Monday, December 13

Hot to start an organic garden

How to start an organic garden
Organic gardens vs. standard gardens is the difference in what chemicals you put on the garden in order to prevent bugs or disease or maintain an already healthy garden environment. According to the U.S. government, an organic garden is a garden in which chemicals are avoided and only used as a last resort to control unwanted pests and diseases.

If you are in a hurry, who isn't(?), then find a supplier who carries organic compost and loam and sand. Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that chemicals are not in the compost, loam, or sand. When purchasing items for your garden, the term organic simply means there were no chemicals used in creating the loam, sand or compost. It does not mean that there were no chemicals at the site where the distributor retrieved the sand etc.

Without knowing where you live...urban, suburb or exurb, I have to assume you have space to build a garden. If you don't, then try a conatiner that can hold three bags of soil medium. Buy one bag each of compost, loam and sand. If you do have an outdoor site to start a garden, also include a wheelbarrow full of soil from your planned garden site.

I find raised beds the easiest to begin and maintain. The amount of soil mediums listed above is enough to fill a 4 X 4 raised bed area. Other amendments to the soil will be determined by what you are platning in your garden.

Use green sand and bone meal in the area that you are planting tomatoes. If this is too expensive for you, use epsom salts. Epsom salts is something that is absorbed by your body when you take a bath and will not hurt the plants. Epsom simply replaces the magnesium in your soil medium to make your soil magnesium more readily available nutrition and it prevents blossum-end-rot on your precious tomatoes.
If your area is not being used for tomato's, then follow other instructions for the plants that you are planting. Plant lettuce in between your tomato plants. As the tomato plants grow they will provide shade for the lettuce as well as a moist environment in which lettuce likes to grow.

If you dont want to use the standard fertilizers, then simply make sure you have a trench compost set up between your plantings. Keep in mind that kitchen waste used in your trench needs to be pre-washed before cooking to eat due to the chemicals on the food you buy at the grocers and don't add, tomatoes, potatoes, meats or oils to the compost.

Another compost method is to dig a hole in an empty area of the garden periodically, when you have kitchen waste available...fill the hole with the waste and then cover with the soil you originally removed from the hole. The plants on either side of the trench or hole will gain nutrients while the waste decomposes. This type of composting is actually the best way to compost since most compost piles lose their nutrients into the ground when it rains. Granted, composted soils that have been exposed to rain are more nutritious than other soils (unless you live in a river bed area) but the whole point to composting is to reserve the nutrients from decomposing waste for the fruit and vegetables that you are growing. If most of the nutrients go into the ground below, then some of the nutrients are wasted for your project.

When talking about organic gardening there are some topics that people simply ignore. One of them is that many independent studies have determined that the organic weed preventative corn gluten causes cancer. Corn gluten also stays in the soil for years beyond what is natural. This is simply because the the gluten is removed from the corn and then used are a weed prevention in organic gardens. As far as I am concerned, this removes corn gluten from the saftey list.

An easier way to prevent weeds is to spread a weed filter on top of the soil in between the plantings. The question is, what type of coverings? In recent years, newspaper ink has under gone changes to protect the public. The ink no longer carries the carcinogens that it used to have and is now safe to hold in your hands as well as put in your garden. Many people use cardboard without thinking about the glues that cardboard inherently has within its walls.

 If you truely want to go in the direction of organic, the best covering for weed prevention is 8 inches of hay. Replace as needed (if a weed pops up through it.) You will only need one full sized bale for your 4 X 4 garden.  The hay decomposes slowly over time and adds nutrients to the soil that the soil would otherwise be without.

What to plant: packing nutrition into your four foot garden;

If you are interested in the most nutrition per square foot in your 4 x 4 garden, keep in mind that kale is a leafy green that people could live on if they had to. Kale has so many nutrients including protein in it, that you might live forever if you eat it everyday. The nutrative standouts are the high content of calcium, vitamin C which helps the calcium be absorbed and more readily available, vitamin B6 which is terrific vitamin for migraine sufferers, folic acid, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin K which helps deter the aging process, potassium, manganese, copper, and even the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). In addition to the carotenoid beta-carotene, kale contains other important carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin (necessary for eye health, i.e macular degeneration), and zinc which combined with vitamin A encourages the body to produce white blood cells in the event of a virus or bacteria entering the body. Kale also has chemicals in it that assist in the prevention of colon and ovarian cancers.

With all these nutrients combined, Kale is the number one plant that can help anyone detox their system without going on a liquid diet with a side of colon cleanse. Keep in mind that Kale also has a large amount of tryptophan in 1 cup so when you eat it, you will feel sluggish for a short while, like you ate some turkey if not fall asleep altogether.

One deterrent of kale is the amount of oxalic acid it contains. if you have kidney or gall bladder problems already you might want to avoid kale or limit the amounts you eat to a comfortable-for-you level.

Other high nutrient vegetables for a 4 X 4 garden include, swiss chard, turnip and beet greens, broccoli, cauliflower,...and the rest of the brassicas. For a treat you can grow a tomato or two in between the more nutritious plants. Tomatos have longer roots and get their nutrition from deeper within the soil. Be sure to dig individual holes around the tomatos so that you can fill them in with compost when it is available.

To keep you garden cooler in the hottest weather, add some cheesecloth to the top of the plants in order to provide some shade. This will help the tomatos keep their cool and keep producing.

More on organic beginner gardening later.


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