Gardening 101: Organic Gardening for Beginners

Many stores today carry products marked as organic -- from shampoos and soaps to cooking oil, fruits, and vegetables. Any product marked organic means it was manufactured or grown without the use of artificial or synthetic materials, procedures, or processes.

Starting Your Own Organic Garden

Organic fruits and vegetables, found to be much more nutritious, tend to be more expensive than the regular variety. If you want to enjoy health benefits of organic produce without burning a hole in your pocket, consider starting an organic garden at home. Organic gardening is essentially the same as ordinary gardening, except that you won't be using artificial fertilizers and chemicals. Pick your seeds carefully so you don't get ones that have been genetically modified. If you are successful in growing your organic garden, you can expect to harvest healthy, organic produce in no time at all.

Composting

Composting is a crucial part of organic gardening. Your compost will provide you with the fertilizer your organic garden needs to grow healthy plants. Starting a compost is not difficult. The easiest way to start one is to dig a hole in your backyard to serve as the compost pit. Throw in organic stuff such as dry leaves raked from the front yard, vegetable and fruit rinds from the kitchen, and grass cuttings. After these materials rot, you can use them as fertilizer for your plants.

Mulching

Another crucial part of organic gardening, mulching is done by placing wood chips, dry leaves, hay, and even shredded newspaper over the soil in your organic garden. Mulching has several important purposes, one of which is that it blocks sunlight from reaching the soil, thus keeping weeds from growing. It also keeps the moisture in the soil, especially during hot summers. Some types of mulch are also effective in keeping pests away from the plants. Commercial gardens make use of plastic sheets as mulch. However, plastic is obviously a synthetic material so using plastic defeats the purpose of organic gardening. Stick to natural materials for mulching.

Making the Most of the Limited Space You Have

Not everyone has a massive backyard for growing organic fruits and vegetables. Fortunately, a large space is not a requirement for starting an organic garden. You only need to be able to make the most of whatever space you do have. For instance, if you live in an apartment building in the city, start an organic garden by planting seeds in pots, baskets, and other small containers. Place these just inside a sunny window or along the balcony. Square foot gardening is another popular organic gardening method. Build a partitioned box made of wood. Place the box on your porch, patio, rooftop, or anywhere your plants can get the most amount of sunlight during the day. Fill it with soil and plant your seeds.




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