Organic vegetable gardening simply refers to growing our food without the use of chemicals. It is growing food our grandparent’s way. In organic gardening we see our gardens as mini-ecosystems and so we treat them with kindness, respect and humility. Our goal is to work in harmony with nature to create mini-ecosystems that protect, nourish and sustain soil microbes, plants, insects and other wild life. Any input which disturbs this harmony, any input which kills, harms and pollutes the environment or causes toxicity in food and in turn our bodies is strictly forbidden.
Now if you decide on growing an organic vegetable garden, here are a few things to remember:
Sun is key
In organic gardening we work together with the sun. Sunlight provides the energy for plants to grow. No sun, no garden, it is that simple! Those primary school photosynthesis experiments we never paid attention to suddenly become important, right! Here is something that you probably do not know, you can never have too much sun! In fact, you should worry if you get too little sun. Vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of sun to thrive. For every hour less of sun you get, the less productive your garden will be.
Build healthy soil
Organic gardening also means working together with the soil and the intricate web of life that exist in it. We team up with the billions of fungi, bacteria, insects and earthworms that breathe life into our gardens. We take care of the soil, and it takes care of us. I have seen first-hand the abundance that comes with soil that is thriving with life. So, take the time to work lots of compost and other organic materials into your garden bed before you plant anything. It will pay off more than just about anything else you can do
Mix things up
We also pay attention to and take cue from how certain plants perform when grown next to others. Some attract beneficial insects that help to protect a companion, others emit a strong smell that repelles unwanted pests, while others produce nectar to lure butterflies, bees and birds. So, we mix things up. We plant a tapestry of shapes, textures and sizes. We think trees, climbing crops, creepers, fragrances, herbs and flowers. A biodiverse garden is a healthy and resilient garden.
Consider the seasons and the climate
We also work in concert with the seasons and the climate. We know not to grow tomatoes and melons in winter, these are warm weather crops and they do not like the cold. So, we pay attention to our weather and our climate and select only those crops that are suitable for your area and season.
Keep things clean
Just because we grow our food organically, doesn’t mean that our gardens should be mess of dead or dying plants, weeds and rotting tomatoes. We keep things clean. Many diseases and pests spread rapidly in dead, fallen foliage. So once a week, walk through your garden and clear any dead plants, leaves, or any other debris. This keeps your garden healthy. You can prevent a disease from spreading through an entire plant by just picking off an infected leaf.
We belong to nature. We do not own it.
Happy Gardening, Manti