A few years ago, I start hearing about organic gardening and start reading about it.
What’s all the fuss about organic produce? When you see it stacked and misted on in the produce section, it all looks about the same.
Organic gardening, once seen as something practiced only by health nuts and hippies, is no longer a fad. Everyone wants the food we serve to our families as well as our environment to be safe and healthy.
Wanting to do no harm to our families and the world around us is the central reason people grow organically.
Growing organically is a way of taking control, an attempt to make the foods you serve full of the good things your family needs, and free of the things they don’t.
For me, organic gardening was easy, because we use only organic materials. We still do our gardening in the old fashion way, so all our products taste so good.
It’s the way our great grandparents gardened, the way food was raised for thousands of years before the invention, wide-spread use, and deceptive advertising of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Going organic is not a compromise.
For the healthiest plants, make sure you have good growing conditions. For most vegetables, that means full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day).
In most soils, fertilizing your vegetables isn’t necessary, but it will help them grow faster and give better crops. If you feed your plants, choose natural products. Well-rotted animal manure from plant-eating critters (rabbits, horses, sheep, chickens) is a great source.
A layer of mulch over the soil not only helps reduce weeds, but it creates a barrier that can prevent fungal disease spores from splashing up onto plant leaves. In most cases, a layer of mulch 1 to 2 inches thick is best.
For an extra bonus, use a mulch made from an organic material that will decompose (such as cocoa hulls or weed-free straw). As it breaks down, it adds organic matter to the soil for you.
One of the hardest lessons for first-time organic vegetable growers is that organic gardens don’t look perfect. They’ve achieved a balance where there’s usually some form of damage from pests and diseases. Nature comes to the rescue before that spotted leaf becomes a plague.