Typically, beginners to organic gardening are excited by the whole concept of “organic,” but don’t know where to start. I remember when I first contracted “organic fever”; I was so excited that I was reading everything I could find on the subject. Some articles were very entertaining but gave little practical information. Other articles seemed to focus on a particular product as being the miraculous answer to all gardening problems. Early on in my learning curve, I was reading an extremely interesting article about liquid organic fertilizer. It made a lot of sense and I was sold on the product, ready to run out and buy it.
Problem was, I hadn’t even planted anything yet! What I needed was a beginners guide to organic gardening. Since I never found one I decided to write one myself in hopes that it helps you avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve experienced. I put on the brakes and backed up a bit, but still eagerly absorbed all I could find. That is why I always recommend to anyone who is just discovering organic gardening to start on a small scale. Container gardening, for example, is a perfect place to start. You can move your container easily to protect it from the elements, even indoors.
The 3 R’s: Research, Read, Repeat
Different types of plants have different growing requirements, so it is imperative to know in advance of planting, what conditions are required by your plants to thrive. This is the most basic principle but often the most overlooked. You cannot rely on store personnel to know even the most basic facts about the plants they are cashiers, not horticulturalists. By following the 3 R’s you will avoid a lot of potential plant problems, plus, you’ll save yourself time, money, and aggravation. It’s much easier to learn about how to grow fat nutritious organic tomatoes after you have learned what soil requirements tomatoes need, than to repurchase and replant seedlings because you skipped this important step.
Follow The Rules
You can’t be successful if you cheat or take shortcuts. You might be tempted to think you can add a chemical to make your plants grow faster or taller. Read that sentence again. Do you see that word “chemical”? The use of chemicals is the opposite of organic. I want to assist you in growing gorgeous plants and healthful veggies. I do not promote or support the use of synthetic chemicals. When chemicals are added to the soil to induce artificial growth or color, they destroy the very micro-organisms needed to grow! The very essence of Organics is: No Chemicals. Ever. (Besides, if you think you can ingest chemicals without any adverse effects, you’ve been woefully misled!)
You Can’t Create Life
When you get right to the heart of the matter, you can’t create a tomato. All you can do is plant a little tiny seed and give it what it needs to grow. In my ignorance I used to repeat that tired old cliche, “Life begins in the soil.” Well, that’s only half true. While the seed contains the energy to germinate after planting, it’s the life in the soil that enables it to flourish. Micro-organisms such as fungi, bacteria, protozoa and nematodes convert organic fertilizer into energy for your plants to grow.
Are you ready to pursue organic gardening? Then you need to start by doing some housecleaning. Yes, I said housecleaning.
I suggest finding a good bio-degradable bag and, starting under your sink bag up all the chemicals to kill bugs and weeds. Then, progressing to your basement, garage, or utility shed, collect them all and get rid of them! If you are ready and willing to commit to growing healthy and nutritious food, then you need to get rid of all the poisons out of you home and garden. Okay, so you have a bag of toxic substances in hand, and you’re walking out to your garbage can… Suddenly you realize that there might possibly be a safety issue concerning the disposal of this stuff. The light bulb goes on.
If you have to consider how to safely dispose of a product, why would you want it in your home?