Building an organic garden is a topic complex enough for a whole dissertation. Every garden is different. Climate, weather conditions, soil, position of your garden, neighbours 🙂 … everything will affect your successful growing.
I will try to do the impossible and fit all necessary information in this post. It will give you an idea of the main components of the organic garden if you want to build one but don’t know where to start.
Without further ado, here are the 10 components of the best organic kitchen garden:
- Raised beds
- Right plants
- Crop rotation
- Companion planting
- Protection and pests control
- Tools and potting shed
Let’s dive into each of those, shall we? 🙂
Component # 1: Raised Beds
Raised beds are the best option for your garden, especially (obviously) if it’s an organic garden. They provide good drainage and give your beds an additional protection from weeds and common garden pests, such as slugs and sciarid flies.
Component # 2: Soil
Different plants like different soil. Some plants, such as tomatoes, like well-drained acidic soil. Root vegetables, such as carrots, beets and radishes, prefer more alkaline sandy soil, whereas potatoes like acidic, loose soil.
To successfully grow a variety of organic plants, you will need a few things:
- Good peat free soil
- Horticultural sand
- Organic compost (while you’re waiting for your own compost to ripen)
- Organic manure (available at gardener centers and online – I personally prefer to use green manure)
Some organic gardeners strongly believe in using Epsom salt and lime to adjust soil acidity levels. You can also buy these at gardener centers. But in my opinion if you have good quality compost, you can avoid all these additives that are believed to destroy the natural soil balance and beneficial microbes.
Component # 3: Compost
Compost is the most important ingredient in an organic garden. It builds healthy soil and provides a range of essential nutrients important for the development, health and taste of your plants.
Component # 4: The Right Plants
It’s important to understand which plants are native to the area where you build your organic garden. Growing the right plants that benefit from weather conditions and soil type will provide you the most amazing harvest. Plus, while they won’t make your gardening carefree, they do make for less operose gardening.
Component # 5: Proper Watering
The wrong watering approach can severely damage your plants. Never water your plants with cold tap water when it’s hot outside – it will cause root shock. Instead, you can collect water in buckets and wait for it to warm up.
You can also water your plants early in the morning or very late in the evening – at the coolest time of the day. The best thing you can have
is a beautiful dress is a rainwater harvest tank. If that’s not possible, then follow my first advice.
Component # 6: Crop Rotation
Planting schedule and crop rotation are almost like a trigonometric equation, especially if you’re limited in space.
You need to grow specific groups of vegetables on a different part of your plot every year or every other year. This helps to avoid the settling of specific plant pests. It also helps to avoid soil deficiencies.
Different plants need different nutrients to grow. Rotation reduces the chances of your soil becoming nutrients-deficient.
It’s sounds like a lot, I know! Luckily, nowadays there are some very useful planning tools available on-line. Here are just couple of them:
Component # 7: Companion Planting
When you write your planting schedule, do consider companion planting. Companion planting is a specific way of planting your crops next to each other, in the right combination to either attract beneficial insects and fix certain nutrients or put off parasites and pests.
Since there is no place for chemicals in an organic garden, companion planting is one of your lifesavers.
Component # 8: Protection and Pest Control
Every gardener has different ways to protect his or her garden from pests, birds and animals. With time, you will also have your favorite tricks that work best for your garden. In the meantime, make sure you’ve got different types of netting. Use fine netting for the little pests and a crude mesh for the birds.
Keep your garden clean and tidy at all times. It will stop slugs from finding a shelter where they can hide and breed.
Keep foliage dry. When it’s wet, it encourages fungus and insects to attack your plant.
Things like beneficial insects, nematodes, beer traps, etc. can be very handy. I’ll talk about them in the separate post. Trust me, there’s a lot to consider.
Component # 9: Tools and Potting Shed
You will definitely need a potting shed. The best potting shed size really depends on the size of your garden. The bigger the garden, the bigger the potting shed. You can either build one yourself or buy one off the shelf (I highly recommend the second option. It will save your time and your fingers!).
You will need a peg rack for the long tools in your potting shed and a plastic box or a crate for your short-handled tools.
Gardening tools are like your favorite ways to combat pests – you will have your favorites. To start with, I would recommend buying gloves, a hand trowel, ‘Haws’ watering can (1 small for seedlings and 1 big for outdoor), a pruner, a spade, a hori hori knife and lots of different pots and trays for seedlings in different sizes.
Component # 10: Harvesting
Baskets and crates are not the only things you will need. If you garden is not only for ‘walking and picking’ or decorative purpose, you will have to think about a storage place for your veggies.
Obviously, things like salads and greens won’t last for long. Beets, potatoes, carrots and apples, though can feed your family throughout the winter. I also make gherkins, pickles, conserves, preserves, compotes and many other things that are kept in jars.
With my garden treasures, I had to build a separate storage for 2000 jars. If it’s your first year of gardening, you might be quite happy with just one shelf in the fridge. Trust me, it’s a lot of work and the first year can be a lot of trouble.
However, it’s better to think about your storage well in advance. You don’t want to be left with pales of rooting down veggies and blowing up jars in the end of the season.
That’s it! Wasn’t so bad, was it? 🙂 Having these 10 components in your organic garden will help you to avoid common mistakes and to enjoy gardening without loosing to many plants.