The First Steps in Starting an Organic Vegetable Garden

 

Organic Vegetable Garden pic

Organic Vegetable Garden
Image: thespruce.com

A former middle school history teacher and counselor, Douglas “Doug” Grant worked at San Antonio, Texas’ Northside ISD from 1987 to 2013, during which time he coordinated multiple recreation programs and served as a campus life volunteer and teacher sponsor. In his free time, Douglas Grant enjoys organic vegetable gardening.

Creating an organic vegetable garden in your own backyard can be easy if you take the right steps. For starters, you should focus not only on vegetables you and your family actually eat, but ones that are known to thrive in your local climate. Cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and string beans are popular choices because they will produce for months. Knowing where to plant is just as vital as knowing what to plant. Choose an area that offers at least six hours of direct sunlight in your main growing season and make sure to protect your garden bed from high winds by positioning it near a wall or behind bushes, or by erecting a sturdy trellis.

You should also have the soil in your garden tested for nutrient deficiency and ph level, whether through the local cooperative extension office or by a do-it-yourself method. This will help you to determine how to improve the soil for the particular vegetables you plan on growing. If the soil is rocky in the area you choose, consider constructing a raised bed vegetable garden instead. Organic seeds can be purchased at local garden centers and retail outlets, and there are also reputable mail-order companies such as the Sustainable Seed Co. and High Mowing Organic Seeds, among others, that ship 100 percent certified organic seeds.

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Tips for Growing Organic Vegetables

Growing Organic Vegetables pic

Growing Organic Vegetables
Image: bhg.com

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.