How To Start Growing Organic Food at Home

By on May 12, 2013

Everyone wants to eat healthy and a great way to do this is by growing your own fruit and vegetables. But the question is, how to start growing organic food at home?

What Do You Want To Grow In Your Garden?

You may just want some vegetables to enjoy over the summer or you may have a large family and need to supplement your grocery bill.  This will determine the size of your garden.

Some things that you will need to consider:

  • What is the climate like where you live?
  • How much time do you have to spend?
  • How much space do you have on your plot, and is that space suitable?

Once you have determined these things, make a list of the vegetables that you may wish to plant. Gardenate is a great site that can help with understanding your climate and what fruit and vegetables to grow and when

Buy Organic Seeds and Seedlings

In order to grow an organic garden you should choose organically grown seeds and seedlings. Organically grown seeds and seedlings come from plants that are organically grown, and have never been treated with pesticides or fungicides. There are several good mail order companies that provide great organic vegetable garden seeds. Nurseries, garden centers and big box stores carry organic seeds and plants. When buying these items be sure to make sure they are clearly labeled as organic.

Don’t Forget To Save Your Own Seeds At Home

Another way to ensure that you have organic seeds available for your home garden is to save your own seeds. See our previous article on What is Seed Saving and Why Should I Do It? for some reasons why you should start. Seed saving is easy and ensures that you have a wallet friendly way to grow great tasting vegetables in the backyard. Also, people around the neighbourhood may want to swap or give you seeds they have saved. Setting up this kind of community is invaluable! You may also get some great tips on your growing climate, what veges grow best your area’s soil and what pests to look out for.

Fertilising Your Soil Organically 

Composting is the best way to get nutrients into your soil. Compost is basically organic matter that you collect from around your home, including dead leaves, egg shells, coffee grinds, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps and animal manures. These things can be collected over the course of the year in compost bins. Compost bins, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can range from a trash can, trench  or a wire bin that you collect your leaves, and other composting material in. For more tips on composting, see our 5 Essential Tips For Successful Composting

Combatting Insects in an Organic Way

Now that you have planted your organic seeds and nourished your garden with organic compost, it is important to ensure that your plants aren’t ravaged by those other critters that want to eat your fruit and vegetables as much as you.

For example, aphids are one of the insects to watch for. Most of the time a strong spray of water will take care of them, but sometimes it takes a little more. One option is to purchase natural predators. You can purchase ladybugs, lacewings, parasitic wasps or damsel bugs, these will attack and kill the aphids.

Homemade sprays can also be made that are safe and effective. A great recipe for an all purpose insecticide is the following

Ingredients

  • Four large onions
  • Four cloves of garlic
  • Four hot chillies
  • Warm soapy water

Chop or blend the onions, garlic and chillies. Then cover these with warm, soapy water and leave it to stand overnight. Strain off the oniony liquid and add it to a gallon (five litres) of water. Use this concoction liberally over your plants to get rid of unwanted insects.

Keep On Top Of The Weeds In the Garden

You also need to identify the weeds and keep them under control, but you do not need chemicals to do so. The best advice is to stay on top of things! It is important to pull up the weeds, making sure that you get all of the root. This will help to prevent them from coming back. Be vigilant and persistent, and remove the weed as soon as you see it. Mulch is a great way to combat weeds –  mulch thickly enough to keep the weeds from growing in and around your plants.

Some organic solutions to week control include:

Vinegar

  • Mix a spray bottle with white distilled vinegar. The vinegar should be between 15% and 20% acidic. The stronger the solution the better it works. Choose a dry, sunny day making sure not to spray any of your vegetables and spray the weeds. In a few days they will be dead.

Baking Soda

  • Sprinkle the weed with water and take a teaspoon of baking soda and spread it on the weed. Not just the center of the weed, but the entire weed. This method works well when you need to protect your vegetables.

This is just the beginning of how to start growing organic food at home. Take the time to understand your garden, watch how things are progressing and take care of things when you see them. These are key points to having a great vegetable garden.

Happy Gardening!

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