early to mid-February is typically the right time. Starting your plantings indoors gives gardeners a head start on the growing season. The small plants are then transferred outside as the weather allows.
Organic gardening for beginners is a hobby that is easy to learn and fun to do. A great way to begin is to start small with a few seeds, sprouting dirt, and a couple of egg cartons. Select a seed type and prepare the growing environment. Cut the lid off each egg carton and discard. Fill the egg carton cups with sprouting dirt and lightly press a single seedpod into the soil with your thumb.
After each cup is filled and seeded, lightly pack the dirt with the tips of your fingers to press the air out. Water the soil generously, line a windowsill with newspaper, and place the grow pods on the window sill. Water periodically as directed and wait for the plants to grow. The simple joy of watching a plant break through the soil is one of the richest rewards for a beginning gardener.
Read as much organic gardening literature as possible. Find out what methods, plants, and planting times are optimum for your area. Investigate ways to enrich the planting soil. Organic gardeners are masters at using what they have or finding inexpensive methods for improving their soil quality. For example, grass clippings can be used as mulch. It adds nutrients and helps the soil retain water. Straw, which is readily available and inexpensive, can also be used.
If you already have prepared beds or plan to plant in existing flower beds, the cost for starting your own organic garden will be limited to the purchase of the seed and any additional gardening tools you may require. If you choose to build raised beds, it may cost as much as $600 to get started, depending on the size of the beds and construction materials used.
Organic Gardening For Beginners How-to Guide
In the early spring, start preparing your outside planting bed. Begin with a soil assessment. It is tempting to plant in a vacant plot in the backyard, but the same soil that nourishes lawn grass is not ideal for gardening. Gardeners should become frequent visitors of the local plant nurseries. Local stores carry nutrient enriched fertilized soil that is ideal for the regional climate. The soil is organic, inexpensive, and prepares the foundation for healthy thriving plants. Nursery staff are generally knowledgeable and can assist you with plant, soil, and fertilizers appropriate for your planting zone.
One bag of nutrient soil should be added for every three square yards of garden plot. Tilling the soil once the new dirt is added will help to even out the dispersion of enriched growing surface.
Choose your seeds. The best choice in the beginning is to grow plants that produce vegetables that you and your family love. Everyone takes an interest in the welfare of the plant if they know a bright red, juicy tomato or scrumptious head of lettuce is the reward.
If you are planting seeds, plant shortly before the final frost is expected for the year. If you are planting seedlings, wait until all threat of frost has past. The middle of April is safe for most regions in the United States. Plant according to the directions on the seed packet. The instructions will include seed depth, amount of sun required, optimal distance from other plants, and watering needs.
The key to organic gardening for beginners is to establish routines. Plants need consistent attention. Different plants thrive in different conditions. Set time aside to water, check plants for disease and pest infestation, remove weeds, and periodically add enriched dirt-fill and organic manure fertilizer. Schedules help new gardeners learn and ensure that plants thrive.
Organic Gardening Tips And Tricks
- A simple solution when dealing with a slug infestation is as follows: Fill aluminum pie tins with inexpensive beer. Place the pie tins on the ground around the infected plants. Slugs will be attracted to the yeast scent in the beer, climb in the tin, and drown.
- If a cucumber plant begins to show signs of prickly pimples, it is time to uproot the entire plant. It has been infected. If the plant is not removed, other plants will also be infected.
- Keep a journal. Record the time, date, and types of plants planted, as well as pest infestations, growth rates, harvest dates, and any other important information. Your journal will give you a reference to use in years to come.
- Don’t forget to leave walking paths in the garden that allow you to inspect, water, and weed around each plant.
Doing More with Organic Gardening
After a successful season or two, you can look at ways get more out of your organic garden. Below are some ideas for organic gardening for beginners:
- The period of time after your harvest is a great time to build raised beds if you have not already done so. Raised beds are an ideal gardening environment. They act as a natural protection from animals and prevent soil leaching from the lawn’s dirt into the plant’s fruit.
- Design your own lawn diagrams to increase plot sizes and refine the details of crop rotations. Plants do best if they are planted in a new space each year. Diagramming planting locations and being creative is a great way for organic gardening beginners to become experts.
- Sell your produce at the local farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets are great ways to meet other gardeners as well as make a little profit from all of your hard work. Farmer’s markets also support those in your local community.
- Learn to compost. Composting gives organic gardeners a way to make their own nutrient-enriched soil from common household waste, such as apple and potato peels.
Organic Gardening Resources
The following online resources are helpful to learn organic gardening for beginners…
The National Gardening Association: Renewing and sustaining the connection between people, plants, and the environment.
The Dirt Doctor: Natural organic gardening and living information.
The Organic Consumers Association: A grassroots non-profit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability.
Plant Care: Extensive plant database, care guides, and natural gardening tips.
Related YouTube Videos
Check out the following videos to learn even more about starting this hobby.