Not everyone has been gardening for years and years. Some of us just picked up the habit last year, or even this year. It seems such a simple concept at first: get some dirt, plant some seeds or plants, grow food and flowers. That’s it, right? Sometimes, yes. But other times, there are a few things that should be kept in mind to be a successful organic gardener.
- Get new soil: If you don’t know how the soil has been treated in the past or if you’ve used chemical fertilizers, it’s best to swap out soil for better fertility and avoiding contamination. Plants go deep sometimes, so replace the top foot or so. The topsoil should be compost if possible.
- Use only organic compost and fertilizer to treat your soil. You can create your own compost or purchase it.
- Make sure your seeds and seedlings are organic, too—that is, non-GMO plants that have been open-pollinated. If a plant is organically grown, it’ll yield organic seeds, so this will get easier over time.
- Organic gardening means you’ll have to tolerate some pests. Decide what that amount is and plan alternative ways to deal with pests when they inevitably show up. Monitor your crops closely for pests so they don’t get out of control before you realize there’s a problem.
- Plant crops that are complementary—in other words, they grow well together and can even discourage pests (ex. Garlic planted around potatoes).
- Prune perennial herbs and plants. Some plants grow healthier when pruned on a regular basis.