Eight Tips for Organic Vegetable Gardening Success

Organic vegetable gardening is fun, relaxing, and provides you with a sense of accomplishment. Here are eight tips to get the most out of your backyard space.

A colorful array of fresh vegetables just picked from the garden

Tip One: Choose Your Vegetables

The most important thing to do is to decide what you want to grow. What vegetables do you enjoy eating? There are so many vegetables to choose from. Keep in mind that certain vegetables cannot be grown because of the climate and planting zones restrictions, so take that into consideration.

Choose plants that are well adapted to the soil, temperature, sun, and shade exposure of your area and zone.

If you live in an area where droughts are frequent, make sure you are planting drought resistant vegetables. This ensures that your plants do not eat up much water and can withstand dry weather.

You can find information and maps on the hardiness planting zones on the internet.

Tip Two: Plan Your Garden Space on Paper

Determine how much space you want designated for your garden area. Plot the layout of your vegetable rows on a sheet of paper.

A simple and well thought out drawing will speed up the planting process. Be mindful not to take on too much garden area. Think of your work schedule and daily obligations when planning. The time it will take to attend to the weeding, watering, harvesting, and garden maintenance when things start to grow has to be taken into consideration.

Tip Three: Vary Your Vegetable Plant Types

When planting vegetables, don’t stick with just one variety. Vary the different kinds because this invites a multitude of insects to take up residence in your yard.

For example: plant cherry tomatoes alongside beefsteak or roma tomatoes.

Tip Four: Use Mulch

Mulch your vegetables with organic material. A mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of soil. One reason for applying mulch is that it conserves soil moisture, and a second reason is that it improves the fertility and health of the soil. Mulching also enhances the visual appeal of the garden area.

Mulch can be made from food waste, dead leaves, grass, wood chips, and manure. This helps conserve water, adds humus and nutrients, as well as discourage weeds from growing.

If you are doing organic vegan gardening, you can skip the manure, and use vegetable compost, grasses, leaves, wood chips, and other plant-based materials. 

You don’t have to dig deep to put mulch in because 85% of the vegetable’s roots are found in the top 6 inches of soil. 

A garden compost pile of vegetables and kitchen scraps

Aside from compost, you can also use natural fertilizers and organic material to help the vegetables grow. They encourage native earthworms, known as nature’s tillers and soil conditioners, to visit.

Tip Five: Use Natural Pest Controls

Pests are the biggest threat that could destroy your vegetables. To get rid of them, you should use other insects, birds, and frogs.

A green frog in a garden patch

If your crops have been infected with pests, spray stems and leaves with dilute soapy water and then clear water. This method is very effective.

gardener spraying plant with soap and water to kill pests

Only two percent of the insects in the world are harmful. This means the rest are beneficial. Examples of good insects include ladybugs, fireflies, green lacewings, praying mantis, spiders, and wasps. They eat insects that try to eat your vegetables. Another thing the good insects do is pollinate the plants and decompose organic matter.

Tip Six: Avoid Tearing Roots in Containers

If you decide to buy vegetables that are grown instead of using seedlings, most of these come in plastic containers. Be careful when you remove them so you avoid tearing the outside roots especially if these have grown solidly inside the container.

Tip Seven: Weed Regularly

Remove weeds as they grow inside your garden. You can pull these out by hand or spot spray the weed with a full strength of household vinegar. Vinegar is safe for the environment.

Gardener weeding garden with tools

Tip Eight: Rotate Crops

It’s a good idea to practice crop rotation. This will ensure the soil is always fertile. When planting a new vegetable, avoid regular, deep cultivation as this will damage the roots, dry out the soil, disturb healthy soil organisms and bring weeds to the surface that will soon germinate. Soil must only be loosened a couple of inches deep when you cultivate your garden.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor!

By following these tips, you will be able to have a successful organic vegetable garden. You can plant and harvest your vegetables all year round, saving money at the grocery store. 

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