As a gardener of any level, it is essential to understand the benefits of an organic garden and where to start. Much of the work that goes into growing fruits or vegetables can start happening before the seeds or young plants are placed in the garden, and that is where organic matter can really start to work its magic. By taking the time to learn the benefits of an organic garden and where to start, you can set yourself up for success and a whole lot of fun in the kitchen once the garden is ripe with delicious fruits and vegetables.
The Benefits of an Organic Garden and Where to Start
Having a garden of any kind can come with amazing benefits, but those who create an organic garden may enjoy some additional perks, such as:
- Outdoor nature therapy to help lift a person’s mood
- Organic and aesthetic draw of the garden to people and pollinators such as bees
- The knowledge of exactly what vitamins and minerals (and lack of chemicals) went into growing the food in your garden
- Opportunity to have fresh from the vine produce in your own space
- Money savings that normally would have been spent on buying garden foods at the grocery store
The majority of organic gardeners openly admit to choosing the organic route because it dramatically reduces the amount of potentially harmful chemicals that can come from treated soil and plants. By being the master of their own gardens, they have more control over what goes in their food.
An added bonus can be that those who tend to have their own organic gardens spend more time watering them and working with them, which can help the gardener live a more active lifestyle.
And although the benefits of an organic garden can be amazing, where to start when it comes to building it is equally as important. The success of a garden is dependent on many things, the most notable of which can be the efforts of the gardener tending to it.
For the ultimate benefits of an organic garden and where to start, gardeners should also pay careful attention to these three things:
- Soil composition
- Type of organic garden
- Timing and protection for soil cultivation and planting
Soil Composition Is Key for Organic Gardens
In many ways, the composition of an organic garden’s soil is one of the most key ingredients for a successful crop. Future garden sites are often a grassy area whose care has been defined by basic fertilizing and watering only. In addition to this, much of the soil in the Greater Houston area is clay based which is not particularly conducive to growing many fruits, vegetables, and herbs. The good news is that you have options even if clay soil is what you have.
Creating a balanced soil composition is the best way to cater to what is growing in the garden. If clay is what is in your soil, then building up with a raised bed garden can be an excellent way to choose your own soil composition for gardening.
Seasoned gardeners often choose to mix a variety of materials together for optimum growing conditions. A combination of leaf mold compost, organic manure, and others can be the tools of choice for this venture.
It is recommended to create the soil composition for the garden and put it into the raised beds at least a week or two before planting begins to give the beneficial bugs underneath the garden time to permeate it just as they do the ground soil.
Be Selective About the Type of Organic Garden You Choose
It is not uncommon for beginners to simply work with the soil and ground they have to begin a garden. However, working with Houston’s clay soil will likely not yield the results that they are hoping for, which usually leads to frustration that could have been avoided by being more selective about the type of garden used. Raised beds may be the best solution for this issue.
Experienced gardeners often recommend using raised beds for a number of reasons, including:
- Lends itself to customized soil composition
- Allows for less compacted soil which can improve soil drainage
- Keeps the soil from eroding as quickly
- Prevents tree roots from negatively impacting the plants
- Cuts down on regular weed work
- Allows easier access for regularly tending to the garden
- Offers aesthetic benefits
If well cared for, raised beds can be used again and again, season after season. For this reason, it is important to use quality materials and ensure that the beds are well made.
Pay Attention to Timing
The seasons can be nature’s way of helping gardeners know when to plant what, but seasons alone should not define a planting schedule.
Currently, it is mid-July in Houston with daily high temperatures of over one hundred degrees for as many as seven to ten days or more in a row. Although some seasonal schedules might dictate that the time is approaching to start soil cultivation for fall gardens, the hundred-degree heat is telling a different story.
Since customized soil composition for a raised bed garden may need time to rest so the beneficial bugs can permeate it before planting, some creativity may be required.
Some gardeners choose to install a temporary tarp to help shield the garden from the intense rays of the sun while still allowing it to get plenty of indirect light. The beauty of this set up is that once the heat becomes less intense and is not a threat to young plants, it is typically not a difficult thing to take down the tarp until it is needed again the following year.
Timing can mean everything to a gardener. Be observant about the seasons and the current weather forecast to make more educated decisions about what is best for the garden.
Why do anything less now that you understand the benefits of an organic garden and where to start? The things a garden yields tell a story about the gardener who tended it and the care they gave it. What will your organic garden say about you?