If you are buying organic vegetables at the supermarket, then considering growing your own organic vegetables would be both easy and an economic savings. Organic gardening is the same as regular gardening except that no pesticides or fertilizers are used. The only difficult part can be controlling diseases, pests, and weeds. With organic gardening you do have to give more attention to the soil and the different physical needs of the various types of vegetables.
Principles of Organic Gardening
The principles of organic gardening begin with soil preparation. Organic matter must be added to the soil on a regular basis to keep it enriched and in a productive state for growing. Compost is the best organic matter for the soil and can be readily made from leaves, grass, dead flowers, manure, and fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. Soil that is in an ideal condition has a dark, rich color, a sweet smell, and has a prolific earthworm population. Sometimes the soil may require other additives to bring it to an ideal state; these additives can be bone meal, phosphates from rock sources, or greensand. You can find out how healthy your soil is by using a soil test kit.
The best way of defending plants against insect pests in an organic garden is prevention. The first preventative measure is to make sure that your plants are healthy with neither too little nor too much moisture. Healthy plants can usually survive and outgrow a minor insect attack. Planting a variety of plant types also helps to prevent insects from taking out an entire garden.
Another great way to combat insect pests is to make your garden attractive to insect predators. Birds, lizards, frogs, and ladybugs all destroy insect pests. You can accomplish this by keeping a water source nearby, by planting nectar-bearing flowers in or in close proximity to the garden. You can also use sticky traps, plant collars, or sprays made from garlic or hot pepper.
Controlling Disease and Weeds
Disease is combated by choosing disease resistant plant varieties and planting the plants in optimal locations. A lot of diseases and fungi are spread by conditions of constant moisture, so good air circulation and adequate spacing between plants is important.
Using organic mulch spread on layers of newspaper, construction paper or cardboard can control weeds. Corn meal gluten will also help to control weeds if it is applied early in the year before planting. There is also hand pulling and hoeing as well. Weed control takes much persistence and patience, but after a few seasons the weeds will be gone for good.
Organic gardening is an excellent way of making sure that your vegetables are as healthy as possible. Gardening organically make take just a little bit extra time and effort than regular gardening, but the results are definitely worth it.