One of the great benefits to having an edible organic garden is being able to go outside and pick your own fruits, vegetables and herbs whenever you like.
This not only saves you money but it also saves you time. Wouldn’t it be great if last-minute while cooking spaghetti, you decide that you want to sprinkle some basil on top, and all you would have to do is take a few steps outside and clip some from your organic garden? You’d be saving a trip to the supermarket and eating healthier all in one shot.
At first growing fruits, vegetables and herbs organically may seem too difficult or complicated but it’s really not. You just need a few things to get you started and before you know it you’ll be reaping the delicious and healthy rewards.
1. Choosing the location for your edible organic garden
This is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the success of your organic garden plants. You’re going to want to choose a sunny area in your small garden; these plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They also need adequate space to ensure they have enough room for their foliage and roots to spread out. Check the specific sun and spacing requirements for each type of plant.
2. Choose organic garden plants
If you want to truly grow organic garden produce you should start with organic garden plants. This is the tricky part; it’s not always easy to find organic seedlings or young plants at your local garden center. You may need to buy them at a small nursery or online.
An easier way might be to just buy organic seeds. These are generally more readily available at garden centers and online.
3. Use organic soil
Organic soil consists of organic matter such as; compost, peat moss and manure. It is full of beneficial microbes and nutrition your plants need. These soils are available in most garden centers, nurseries and online. And you can buy them for your specific planting needs (potting mix for containers and garden soils for planting directly into the ground). When planting in the ground, you’re going to want to remove as much of the existing non-organic soil as possible, at least a few inches deeper than the plants you are going to plant.
4. Use a natural or organic fertilizer
There are many brands and types of organic fertilizers to choose from. You can use a general all-purpose pre-mixed fertilizer; which meets the needs of a variety of plant types. Or you can use fertilizers that are designed to meet your specific plant’s needs. These are made specifically for fruits & veggies, tomatoes, citrus fruits etc. There are also many natural fertilizers out there such as; blood meal, bone meal, worm castings and manure.
You can even make our own fertilizers at home; compost, compost tea, coffee grounds and crushed egg shells. Whichever you use just make sure it is suitable for the specific type of plant you want to fertilize. If you want to ensure your plant is getting the exact nutrients it needs just check the ph of the soil; this will tell you if you need acidify or neutralize the soil.
5. Get rid of pests naturally
Don’t reach for that insecticide/fungicide. There are so many effective natural, organic and homemade products available that you can use instead. As with chemical insecticides/fungicides these natural products can be just as powerful. So test them on a few leaves first to ensure that they don’t harm the plants.
Another great way to get rid of pests is by using insects like lady bugs and beneficial nematodes. To prevent weeds, keep a 1”-2” layer of un-dyed mulch (you don’t want that dye leaching into the soil when you water your plants), or compost surrounding the plants. Compost is a great choice because not only will it prevent weeds and keep your soil from drying out, but it will also provide nutrients your plants need to thrive.