Great Tips for Organic Vegetable Gardens:
If you are looking to grow fresh organic vegetables in your own garden, there are several tips you should follow to get the most out of your crops. No one wants a lackluster garden, especially when you are hoping to put a little food on the table. The following tips will help get your garden off to a great start and you will soon be eating tasty and healthy vegetables straight from your own garden.
Choose the Proper Location: Believe it or not, the best thing you can do for a garden has nothing at all to do with what you buy or the types of plants you grow, but rather where you choose to place your organic vegetable gardens. Now some might think this is a shocking statement, but by and large the biggest mistake I see growers do is try to force an area to work that really isn't right. Make sure your location has a minimum of 6 hours a day of direct sunlight, and preferably more. If the location you want to grow in does not meet this simple requirement, you need to find another location; it is really as simple as that.
Proper Soil & Plants for Organic Vegetable Gardens:
Proper Soil: Another mistake gardeners make is not understanding the limitations of the soil that they have to work with. Just because you have grass and weeds and brush growing in an area does not mean it is truly suitable for growing organic vegetable gardens. Ideally you want loamy soil, which is a good mixture of organic materials with a little bit of clay and sands. If the soil you have to work with is too heavy in any of those three, you will need to balance it. For detailed information on balancing soil, see our article on garden soil in the Raised Bed Gardens section.
Choosing the Right Plants: Once you are confident that you have the proper growing conditions to get started, the next thing you do is choose the plants and/or seeds to grow. This is not a decision where you will want to take the stance of "any old plants will do". Different plants have varying susceptibility to diseases, especially vegetables like tomatoes. In the long run you will save yourself a lot of problems and headaches if you start off with disease resistant plants. This information is easily found on the information card with the plant or seed.
Fertilizing Organic Vegetable Gardens:
Natural Fertilizer: Since you are looking to grow organically, the type of fertilizer you choose is very important. If you must fertilize your garden, make sure you find a product that is all natural such as thoroughly rotted manure from animals that eat plants. Most garden centers these days actually have organic fertilizers as an options so all you need to do is look around or ask a store employee and they can direct you to the right product.
One thing to note about fertilizing organic vegetable gardens is it is not always a requirement for every garden. This is where all the preparation work you did in setting up the garden should come into play. If you took the time to balance out your garden soil with natural amendments and a generous helping of organic matter, then chances are you may not even need to worry about fertilizer at all. Over fertilizing your garden is actually a bad thing and while the plants might appear to do well, with all their rich, lush growth, you will probably find they also attract more pests. It is said that slow-growing vegetables are more resistant to insects and diseases.
Crop Rotation in Organic Vegetable Gardens:
Crop Rotation: One of the biggest battles you will have to learn to fight in your organic vegetable gardens is the battle against diseases. One way you can help turn the tide in your favor is to practice crop rotation. If you continually grow the same crops year after year in the same spot, certain diseases have a way of building up in those spots and lying in wait even before you plant your veggies.
Rotating your crops around will help prevent them from attacking the same plants year after year. You should also take care not to plant similar families of plants in those same spots as previous years either. Most diseases do not just affect a single crop but rather a group of crops. So each year do a little homework and make sure you are planting something different in each space, so that it is not affected by any dormant diseases from the previous year. You certainly don't want to start a new garden, thinking everything is fresh, and getting jumped by problems unexpectedly that you had the previous year.
Maintaining Organic Vegetable Gardens:
Mulching: Mulching is an important step in planting organic vegetable gardens and it goes far beyond just making the space look pretty. Mulch will not only help you reduce the number of weeds that might spring up during the growing season, but it also forms a barrier that helps to stop the spread of fungal diseases in your garden. So do not be skimpy when laying out your mulch. A nice generous layer about 2 inches thick will work nicely for most vegetable gardens.
Routine Maintenance: One area that I notice a lot of home gardeners lacking on is the weekly routine maintenance that any garden requires. This might not be an important issue if you are just growing flowers to make your garden look aesthetically pleasing, but it is incredibly important if you are looking to grow plants that will be producing food for you to eat. Plants will inevitably drop leaves and stems during the course of the growing season. Leaves might even blow into your garden from outside trees and such. Make sure you keep these cleaned out on a weekly basis because dead and rotting foliage are breeding havens for many diseases. It would be a shame for you to look so much hard work to a lack of some basic maintenance.
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