Posts Tagged ‘Organic Gardening’

Organic Gardening Compost: Saves You Money and Helps Save the

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Organic Gardening Compost: Saves You Money and Helps Save the Earth

Synthetic fertilizers are out and organic gardening compost is the in thing with farmers who are trying out the holistic way in planting.

Organic Gardening
With organic gardening, farmers are going back to the most basic way of growing plants and trees and that is by being one with nature. The latter phrase meaning that they no longer use artificial fertilizers and the commercially available pesticides, but instead rely on the natural environment to be able to grow produce.

Organic Gardening Compost
Compost is the mixture of decaying plants, animal manure or other organic materials that is being used as a fertilizer. While nature can work on compost by itself, men can speed up the process by using the equation air plus water, carbon, then nitrogen is equal to compost.

Composting in Simpler Terms
Don’t be overwhelmed by the word equation stated above. This is not really a complex thing. This can actually be done in a simple and step-by-step ways.

Hot Compost
While others opt to burn fallen leaves, such is wealth for gardeners as this is the start of their composting process. The first thing they have to do is to bag those leaves. Clipped grass from mowed surfaces can also be put in the bag.

To bring in oxygen and a quantity of water enough to dampen the leaves systematically, put several holes near the bag’s top and at its bottom. The holes will also let the carbon dioxide out and excess water as well. Pour in about two shovelful of garden soil into the bag where the leaves are, then shake it to mix the contents. Or if not possible, just roll the bag thoroughly.

Mixing should be done on a schedule after every other week. Check on the leaves and pour water to moisten those if they’ve dried out. In about two to three months, alas, your compost is ready. The contents of the bag that look like dark and flaky stuff are your compost.

To use that dark and flaky stuff as a fertilizer for your plants, put an inch thick layer on the soil’s top layer. That will then be absorbed by the plants. It actually acts as fertilizer and at the same time pesticide and can even prevent weeds from growing. It also contributes in conserving water as your plants won’t need as much.

To be able to come up with the same output at lesser time, you can also try shredding the leaves first before sacking it all up.

Cold Compost
The difference between cold and hot compost is that the first is easier to do than the latter which takes more effort.

Cold compost can be done by simply gathering wastes from your own backyard, may it be leaves, grass clippings and weeds, then piling them up. Allow a period of six to twenty-four months for earthworms and other microorganisms break the stuff down. While waiting, you can add up materials to your pile. In this scenario, the stuff at the bottom decomposes first.

But aside from the long wait, this type of compost is not as effective as the hot compost. It cannot kill weeds and pathogens. Also, before using such, you should screen out for undecomposed materials from the pile.

Whatever you may choose between the two, you’re still on the winning side by using organic gardening compost because not only you are saving up money but more so, you are helping out conserve and clean our environment.

Market Organic Gardening: Going Commercial

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Market organic gardening is producing vegetables, fruits, flowers and other ornamental plants the organic way for commercial gain. It means taking care of a slightly bigger garden since you will now be targeting local markets unlike the ones you had before which caters to only the needs of your family. With a commercial goal in mind, you will have to consider the viability of your produce in your local market.

Its a good thing that nowadays, organically grown produce are preferred and are actually sought after by the ordinary shoppers. This is among the reasons why advertisers are always focusing on the organic nature of their products. They often advertise that their products are 100% organic. Some, however, are only saying these things to sell their products.

Organic gardening means absolutely not using any kind of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, plant antibiotics, or even artificial growth promoters from the time the plants were being cultivated up to the time they are being harvested. Theres no compromises in organic gardening, its either you use chemical stuff or you dont.

With this in mind, shoppers are focusing their organic needs towards community based organic garden growers. They usually will go to small scale producers instead of going to supermarkets where they rely only on what the packaging tells them. In community based organic growers, you can actually see the freshness of the produce, the garden themselves, and how the growers care for their gardens.

As a garden grower, your aim is to make some profit from your organic garden. Although, your initial focus is your immediate community, it is not bad to set a goal that you eventually ship your products to a wider market. But were getting a little bit ahead of ourselves.

In order to get a substantial profit to elicit motivation, you need to develop a focused marketing strategy. This means, having a marketing strategy in place even before you plant your crops. You already have a target market in mind and you already have a plan to reach that target. In this way, you can eliminate wastage of produce by not planting unnecessarily crops or plants that will not sell well in the market.

