An experienced Texas-based teacher, Douglas Grant enjoys a variety of outdoor activities in his free time. In his role as a teacher, Douglas Grant has helped his students become more in tune with nature, and he is an avid gardener who prefers growing organic vegetables.
To yield a good crop of organic vegetables, the home gardener must first attend to the soil available. Healthy vegetables need deep, rich soil that can support the growth of a strong root system, which is essential to delivering the nutrients that help a plant to thrive. Many organic gardeners achieve this by creating raised beds with rounded tops, which maximize surface area.
Additionally, many gardeners spread a layer of mulch on top of the soil. This helps to prevent the growth of weeds, while also serving as a barrier against fungal spores. Organic mulch breaks down and enriches the soil, though gardeners with less nutrient-rich soil may also wish to use manure and other fertilizers.
When the time comes to place crops, home gardeners should remember to give plants ample space to grow. The cultivation of vine plants, such as peas and tomatoes, can help to give the gardener the maximum amount of vegetables per square foot. The comingling of compatible crops can also help to maximize space. Corn, for example, produces stalks that support beans, while a low-growing crop, such as squash, helps to prevent weeds from sprouting among the corn and using up nutrients.
Depending on the crops that a gardener chooses, succession planting may also maximize the amount grown per season. An earlier crop such as lettuce, for example, can undergo harvest in time for the gardener to plant a quick-growing corn, which matures fast enough to enable the planting of another lettuce crop. The choice of technique, like the choice of vegetables, will depend primarily on the gardener’s preference as well as location, climate, and available space.