For those of us who lack the resources to do whatever we want in life, few endeavors are as rewarding as working in a garden and green living. Whether you farm for a living or tend a small vegetable garden in your backyard, the reward of organic gardening lies in the journey as much as it does the goal or harvest.
While more people every year are trying their hand at gardening, when it comes to organic gardening people tend to get a little fidgety, which is understandable. That ol’ fear of the unknown lurks in the shadows. Growing organically can sound intimidating when you aren’t familiar with what it actually takes to have an organic garden. In fact, it’s pretty easy once you know the way. Fear not! With a little common sense, a few tricks, and some help from us, you can transform your everyday garden into one amazing organic oasis. It’s easy when you know the right organic gardening hacks.
An Organic Garden
At its core, organic gardening is merely the act of growing your fruits, vegetables, and other plants of choice without the use of harsh pesticides and various man-made chemicals. It’s all about harvesting healthy food grown under natural conditions.
Organic gardening is practically as much a philosophy as it is a technique. Fewer chemicals mean food that is better for you. That philosophical mindset applies to other aspects of life as well for those choosing a green living perspective.
With your garden success in mind, we’ve assembled five easy ways to help you create a vegetable garden that is not only productive but also healthier for you and those with whom you share your bounty.
Even if you don’t go 100% organic, you still can have a nice, healthy garden harvest by following these simple steps and garden hacks.
1. Companion Planting
If you want to take a more natural approach to gardening, you should consider companion planting. By planting specific plants, you can save time, money, and a lot of disappointment. Companion planting is one of the most effective organic gardening hacks.
Companion planting is an agricultural term used to describe the planting of one species of plant next to another plant or plants of a different type. This technique is also known as polyculture. There are a host of reasons why this mini-cooperative can be mutually beneficial to both the garden and the gardener.
There are a variety of reasons for companion planting, but the ultimate reason is to increase crop production by creating eco-friendly habitats that are beneficial to your plants. Pollination, pest control, and the maximizing of space are a few of the benefits of this method.
For example, below are five garden vegetables and their companion plants. There are endless plants and companions to discover, all it takes is a little research.
Some of these companion plants run interference by drawing unwanted pests away from the primary plants. But then, who protects the companions? Garden warrior insects, that’s who.
2. Attracting Good Insects to the Garden
Some plants naturally attract beneficial insects to the garden. These good bugs are natural-born killers and dine on plant-destructive aphids and other pests that suck the life and water from your little green friends. An all-natural alternative to pesticides, beneficial bugs in your garden is another step toward growing organic food. A classic example of a good insect to have around is the lacewing. Lacewings and a host of other good bugs offer a great way to control pests naturally.
You want to have lacewings in your vegetable garden. They lay their eggs on the leaves of plants. When the eggs hatch, the larvae dine on the mites, aphids, and other destructive pests. The larvae are voracious eaters and make short work of the invaders. Lacewings are one of the most effective organic gardening hacks for protecting your vegetables and plants.
Attract lacewings by planting one or all of the five plants on this list. There are many more than these plants below, but we simply don’t have the space to list them.
Follow this informative link, ladybugs and other helpful insects, to learn about more beneficial insects and how to attract them.
3. Deterring Invasive Insects Naturally
Another one of our garden hacks is to use other plants as natural insect repellants, as they can deter certain bugs from choosing your garden. Planting these garden helpers is a great way to eliminate the need for hazardous pesticides and fight these pests naturally. It’s Nature versus Nature.
Here are five plants to keep your garden free of pests.
There are many more natural garden helpers to discover with a little research.
4. Amending Your Soil
Just as important as what you grow in your organic garden is the medium in which it is grown. Correct soil is paramount to your growing success. Some plants don’t do well if the soil contains too much clay. Their roots can’t penetrate the stiff, thick dirt to find water. Some don’t do well in soil that is too loamy, as the roots can’t get a firm hold for nutrient uptake. Some dirt is nutrient deficient. That’s okay, though, because it is easy to fix or amend your soil.
You can vastly improve the soil of your garden naturally without the need for chemicals to enhance its nutritional properties. One of the keys to having a successful and healthy organic garden is ensuring the quality of your growing medium.
You want your plants to not only grow but to thrive. Healthy soil will produce bountiful plants that will flourish. The good news is you don’t need a degree in agriculture to create great soil. By adding a few boosters, you can transform dirt into nutrient-rich garden soil.
Some common gardening hacks for soil include incorporating coffee grounds or Epsom salt around the perimeter of your garden to deter slugs, snails, and even rabbits. However, coffee grounds are acidic, so you have to be careful with them. On the other hand, Epsom salt is relatively neutral on the pH scale. You can buy Epsom salt at most grocery stores.
Do your homework, and adjust the pH level of your soil to match what you are growing. Additionally, you can boost the nutrient levels of your dirt by adding organic matter. It’s easy to do and instructions are readily available online for whatever you plan to grow. Most organic gardening hacks require a little time and patience.
5. Get the Most Out of Your Water & Sunlight
Make good use of the sunlight and water your garden gets. Some plants and vegetables thrive in full sun, while others require a mixture of shade and sunlight. Knowing what plants prefer which amount will further enhance your garden success.
Fill your organic garden with compatible veggies and plants that require similar sun and water needs. If you follow this advice, you will keep yourself from adding too much water or too little water on accident per plant. An automated system that supplies water can prevent any disasters related to water upkeep. Similarly, try to pair plants together that flourish in the same amount of sun.
6. Know Your Grow
If you’re going to invest the time and labor it takes to have an organic garden, then you need to know a few things that will help you achieve success. These are basic, common-sense strategies and hacks that apply to all types of gardening, including organic.
Learn the specific requirements of what you are planting such as how much sunlight or water do they require? Do they prefer acidic soil over alkaline? What are their requirements? Knowing the particular needs of your plants is important to attain the desired result, which is a happy harvest. Learning these basics facts about what you’re growing will go a long way toward ensuring a healthy harvest.
That’s about it. In the end, an organic garden isn’t all that different from a regular garden. It simply takes a more natural approach to care for the plants, feed them responsibly, and control insect garden pests. Follow these organic gardening hacks, and you can do it!