5 Organic Gardening Tips and Ideas
Organic gardening is simple. No synthetic fertilizers, no pesticides, and no harmful toxins are thrown in to your garden. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the only way to have an organic garden is to avoid synthetic chemicals. There are other aspects that must be taken into consideration to ensure that you will get 100% organic products from your garden. For example, who would have thought that the type of water, wildlife, or insects in and around your plants had much to do with how well they grew? Everything from the soil that you use to the food you feed your plants will affect how much your garden gives back to you.
Follow the steps below to give your garden the best it needs to maximize its nutritional quality.
1. Homemade fertilizers
Synthetic fertilizers can do a great amount of environmental damage, especially when they are overused. They don’t do much to improve the structure of your soil to provide essential nutrients for your plants and they leak toxins into your garden. Once they are in your garden, they make it to your food and your body. You can make your own fertilizers to ensure that you know exactly what is going into your garden.
• You can use Epsom salt and water as a fertilizer to stay green without spending a ton of money. Epsom salt contains both magnesium and sulfate. Both of these nutrients are vital to a plant’s growth.
• Another easy fertilizer is fish tank water. Fish tank water is full of nutrients that your plants thrive on – and it’s an easy, earth friendly way to recycle your water.
• If you have a fireplace, you can use the leftover ash for your acid loving plants. Ash is rich in potassium and calcium carbonate and your acid loving plants can thrive on acids the all-natural way. This will ensure that you don’t get any synthetic acids into your garden and food when it is time for a harvest.
• A common household refrigerator item is the eggshell. Many of us eat eggs for breakfast – and throw away the shells. The shells are made up of almost 100% calcium carbonate – which is the main ingredient used in the making of agricultural lime. Save the shells, allow them to dry, and then blend them into a powder to sprinkle on your garden for glowing plants.
Recycle your newspapers by using them as a weed barrier in your garden. Newspapers create an easy and free weed barrier while being earth friendly (no extra toxins, biodegradable, easy recycling). Commercial weed barriers are often made of plastic – imagine melting plastic waste on the plants you plan on putting into your body!
• For the newspaper barrier, use a bucket of clean water to soak about 6 layers of paper together.
• Once the papers are completely soaked, lie them down on your soil, sheet by sheet– making sure they overlap by about an inch.
• Punch small holes into the paper where you would like to place your plants.
• Remove some soil from the holes, add the plant, and fill in the hole with soil.
• Once you have done this for all of your plants, simply cover the papers with soil for a beautiful and weed free organic garden!
3. Garden Box
Another great option for an easy garden is to create a wooden garden bed. The box will keep weeds away from your garden soil, provide a great source of drainage for your plants, prevent soil compression, and keep away many unwanted pests.
Having a raised wooden garden bed will also keep erosion away during rainfall. Depending on where you live, a raised bed will also allow for early season planting as the soil will be warmer and will not have water buildup. Attaching four wooden boards (any height up to 36”) together to create an open rectangle shape is the easiest way to create raised beds. You will want the bed to have an open bottom as the more your plants grow, the more their roots will expand into the ground.
4. Organic Matter
Soil is the most important part of your journey to a perfect organic garden. Make sure you use fresh, unused soil so that the nutrients in the soil are going to just one plant. If you use soil that has been recycled frequently between many different plants, you may not get all of its benefits anymore.
Add organic matter to your soil so that as the plant uses us essential nutrients, you are replacing into the soil to give back the nutrients it needs to supply for the plant. You can find organic matter almost anywhere. Your garden and kitchen will produce organic matter frequently through decaying plant waste, otherwise known as compost. Compost is the best thing you can do for your organic garden.
As is the sunlight, water is an essential part of the growth of your plants. Adding filtered water to your homegrown fruit and vegetable plants will keep away contaminants that dry out your plants such as chloramines and chlorine. Additionally, your plants will not be exposed to contaminants such as lead, mercury, pharmaceuticals, gasoline additives, pesticide run off, herbicide run off, and a variety of other things that keep your plants from growing big and ripe.