There are a number of ways to dispose of your produce. You can setup a small stall on your own yard every weekend, for example. Your neighbor can easily pass the word that there are fresh organic vegetables or fruits two or three blocks away.

You can also use the so called tail-gate marketing approach where you park your van along the roadside and sell your produce directly to passersby. This is a fast and cheap way to sell your produce but it is not the most effective. Youre putting too much hope that people will stop and buy your produce.

But if you really want to market your organic produce, you can go to a farmers market and supply your produce there. The good thing about a farmers market is that they are a little lenient when it comes to consistency of quality. They pay you what your produce is worth.

Another advantage of a farmers market is establishing a network of contacts of both customers and dealers or suppliers. It will serve as your gateway to commercial viability.

Market organic gardening focuses on the commercial aspects of gardening. It has added responsibilities since you now have to answer to your customers but it should always carry one thing, the love you have for gardening.

The History of Organic Gardening

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

You could say that the history of organic gardening started centuries ago when ancient civilizations would till the soil, plant the crops and then harvest them. As the demand for such goods increased, fertilizers or pesticides were used to help grow crops but because It was only later on that people realized these were also being eaten after they were washed thus there was a campaign to go back to organic gardening.

There was renewed interest in the 1980s that people in the US began to switch back to organic gardening. The Department of Agriculture even gave the farmers incentives to this old approach and as the demand for such products grew, more and more people have shifted to this method. This has been the trend in many countries especially in Europe.

But what is organic gardening? Well, aside from no longer using fertilizers and pesticides, gardeners will have to rely on compost, crop residue, crop rotation, integrated pest management and mechanical cultivation in order to preserve soil productivity and combat pests.

Currently, such organic gardening methods are regulated by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements which helps farmers grow crops in 75 million acres of land across the globe.

Their goal can be summed up into two words and that is sustainable development so that the land that is used will be around for the next generation because there is a healthy ecosystem.

Is organic gardening effective? The answer is yes. Over a 22 year study that was released to the public in 2005, the results showed that going back to the basics produces the same amount of corn and soybean yields as conventional methods. However, it does so by consuming less energy and without any pesticide residue.

A study done by the University of Michigan shows developing countries that practice organic gardening could double or even triple their crops mainly because they do not have the financial resources to buy pesticides or fertilizer.

The nice thing about organic gardening is that farmers are not the only ones that can do it because you too can make this happen in your own backyard. You just have to learn how to till the soil and keep it in good condition, how to make your crops grow and how to fight against pests so you will be able to harvest them.

You can even turn this into a hobby and see how fun it is to make grow your own vegetables instead of buying these from the grocery. So, go online or buy a few books to learn how easy it is to do.

Remember, the key to a successful harvest regardless of what you decide to plant is all in the planning. Take into account how much you are willing to spend, your limited space and how much time and effort is in your hands.

You will also need to get the right gardening tools like gloves and a tiller to break the soil because it makes the task much easier than doing this by hand so that in a few months, you will be able to see what you planted grow.

As you can see, the history of organic gardening isnt really something new. We have been doing it for a very long time and we probably lost sight of it but we learned our mistakes and we are simply going back to the basics.

Getting Started on Organic Gardening

Friday, February 12th, 2010

More and more people are getting into organic gardening because it is more environment-friendly, more healthy, a wonderful pastime and can help them save money by having all the crops they need in the backyard. If you are one of those people who are planning to have their own organic garden, here are some helpful tips for you:

1. Decide the crops that you want. Since you are into organic gardening, it is best to if you start with seeds first. Today, there are so many available seeds in most groceries and markets. But, you cannot just grab a pack of seeds without considering if it will grow in your environment. For starters, it is best to stick with vegetables and beans to try what is suited for your site condition. Once you have determined which are the plants suited for the condition of your site, then you can purchase other seeds that you want to grow.

2. Prepare the proper containers. In organic gardening, there is no need for expensive and special containers. As long as these are tapered, then it would do your plant good. When you decide to go into organic gardening, check out your kitchen first. If you can find old yogurt containers, empty juice and milk cartons, tubes of potato chips, cans of sauces and juices, and slightly damaged pails or dipper, you can clean then up and start filling them with clay and other organic matter to prepare for seed planting.

If you dont have any of the mentioned containers, you can always buy in the nearest supermarket nut make sure that these have tapered sides so the crop can easily slip out. Aside from containers that are at least 3 inches deep, other container options for you include flats or shallow trays but these are not advisable if you plan to plant two or more kinds of plants because the roots may be tangled and would lead to the death of the crop.

