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How to Start an Organic Vegetable Garden


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Old 06-11-2019, 12:59 AM
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Default How to Start an Organic Vegetable Garden

Growing your own organic vegetables is a great way to ensure you have healthy foods for your favorite recipes. When you grow organic veggies, you won't be able to treat them with chemicals or herbicides, so youíll need to be more mindful of pests. If you want to start an organic vegetable garden, select a suitable spot in your yard where you can dig a plot, build a raised bed, or set up planting containers. Next, prepare your soil and plant your veggies. As your plants grow, keep them healthy with organic pest control.

EditSteps

EditChoosing Location, Containers, and Soil

  1. Choose a location with ample sunlight and proper drainage. Check your yard at different times of the day to observe the placement of the sun. Put your garden in an area that's exposed to sunlight for at least six hours throughout the day. Additionally, evaluate the location's drainage by checking for standing water.[1]
    • Make sure the spot gets partial shade if you live in a very hot area.
    • To see if your plot has proper drainage, check it after it rains to see if water pools around it. Standing water means that the plot doesnít have good drainage. If it hasnít rained in awhile, spray the area with a gardening hose for 5 minutes, then check to see if the water soaks in or pools.
  2. Test your soilís pH and amend it if necessary. Get pH testing strips from your local gardening store or online. Collect a sample of your soil in a cup, then add distilled water to the soil and stir. Insert a test strip into the mixture and hold it there for 20-30 seconds. Finally, remove the strip and check it against the kitís key. If necessary, add supplements to your soil to bring it within the range of 5.5-7.0.[2]
    • Vegetables grow best when their soil pH is 5.5-7.0.
    • If your soilís pH is below 5.5, add dolomite or quicklime to boost the pH. Mix it into the soil as directed on the package, then retest the pH.
    • If your soilís pH is above 7.0, mix additional organic matter into the soil to lower it.
  3. Plant directly into the ground if you have good drainage and pH. If you have good-quality soil that drains well, then it's easiest to plant your garden directly into the ground. To get started, pull and discard weeds. Then, remove any existing vegetation, like grass, by digging it up with your shovel and putting it in your compost pile. Once your plot is just dirt, it's ready for planting.[3]
    • If you'd like to plant directly into the ground but don't want to use your existing soil, dig out the plot and replace it with organic soil. Use a shovel to remove at least of soil from your plot. Then, pour an organic soil into the plot to use for your planting bed.[4] You can buy organic soil at your local gardening store or online.
  4. Build a raised a garden bed if you want to improve your plot's drainage. If you plan to plant your garden on land that's a bit soggy, raised beds are a great option. First, dig out about of soil in the shape of your plot. Then, place pieces of wood along the edge of your plot to create a box. Next, add organic soil to the box for planting.[5]
    • Raised beds can be made from materials such as cedar, which is a natural insect repellent.
  5. Grow your veggies in containers for a convenient planting option. Choose medium to large pots that are at least deep so that your plants have plenty of space to grow. Make sure your pots have drainage at the bottom so that water can flow away from the roots.[6]
    • If youíre planting your garden in pots, use organic potting soil.
    • You can use a sized bucket as a pot, if you prefer.
    • If your pots donít have drainage, cut holes into the bottom. Alternatively, add a layer of rocks to the bottom of the pot. However, keep in mind that water that settles in the bottom of the pot could drown your plant.
  6. Mix organic matter into your soil to fertilize it, if you prefer. Replace up to half of your soil with organic matter if you want to add more nutrients. Use a shovel to remove the existing soil, then spread the organic matter over the soil. Use the shovel, a spade, or a hoe to mix the organic matter into the soil.[7]
    • You can add fertilizer to gardens planted directly into the ground (if the existing soil has a healthy pH), raised beds, and containers.
    • Good options include peat moss, manure, or compost. You can buy these at your local gardening store or online.
EditPlanting Your Veggies

