To be successful at organic vegetable gardening you must draw up detailed plans. The soil is your first consideration; how to make it rich and fertile, and how to prepare it so harmful pests won’t attack your vegetable garden. The two ways that organic vegetable gardening differs from conventional gardens is the usage of fertilizer and how to keep pests under control. Phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium are the three components essential to your organic garden.
For lush, green foliage you must have nitrogen. For strong roots and stems phosphorus is needed. And for the important protection from disease and brief cold snaps, potassium is a must. Let’s call them the big three. The big three are available in commercial fertilizers however they are synthetic. In organic vegetable gardening the big three are added in a much different way.
The best way of enriching your soil is by compost. Dig some pits in your back yard to start your compost from kitchen refuse. Use things like pine needles, corn stalks, leaves, carrot tops, fruits or vegetables that have spoiled, manure, egg shells and coffee grinds. Some organic gardeners use weeds in their compost but I do not recommend this for obvious reasons. As the compost materials decompose they release bacteria and fungi into the soil that you are preparing. The bacteria and fungi convert nutrients like nitrogen to ammonia and nitrates that will be usable for your vegetables. Use substances such as seaweed, potash salts, tobacco stems and wood ash to help make potassium in your compost. By making your own compost, you are controlling the mixture and balance to achieve the right combination for your organic vegetable garden.
To be absolutely sure that your compost has completely broken down and is now offering up the right balance, start working it into the soil at least two weeks before you plan on planting.
The pH in the soil must be right for healthy plants. Test your soil, if it has a ph of 0 it is very acidic, while a 14 is extreme alkaline. Of course a seven indicates neutral soil. To raise the pH of the soil inexpensively use ground limestone. An additional benefit of the limestone is that it contains magnesium something that most soils lack. If, on the other hand, you have extreme alkaline soil use sulpher to bring the pH down.
Pest control in organic vegetable gardening is also different that conventional gardening. In many conventional beds gardeners wish to eradicate all pests with pesticides. Many in organic gardening only wish to keep the pest population down so to have a balance in the garden. Obviously, whenever possible, plant pest resistant vegetables. In order for harmful organisms to grow, they need bright sunlight so keep thick mulch around the plants to deny the organisms that needed sunlight and to help hold moisture into the ground. If you find you have a heavy infestation here is a natural pest control formula:
In a jar, combine 1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid and 1 cup vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. In an empty spray bottle, combine 2 teaspoons of this mixture and 1 cup water. Use at ten-day intervals (or more often if needed) to rid plants of whiteflies, mites, aphids, scales, and other pests.
Follow this tips and you are on your way to raising a healthy and plentiful organic vegetable garden.
Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.
Mary Hanna is an aspiring herbalist who lives in Central Florida. This allows her to grow gardens inside and outside year round. She has published other articles on Cruising, Gardening and Cooking. Visit her websites at Gardening Landscaping Tips Gardening Outside and Herb Gardening