What if you’re 100% sure that the food you and your family are eating was grown in a pollution-free and healthy environment? I bet your satisfaction level will be off the charts then.
Interestingly, you can grow such healthy and safe-to-eat food at home by starting organic gardening.
If you’re looking for a step by step guidance on organic gardening at home for beginners or want to know the benefits of organic gardening, then you are at the right place.
But first, you should understand the meaning of organic food and organic gardening.
What Is Organic Food?
The word ‘organic’ usually refers to the type of procedures used in growing food. The foods that are grown without using any kind of artificial chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, or GMO (genetically modified organism) techniques are called organic foods.
Organic food also doesn’t have any artificial food additives such as preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, colors, etc.
What Does Organic Gardening Mean?
The meaning of organic gardening depends on the context. If we’re talking in general terms, then organic gardening means gardening in harmony with nature.
It doesn’t involve any addition of artificial fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, etc. In short, it includes growing plants using natural products only. This way there won’t be any disturbances in the balance of the ecosystem.
However, in terms of commercial growers or farmers, its meaning is complicated. They grow crops using practices that comply with the standards and the standards differ around the globe.
Nonetheless, these standards allow only those gardening practices that promote ecological balance, cycling of resources, and biodiversity conservation.
Luckily, organic gardening at home is a personal choice for gardeners. It can be 100% organic and you will get the maximum benefits.
But before you begin, get yourself a proper guideline on organic gardening at home for beginners.
What are the Benefits Of Organic Gardening?
Now that organic gardening at home for beginners is clear to you, let’s point out some benefits of organic gardening. Keep reading to know why growing organically is worth it.
1. Healthy for your body
This is the most important benefit of organic gardening. As I have mentioned earlier that organic gardening, from the very start, doesn’t utilize any artificial chemical.
Therefore, the fruits and vegetables produced are free of harmful and toxic chemicals that can enter your body. Moreover, they also contain higher minerals and vitamins than non-organic plants.
Also, you have the benefit of burning some calories and toning your body by working in your garden.
2. Treat for your taste buds
It is highly guaranteed that the fruits and vegetables you pluck from your garden will taste way better than the ones you purchase from the market. Your taste buds will be thanking you for such an explosion of flavors.
3. Healthy for your environment
Since no harmful fertilizers and pesticides are used in organic gardening, the environment remains healthy. No chemical will pollute your soil or find its way into the water body by percolating or run-off.
Soil and water pollution is one major environmental issue these days and organic gardening doesn’t contribute to this problem.
Organic matter not only improves soil structure but also reduces topsoil erosion. Furthermore, composting organic waste at home is a zero-waste approach and reduces the pressure on local waste management.
4. Saves money
Organic gardening at home saves you a lot of money and this is something we all are interested in. Organic foods from the market are comparatively costly and every time you visit a market you have to spend on fuel too.
Moreover, composting at home is free and there is no need to buy fertilizers from the market. Surprisingly, you can save up to 50% of your money by growing organic vegetables and fruits at home.
You may want to consider growing your plants in coco coir.
5. Meditates your soul
It may sound strange to some people but that’s only because they have never experienced this feeling. Ask any gardener and his response will amaze you.
Gardening meditates your soul in many ways. Being in a garden gets you out of your head and connects you with nature. It is a very peaceful and relaxing experience.
Looking at the results of your hard work gives you feelings of achievement and gratitude. It is something that can’t be fully described in words.
Step By Step Organic Gardening At Home For Beginners
Some may think why to start an organic garden at home when you can buy organic food from the market? Well, organic food from the market isn’t always 100% organic.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food that is at least 95% organic is labeled as ‘organic food’. Moreover, organic gardening at home can be a fun practice too.
Here’s a step by step guidance on organic gardening at home for beginners.
1. Select the site first
The selection of the site plays a vital role in plants’ growth. Choose a site that has easy access to the water source and protects against strong winds.
Also, the site must receive almost 6-8 hours of sunlight in a day. This is because most of the fruiting plants require full sunlight to grow well.
If not possible, you can choose a bit shady area and grow plants that require only a few hours of sunlight. It is up to you to plant in the ground, raised beds, or containers. But if you choose container gardening then try to reuse plastic containers to stop plastic pollution.
2. Prepare your soil
Soil quality determines if your plants are going to grow well or not grow at all. Therefore, the soil must be of excellent quality.
It must be rich in nutrients, have good drainage and water holding capacity, and an optimum pH. Residential soils usually need enhancement. It can be done by adding organic matter, such as compost.
Before planting seeds prepare compost at home and use a shovel or fork to work it into the soil.
A surefire way to check if your soil is suitable for gardening is to get it tested. The test will show you what it lacks and how to improve it.
3. Choose the right plants
Once you’ve prepared your soil, it’s time to choose the right plants for your organic garden. Make sure to select those plants that can easily thrive in your soil’s environment.
You can select plants that are native to your region or specifically bred for your climatic conditions. Also, plant some companion crops to attract beneficial insects-a natural pest control method.
It might be a good idea, when buying new houseplants, to avoid the plants that spider mites like.
As a beginner, it may be hard to choose plants on your own. Visit your local farmer market where you will get plenty of help in choosing the right plants. You may also get tips on how to plant them.
If not, then follow the instructions on the seed packet. Don’t forget that your goal is to grow 100% organic crops. So, don’t purchase the seeds or seedlings that were treated with any kind of artificial chemicals.
4. Water carefully
The next step after planting is watering. It’s best to water plants right after they have been planted. It gives them enough water to continue growing.
The ideal time to water plants is in the morning because mornings are cool and reduces water loss. Use your finger to check your soil before watering as too much water can be bad for plants’ health.
Water soil only when it is dry, moist soil doesn’t need any watering.
Also consider having a bird bath to avoid having birds that would harm your garden. Check Are Birds Good For Your Vegetable Garden?
5. Keep an eye on weeds
Weeds are unnecessary plants that compete for resources and cause a reduction in plant growth. They also serve as a source of plant diseases.
Ensure the removal of weeds by regularly monitoring your garden. You can remove weeds by simply pulling them out through your hands.
6. Don’t forget to mulch
Even with applied compost, the nutrient supply is limited for the healthy growth of plants. Besides compost, an organic garden needs an additional supply of organic matter.
You can apply a few inches of mulch to the soil. In addition to adding nutrients, mulch will block sunlight and prevent weeds to grow. Also, there will be little need for water as mulch will keep the moisture in.
7. Rotate crops
Rotating crops means to plant a crop in different locations each year. Here’s how it’s beneficial. When you grow the same plant in the same area every year, pests and diseases for that specific plant can build up in the soil.
And when that plant is planted, they will surely attack. Changing locations of the same plant can reduce the probability of pests and diseases.
It is a very healthy exercise to grow your own organic garden but needs a lot of care and responsibility. Therefore, as a beginner, it’s important to completely understand how gardening works.
Search for answers or consult an expert gardener to help you along the way. It will take some time to learn but with all the amazing benefits of organic gardening, all the time and efforts will be worth it.
You’ll have your organic gardener in no time and this is one big step towards a healthy lifestyle.