More and more research is now revealing the health benefits of organic food. For example, children on organic diets have been shown to have significantly lower exposure to nerve poison pesticides. An organic diet provides immediate protection for children against harmful chemicals.
If this isn’t reason enough to start growing your own organic food – what is? When we consider that we can produce enough vegetables to sustain a family right from our own backyard at almost no cost and with very little effort there’s really no excuse for putting it off until tomorrow.
Organic growing guide
There’s no time like the present, so read this organic growing guide and get started NOW!
If you have an existing garden you can easily begin by improving your soil, buying a load of good quality commercial garden soil or starting a no dig garden. But before you do, work out the size of your garden bed.
If you start with a small area, let’s say 2m x 2m (6ft x 6ft approx) you’ll be able to grow enough leafy greens for two people. Adding another bed this size will allow you to grow enough to feed a family.
Before you start, check that you have met these requirements
- Your plants are positioned where they will get at least six hours of sunlight daily.
- You can get to your plants quickly and easily when it’s time to harvest.
- Your compost, tools, water supply and fertilizers are easily accessible
Another good option is to make a path along the middle of your bed so that you can reach any small weeds as they appear. A simple tug at the right time will save you a lot of weeding later if you let them take hold.
Square plots can be set up on lawn or if you prefer in a straight line along a fence. If you choose the fence position, make sure you take account of where the shade will fall. Plants deprived of sunlight will not produce the best crops.
If you have only limited space available try gardening in pots instead. There’s one big advantage when gardening in containers – you can move them around according to the weather. If your porch is too hot at certain times of the year, move your pots to where the sun is less punishing. If the harsh winter brings frosts, move your Brassicas to a more congenial spot.
5 steps to better soil
If you have soil, whatever its condition, consider yourself extremely lucky.
‘But it’s never produced anything! My soil’s completely dead.’
No problem. Your soil can be improved very quickly. Here’s how to do it:
- Water the ground a day before you start.
- Get rid of any weeds.
- Cover the area with compost, manure, lawn clippings, and organic fertilizer and then dig this in.
- Cover the whole lot with mulch to make sure it stays moist.
- After a week or so scrape away the mulch, add more of the compost and manure and then put the mulch cover back.
You should then repeat this process until you have about 30cm (12 inches)of rich and crumbly soil ready for planting.
If your soil is okay to start with, use the technique above to make it even richer. Begin by removing any weeds, then spread your organic material over the surface. Here’s where you need to do a little hard work – break up any clumps of soil and dig down about a spade depth. You can now plant your seedlings.
Gardening in a trench
If all of the above sounds too hard, or if your site is not suitable, try improving little pockets of soil with the ‘
The Bokashi composting system works on just this principle. Bokashi is a product made using a combination of sawdust and bran that has been infused with Effective Micro-organisms (EM). Bokashi buckets can fit easily under the kitchen sink. Add the EM and watch your scraps quickly ferment.
Organic seedlings are not generally available from commercial suppliers, so try farmers’ markets, organic farms and local organic growing groups first. Seedlings are usually quite expensive so try growing from seed. This takes longer but is probably the most satisfying way to start your organic garden.