I have been growing my own vegetables for over thirty years all across the United States. All the way from North Carolina to California even Alaska. Each area is different, so I had to change my approach to gardening in each new location.
Now that I have moved to Reno I have elected to go organic. This has been quite a challenge for me since I have always been a chemical man. Spray the chemicals on and watch the weeds die and the veggies grow, was my slogan.
What Is Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is doing away with chemicals that are used to kill weeds and grow vegetables, and replacing them with natural occurring organic material or animal waste. The new steps I had to learn when I went to organic gardening was how to improve the soil, control pests and weeds, all without resorting to chemicals.
Improving The Soil
There are many things that could be used to improve and maintain the fertility of the soil. Animal waste is a good source of nutrients to supply to the soil. When I lived in Japan during the late 50s, I found that the Japanese had for centuries, and still do, kept their fields fertile with “honey buckets” (human waste).
Plant material can also be used to keep the soil fertile.
I used a mixture of both when I started my organic garden. I had a friend who raised horses and got several loads of horse manure from him. I spread this over my garden and then tilled the manure into the soil.
After the initial dose of manure, I started maintaining the fertility of the soil with grass clippings. I create them when I mow my lawn. Of course this means I have to keep my lawn organic also, so I do not get chemicals in my organic garden.
I use the clippings as ground cover in the vegetable bed and when it gets too much, I put the excess clippings in my compost bin.
The compost bin not only contains grass clippings, but also wastes from my wife’s kitchen. All this stuff is allowed to decay and is placed in my garden at the start of the next year.
Pest Control Organic Style
Pest control is a challenge when you grow organically. There is organic pest control material available at your garden store, but you need to read the directions carefully, since there could be certain specific application directions.
Also, encourage certain insects to visit your garden. I once purchased some ladybugs for my greenhouse to eat the aphids.
Other insects and animals that are good for your garden are praying mantis, wasps, frogs, snakes, birds and lizards, which should all be encouraged to visit your garden.
Weed Control Organic Style
I have already mentioned I put grass clippings in my vegetable garden as a cover. This cover also prevents weeds from growing. I ensure the grass clippings are not just in the rows, but actually go right up to the plant for maximum protection.
There are other organic covers and even organic weed control sprays, but I like the grass clipping control system, since it is cheaper and returns vital nutrients to the soil.
The three major obstacles you have to over come when performing organic gardening is having good soil, insect control and weed control. By learning the best practices, you too can have a fantastic organic garden.
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I have been gardening for over 35 years.