If you enjoy making the most of your outdoor space, doubtless you’ve carefully considered how best to use every inch of it. From a vegetable plot that produces delicious fresh ingredients for dinner with family and friends, to a seating area complete with a fire pit for evening and winter entertaining, a good backyard is an extension of our living space and a reflection of the way we like to spend time, and who we like to spend that time with.
But, what good is it all if you’re not taking care of it in the right way? If you’re considering going green in your backyard and want to know how to garden organically, here are some top tips to consider.
“Grow your own organic produce
with these tips and tricks for caring
for an organic garden.”
Start a compost patch
This is perhaps the most useful thing you can do for your garden, particularly if you’re committed to maintaining it in an organic way. Organic materials such as vegetable peelings, grass clippings, spent flowers and leaves will degrade to create a compost, which eventually becomes a dark soil full of lovely nutrients. This is a brilliant fertilizer, which means you can skip synthetic fertilizers that are full of harmful chemicals.
Rotate the crops in your vegetable patch
You’ll be familiar with the idea of crop rotation on big farms, but it’s also a good thing to practice in small backyard gardens too. So, if you keep a vegetable patch for instance, be sure to rotate the types of vegetables you grow in your garden each year. This is kinder on the soil, and will reduce the impact if you’re unlucky enough to find yourself contending with diseases and insects that have taken to one of your vegetables.
Just give some thought to what you rotate, and when. For example, if you’ve been growing tomatoes, you’ll find that your soil needs some serious replenishment after a few years. Plant something like beans or peas – they draw nitrogen into the soil, ensuring your vegetable patch stays healthy.
If you keep an #organic vegetable patch, rotate the vegetables you grow in your #garden each year.Click To Tweet
If there’s one thing that’s likely to tempt you away from gardening organically, it’s the number of stubborn weeds you’ll have to deal with. But there are natural ways of handling weeds, which means they won’t become a threat to the flowers and greenery you’ve carefully planted in your garden. Start by pulling out weeds by hand (making sure you get them as early as you can: young weeds are easier to pull out than older ones, and you’ll find this easiest if you try pulling them out when the soil is nice and moist). There are tools you can use if you need a little power behind your pull such as a weeding hoe.
As well as removing them from the ground, you may want to consider spreading a layer of mulch on the ground. A thick layer of mulch will prevent sunlight and water from reaching the weeds below, causing them to die. Just make sure your plants have sprouted through the soil and are growing well before you do this, otherwise the straw (or grass clippings) you’re using for mulch will suffocate them too.
The great thing about using mulch is that it will also reduce the amount of water you need to use (it stops the soil from drying out beneath it), which is great news for this precious resource.
Finally, the amount of water you use (and where you get it from) is a major consideration in an organic garden. So, step away from the hosepipe and use a rainwater barrel wherever possible. Collecting and storing rainwater will significantly reduce the amount of water you draw from the hose, and it can be stored all year round to use in the height of summer.
It will pay off to have a watering schedule, too. So, rise early to water your garden early in the morning (the lack of heat means the water won’t evaporate so quickly, meaning you’ll use less overall, and wherever possible, try to group plants together according to the amount of water they need. That way, you won’t overwater parts of your garden, as instead you’ll be able to focus on particular areas that require a little more hydration.
These are just a few tips and tricks for caring for an organic garden. There are lots more organic articles here, if you’d like to read more on the subject.
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What are your favorite organic gardening tips?
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