  1. Choose plants that grow well in your USDA hardiness zone. Depending on your local climate, some plants might not grow well in your area. Find out which USDA hardiness zone youíre in, then read the labels or plant information about the veggies you want to grow. Make sure you pick veggies that are compatible with your zone.[8]
  2. Get organic seeds from a farmers market, gardening store, or online. Check the label on the seeds to make sure it says organic. This means the seeds came from organic plants that were grown without pesticides, herbicides, and non-organic fertilizers. If youíre unsure about your selection, ask the person whoís selling them if theyíre organic.[9]
    • Organic plants can be difficult to find locally in some areas. Many nurseries use fertilizers and pesticides, so be sure to ask.
  3. Till your soil so that itís loose. First, remove any existing weeds or plants that remain on the plot. Then, make sure there are no obstructions, like rocks or sticks. Next, use a hoe or tiller to break up the soil in your plot. Make several passes over the soil to work the entire plot.[10]
    • If you have a large plot, you can rent a tiller from your local gardening store.
    • This will make it easier for the seeds to take root once theyíre planted. Additionally, it helps the water drain away more easily.
  4. Plant your seeds or seedlings outdoors after the last frost of spring. Sprinkle the seedlings over the soil in your plot or gardening containers, then add a thin layer of organic topsoil over them. If youíre using seedlings, use a small shovel to dig out about of soil, then place the seedling into it. Cover the roots with soil, but donít pack it down.[11]
    • If you plant from seed, you may need to thin out your plants once they sprout. However, itís unlikely that all of your seeds will sprout, so itís best to sprinkle a lot of seeds.
  5. Label your plants, if you desire. Print the names of your plants on garden stakes or popsicle sticks. Then, place each stake or popsicle stick near the correct row of plants.
    • If youíre using pots, put the labels on or inside the pots.
    • Itís especially helpful to label your plants if you have varieties of the same vegetable. Additionally, it can help you remember where you planted your perennial plants, which will likely return in future growing seasons.
  6. Cover the soil with of organic mulch to limit weed growth. Mulch is great for preventing weed growth, preserving moisture, and keeping your plants warm. Add a thin layer of mulch over your entire plot after you finish planting your seeds or seedlings. Your seeds will still sprout through the mulch.[12]
    • Great options for mulch include straw, cocoa hulls, or shredded newspaper.
    • Always check the label on your mulch to make sure it's organic. You can buy organic mulch at your local gardening store or online.
  7. Water your seeds or seedlings immediately after you plant them. Use a watering can or garden hose to spray your plot or containers until the soil looks damp. Then, feel the soil with your hand to make sure it feels moist. Donít add so much water that it pools on top of the soil.[13]
    • If you planted your garden in containers, itís normal to see a lot of the water flow out of the bottom of the pots.
EditCaring for Your Plants

  1. Water your plants in the morning so the excess water evaporates. Although your plants need water, too much water can be harmful. This is especially true if the water sits on the plant leaves. For best results, water your plants most mornings so that the sun can evaporate the excess water during the early morning hours and afternoon sun.[14]
    • You can skip watering your plants if the soil already feels moist or the weather is rainy.
  2. Use a liquid organic fertilizer weekly to help your plants grow. Follow the instructions on the label to measure out the fertilizer. Then, add the fertilizer to your gardening can or a fertilizer sprayer. Next, spray the water onto your plants to give them extra nutrients.[15]
    • Replace your regular watering with the fertilizer water.
    • You can find a liquid organic fertilizer at your local gardening store or online.
  3. Weed the plot at least once a week. Do a visual inspection to check your plot for weeds. If you see any, pull them immediately. Do your best to pull all of the weeds before they grow enough to start producing seeds.[16]
    • Donít put weeds in your compost, as they will contaminate the compost with seeds.
  4. Control pests by attracting helpful insects. Add plants that attract insects around the border of your plot. Common varieties include daisies, marigolds, bachelorís ****on, sunflowers, lemon balm, parsley, and alyssum.[17] Additionally, place rocks and stepping stones near your garden to give bugs lots of places to hide. The insects will snack on the pests that might ruin your crop.[18]
    • For instance, ladybugs and ground beetles are especially helpful for controlling pests.
  5. Keep pesticides, herbicides, and inorganic fertilizers away from your plants. Organic gardens donít use any pesticides, herbicides, or inorganic fertilizers, so youíll need to be vigilant about what you use. While this might feel like a lot of work at first, youíll get the hang of it once you gain some experience. Trust your organic fertilizer, hand-pulling of weeds, and friendly insects to keep your garden going strong.
EditVideo

EditTips

  • You can have your soil analyzed by your local cooperative extension office to determine what you might need to add to have the most successful garden possible.
EditThings You'll Need

  • Shovel or spade
  • Hand shovel
  • Hoe or tiller
  • Garden rake
  • Wood for raised bed (optional)
  • Containers or pots (optional)
  • Organic soil
  • Compost
  • Mulch
  • Organic seeds or seedlings
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Watering can or garden hose
  • Stakes for labeling (optional)
EditRelated wikiHows

EditReferences


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