Make sure that the containers are very well cleaned using lukewarm water dashed with chlorine bleach to ensure that the germs are killed inside. After washing, leave it on the open air to let it dry. (TIP: If you can let it dry directly under the sun, it will be best because all the residues will be removed.)

3. Be sure to have ready packets of planting mix. Planting mixes help seeds to sprout very well that is why you should always have extra packets for your organic gardening. It is best if you use planting mixes that are sterile because they are safe for your plants and for you as well.

4. Label each container properly. Since seeds look alike when they sprout, it is best if all the containers are labeled properly. Aside from making it easy for you to identify which is which, labeling is also crucial to avoid planting the same seed over again.

5. Let there always be light. If you are into organic gardening, make sure that there is plenty of air and light available. If natural sunlight is not available in your area, try to create a makeshift light source such as a fluorescent light bulb or tube that can be brought in most grocery and hardware stores. Make sure that you place them properly so the sprouts can get all the light they need to grow healthy.

Gardening Organic Tomato Made Easy

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

I bet you have already seen organic vegetables being sold in supermarkets. Nowadays, the area dedicated for organic produce in supermarkets is growing and more. It used to be that people are going organic as a matter of alternative, lifestyle changes, or making a statement. But today, organic food has become more the conventional rather than the alternative. The benefits of organic gardening can never be observed more in the area of commercial agricultural products such as fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, for example, are becoming bigger, rounder, redder, and fresher through organic gardening than previous cultivation methods. Gardening organic tomato is really not a mystery but rather involves balancing the health of the environment and the plant itself.

When planting tomatoes using organic gardening, it is important to not that healthy tomato plants will be able to repel pests and diseases better. There are a number of ways to make certain that your tomato plants are healthy. For one, you could start by buying plants or seeds from disease free varieties. Local varieties usually have a developed adaptive mechanism which protects them from common pests and diseases.

Tomatoes can be divided into determinates and indeterminates. The first variety will grow to a certain extent and then stops. Unlike the indeterminates variety where the tomato vines continue to grow which is why you need to provide support for the plants when you cultivate these kinds of variety.

Planting tomatoes in the organic way means you need a very healthy soil. Note that healthy soils are rich with fungi, bacteria, and other organisms that are good for your tomato plants. You need to understand that ordinary backyard or front yard soils are not often sufficient to provide tomato plants with the sustenance they need. The key in growing great tomatoes are good quality soil.

This is the reason why other people are tempted to use chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides to augment the poor quality of their current soils. Although using chemical fertilizers do offer quick results, it is not the true way of organic gardening.

Just like any other organic gardening, the use of composts in your tomato gardens is very important. By adding composts, the soil will become healthier and will be able to provide a better source of nutrients for your tomato plants.

Now pests are common occurrences and in your tomato garden one of the most common and most damaging is the Tomato hornworms. These are large caterpillars and mostly found in the Northern parts of America. They can cause a lot of damage not only in tomatoes but in eggplants, pepper, tobacco and potatoes when they are left to themselves.

If you notice any Tomato homworms in your garden, you should start with pest control as son as possible. The most basic and remains one of the most effective in dealing with pests is to get down and handpick the caterpillars from the plants leaves or stem.

Another option would be to release in your garden natural predators and in the case of Tomato homworms, lady beetles or lacewings are effective friendly insects. These insects will attach the eggs of the homworms destroying them from the source.

Gardening organic tomato can be very easy, all you need a simple guide, a sample pamphlet maybe or a brochure. Just remember that organic gardening will require special care and attention.

Fundamental Organic Gardening Tips

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

And the race is on. On the right corner is an anything and everything goes garden which uses the best chemical fertilizers and pesticides the market today has to offer. While on the left corner is an organic garden that uses only the cycles of nature to cultivate the soil and grow the plants. If youre on the left corners side what will you do? Like a boxers second you should have a set of instructions for your fighter, but in this case a set of organic gardening tips will definitely come in handy.

Organic gardening involves growing healthy plants and having high quality produce without the use of chemicals whatsoever. There are a number of ways or techniques that you could use when going organic. The following are some general tips or guidelines that would help you begin and maintain an organic garden. Remember that you dont need a big area of land to go organic.

