Growing an organic garden is easier than you might think. Really, it's
just a combination of common sense and bit of commitment! By following a
few basic steps, you'll soon be on your way to a hearty, tasty harvest.
Select your site. Choose a place that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day, and is away from large trees and roots. Be sure you have easy access to water, too. If you're growing in containers, skip areas that tend to get a lot of strong wind so they don't topple over.
Use great soil. Excellent soil is the number one key to a successful organic garden, as it provides the nutrients your plants need to flourish. To make yours the best it can be, mix 3 inches of Nature's CareŽ Organic Garden Soil in with the top 6 inches of existing garden soil. If you're growing in a raised bed, fill it with Nature's CareŽ Organic Raised Bed Soil.
For a container garden, use potting mix designed for containers. It's lighter and fluffier than garden soil, so it allows water and nutrients to easily reach the roots. Nature's CareŽ Organic Potting Mix does all that, plus has Water ConserveŽ that protects against over- and under-watering. Just make sure your containers have drainage holes.
Choose the right plants. Picking plants native to your region or bred specifically for your climate helps create a healthy, low maintenance organic garden, giving you more time to hang out with friends or write the Great American Novel.
Don't turn your nose up at disease-resistant hybrid plants, either, as they can also make for less work in the garden. (Hybrid does NOT mean "GMO," btw.) Plus, don't forget to plant a variety of flowers and flowering herbs to attract the pollinators and other "good" bugs that help keep your garden happy.
Water wisely. Here's a common question when it comes to organic gardens: How often should I water? Forget "how often" and instead focus on soil moisture. Stick your finger one inch down into the soil. If the soil feels moist, don't water. If it's dry, it's time to water. What could be simpler?
Feed your food. A month after planting, begin giving your plants a meal of their own with Nature's CareŽ Organic and Natural Vegetable, Fruit, and Flower Food. That's where they'll get the extra nutrients they need to produce bountiful harvests and beautiful blooms. Don't skip over the directions on the package - read 'em!
Add some mulch. A thick layer of organic mulch not only helps control weeds (no sun, no growth), but it also helps keep moisture in the soil so you have to do less hose schlepping. Plus, it looks nice! While pine straw and wheat straw are popular choices, you can also use untreated grass clippings, chopped leaves, and even the wood shavings left behind after you have a tree taken down. Big bonus: Mulch eventually breaks down and adds nutrients to the soil, too.
Mix up your planting plan. One of the best ways to protect your organic garden is to use a time-tested method called "crop rotation." Simply put, it means moving plant types to different locations each year. See, when you plant the same kind of plant in the same place over and over, pests and diseases can build up and overwinter in the soil. By moving things around, they'll have less of a chance to gain a toe-hold.
Be a garden neat freak. Remember how your mom used to lecture you about the importance of good hygiene? Same goes for the garden. Remove diseased leaves and plants (don't add them to the compost pile), check leaves and stems for pests, and pick up garden "litter." Clean tools often, and use disinfecting wipes if you've used them on plants that might be sick. (Treat ailing plants with Nature's CareŽ Garden Disease Control. Check out the label directions, first, of course!)
Okay, yeah, so there's a bit of work involved, but just wait until you wow your friends and family with a true garden-to-table meal. Totally worth it, right? Right!