Why is it more and more people are turning to growing their own organic foods. Certainly most seem to be turning to growing their own organic foods because of the substantial health benefits that they provide.
Other reasons could be because they know that their foods are both GM free and do not have any synthetic chemicals on them, plus it may be the thought of gathering their own food from the garden and placing it on the table in minutes, which means they retain all the valuable and health enhancing nutrients that our bodies need.
They even may just do it for the pleasure of losing themselves in the delight of spending time in their own garden or even spending time with their teaching and teaching them how to garden.
However there are certain practices that must be followed if you wish to have a healthy and high yielding organic garden and such strategies or systems need to be put in to place to make sure the soil is healthy, keeping the plants well watered, ensuring the insect population in your garden is well balanced and planning and rotating crops correctly.
You need to have a nutrient rich, well balanced soil that is high in microbial activity and this can be achieved quite simply by continually adding organic matter to your soil. One of the best ways of achieving this is by using compost (you could even make your own which has its own added benefits), use green manures, ensure you have good crop rotation and a “no” dig policy. Remember a high yielding garden is highly dependent on the soil being healthy.
The use of deep watering regularly will help to encourage the plants in your garden to develop a deep root system and this helps them to take on more water and nutrients, which when provides you with strong and healthy plants. By using mulch on your garden you are able to prevent moisture loss, soil erosion and also reduce weeds appearing. If you are able to install an irrigation system (especially one fitted with a timer) will not only benefit you (you don’t have to remember to go out and water the plants each day), it will also benefit your garden and the environment.
If you want your garden to be free from chemicals or sprays then you need to ensure you have the right balance of both good and bad insects (those that will assist and those that are harmful) in your garden is also important. Yes I did say bad insects! Just imagine if there were no bad insects in your garden on which the good ones to feast, you will find that they will either die or go else where. Imagine what would have if you found your garden full of predatory insects and then you became inundated with carrot fly, you would find it very difficult to stop them and you may end up having to use a chemical spray to deal with them. This is something that all costs should not be considered in an organic garden.
So by arming yourself with companion planting practices, i.e., using practical ways of outwitting bad insects as nature intended. The plant combinations that you use will help to confuse the enemy (bad insects) by masking the smell and shape of those plants which they often use to locate their favourite food.
Now that we have covered the basics above you now need to decide what you are going to grow and how much and when. Certainly you will know your family’s food needs better than me or anyone else, so don’t bother growing something (say brussel sprouts) if you family will not eat them. You also need to remember that certain plants will like certain temperatures, soils for growing in. Plants such as cucumbers, pumpkins and melons need to be grown in a warm temperature (it may be wise to invest in a greenhouse); certainly do not try to grow them in winter (your crop will fail).
Another thing you must consider it the rotation of crops if this is not carried out the soil will become depleted of the particular nutrients and elements that a plant needs as is continuously planted in the same place each year. It also results in the crop becoming depleted year on year as the nutrients it requires are declining in the soil.
If possible plan what you are going to plant in your garden each season (a good time to do this is during the winter evenings) and if possible keep a garden journal as it will become extremely handy when planning your garden each year. It will provide you with information on what work you have done previously and if there are ways of doing things differently as well as if you planted too much or too little of one particular crop to meet your family’s needs.
If you have found the above to be a bit overwhelming, just remember you are looking for progress in your garden and not perfection. Once you have started you will find that things improve as you go along. So there is no excuse for you not to start your own organic garden to today and hopefully the information provided above will help you’re off and you can build on this as you gain more experience and knowledge.