The first tip for you is to develop a great organic soil. And the first way to do that is to give your soil some compost material. Compost one of the major components of an organic soil. Without it, your soil will not contain enough minerals for your plants to grow healthy.

Aside from composts, you can add other organic materials into the soil to make it more suitable for your plants. If composts are not readily available, organic growers usually add different kinds of animal manures into the soil. This will act as your organic fertilizers to add to the useful soil nutrients that your plants will need.

The second tip would be to plant the right kinds of plants for the right kinds of soil. Also, take into consideration how much sunshine your garden receives and even the temperature in your area when choosing the plants you will have in your organic garden. It would be to your advantage to choose well-adapted plants in your organic garden.

Also, by choosing your plants wisely you would be able to plan how big, the layout, and the number the different kinds of plants you will have in your garden. We know for a fact that each vegetable, for example, requires different growing space than others.

Another useful tip would be positioning your garden so that it will fall under a shade. Or you can create a makeshift canopy to shade your garden. Shaded gardens are low maintenance, thats the main advantage. Under the shade, your garden will grow fewer weeds and definitely will not require more water than when it is constantly under the sun. Were not saying that a good garden is only a shaded one. Were merely citing the advantages and the benefits of growing your organic garden under shades.

For pest control, the best tip we could give you is to go down and get dirty. The organic way of pest management involves identifying which ones are pests and picking them off by hand. Yes, you read it right. You need to find the insects and pick them off your plants. However, if you dont feel like it, you can apply a number of organic solutions that you can easily make from common household ingredients. You can also introduce their natural predators to your garden to help maintain the pests into a minimum.

The key for both pest management and weed control is to act quickly. Once you have noticed that there are weeds growing or your plants are being damaged by insects, you should start pulling off the weeds or picking off the insects.

There you go. A few general organic gardening tips to get you started. With the right attitude, the right approach, and armed with the right techniques, you will be able to grow a healthy organic garden and you will be able to harvest all its benefits in the end.

Elements of Organic Gardening

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Organic gardening in the truest sense means gardening without the use of any chemical substances, may they be in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, growth enhancers, etc. Some people think that if they use only small amounts of chemical fertilizers they still are producing organic. But they are wrong. Lets tackle some of the misconceptions and issues that surround organic gardens.

Dont get us wrong, organic gardens dont mean just leaving them to nature. It does need fertilization and pest management as well. However, you will use materials, techniques or approaches that are truly organic.

When it comes to fertilizers, for example, organic gardens obviously need fertilizers that are either plant or animal in origin and not petroleum or chemical based as most synthetic fertilizers are made of. So this means, organic gardens will have to rely on composts, animal manures, etc to provide added nutrients to the soil that the plants needs for growth. Its a good thing really, natural based fertilizers is less damaging to the soil in the long run that synthetic ones.

One of the many tips an expert organic grower will give you is that importance of maintaining a healthy soil. Some studies have found out that soils that are not treated with any chemical or synthetic fertilizers or herbicides grow plants that attract less pests. There are several ways to protect your soil. Covering it with vegetation or mulch will protect the soil surface from unnecessary damage from excess sun exposure and erosion from winds and rains. Remember that the top layers of the soil contain the living organisms that plants needs.

At times, organic gardens are also beleaguered by pests and you need to provide some sort of support or else your plants can easily be destroyed by aphids, worms, etc. There a number of effective alternatives for commercial chemical fertilizers. Some are readily available in your own kitchen which makes them really convenient.

Garlic and peppers for instance can be utilized as a spray against common pests. Extracts from the neem tree is also a great weapon against leaf eating, stem boring, or flower devouring pests. Also, you should note that spiders, ladybugs, and lacewings are three of the many insects that are on your side. These insets are natural predators of aphids, worms, larvae, and other pests so treat them nicely.

Another way to manage the pests in your garden is by thinking ahead. When you planted your plants, you could also place along side them plants that are natural repellants of insects such as marigolds which are very effective against nematodes.

Everything about an organic garden should revolve around nature.

Sometimes, it is nice to view organic way of gardening as a means where we can contribute to the protection of nature by helping minimize the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers that are harmful to the environment. May it be a flower garden, your lawn and shrubs, a vegetable patch, or even a fruit and herbs garden, as long as you incorporate organic techniques you are helping build a better future for the next generation.

These are only a few elements that you will have to internalize when start your own organic garden. Just remember that organic gardening is a technique where emphasis is on the interaction of living organisms.