Thursday, February 24, 2011

Organic Family Garden Guest Post

How to Grow an Organic Family Garden

If you’re in the mood for fresh herbs and vegetables, the best way to get them is to plant your own garden. Most gardeners agree that vegetables taste better and are better for you when they’re grown organically. Even if you have a modest amount of time and space, it’s easy to grow an organic family garden. Here are some tips to help you get started.

What Is an Organic Garden?

An organic garden is a garden that is grown without the use of chemicals or pesticides. The organic gardener takes advantage of natural fertilizers and composting by using the decomposable material that might otherwise go to a landfill.

Most advocates of organic gardens say that not using chemicals or pesticides improves the taste of the vegetables and herbs and is also healthier. Organic vegetables have a high content of vitamins and natural minerals which have proven to be better for your overall health. Growing your own herbs and vegetables will save on your grocery bill, and if you store them right you can enjoy the bounty year round.

Space Is Not a Concern

Your family organic garden need not take up acres and acres of property. All you really need is a patch of soil and the determination to grow your own herbs and vegetables. In urban environments, some people’s gardens consist of nothing more than a few planters on a window ledge or patio. Your garden can be designed to feed your family for months or merely supplement their diet.

How to Plant an Organic Garden

Prior to starting an organic garden, do as much reading as you can on the subject. Ask friends and neighbors who are already experienced organic gardeners for tips. Most people who have been gardening organically will be more than happy to help you get started. Organic gardeners are like a fraternity--they believe in the practice and strongly advocate it.

You will also need to collect the seeds to be used. For a truly organic garden, you need to use organic seeds. This may sound silly, but there is a difference. Organic seeds come from plants that have been grown organically. They haven’t been genetically altered.

Many people use heirloom seeds and heirloom plants, because their seeds can be harvested and used in subsequent years. These are seeds and plants that haven’t been genetically altered and were not grown commercially.

Preparing the Soil

Soil preparation is also important in organic gardening. The better prepared your soil is before you plant the better your chances are of harvesting a good crop. Establishing a healthy root system is necessary for the organic plants to thrive, and nutrient rich soil is the key. The process of getting your soil ready to plant is relatively simple--but can take time.

It may be best to begin the process of preparing your soil a year before actually planting. Mixing compost and natural fertilizers will help draw out any leftover chemicals and revitalize the nutrients in the soil. You must also check the pH level with a soil testing kit, which can be purchased at most nurseries or hardware stores. The kit will come with instructions. If you’re unsure of how to test or how to interpret the results consult with someone you know who is more experienced than you are. Knowing how to prepare the soil is an art in and of itself. After you learn how to do it the benefits will be obvious when you harvest your first crop of vegetables or herbs. They will taste terrific.

Caring for Your Garden

After the garden is planted taking care of it becomes a necessity. Making sure it is properly watered and fertilized is a daily responsibility. Weeding should also be kept up. If weeds are left to go to seed, they can spread quickly. Since your garden is organic, you will want to avoid using chemicals and stick to weeding by hand.

Guest post from Bailey Harris, who writes about car insurance quotes for

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