More farmers are getting into organic vegetable gardening because it is cost effective and they are able to produce almost the same yield of crops. You to can do this at home but first, you have to understand the principles of organic vegetable gardening.
First, organic vegetable gardening does not use any fertilizers, nutrients or pesticides. Nature is your partner here because you will be using two things to make it all work namely sunlight and water. We don’t produce these ourselves but you have to find the ideal area and provide adequate drainage.
Principles Of Organic Gardening
Aside from sunlight and water, you can help the crops grow by using compost heap from leftover food, chipped bark, garden compost, leaf moulds and manure. You can mix these all together and then spread this throughout your garden.
A lot of people are grossed about by manure. You don’t have to scoop this from the toilet because this is sold in stores. If you have a dog, put on some gloves and put it there. Chickens are also great to have. Just let them roam around in the garden.
Some people use dead animals or meat products. You don’t put these in the soil but leave it for a couple of weeks in the bin because maggots will soon appear and this is what you use to help fertilize your garden.
Another helpful creature is the earthworm because it digs deep into the ground and aerates the soil bringing various minerals to the surface which also provides better drainage. This long pink colored creature also leaves casting behind that experts say is five times as rich in nitrogen phosphorous and potassium. Again, this can be purchased from the gardening store.
Organic garden is challenging since you have to deal with unwanted guests. Some of these pests include armyworms, crickets, gypsy moth caterpillars, slugs and squash bugs. Before, people used fertilizer to kill them but in an organic setting, the best weapon is the toad that is known to eat more almost every type of insect. If you have caterpillars or spiders lurking in the garden, get a bird because this is not in the toad’s diet.
In some cases, you don’t have to buy a toad or a bird from the pet store. They may come in to your home as long as you set the ideal environment for them. You can put up a bird house or a small pond. Within days, you will have some new occupants protecting your garden.
Other insect killers which you can get to do the job include the preying mantis and the ladybug because they mark their territory and eat anything that dares enter their domain.
Plants can also be used to protect your vegetables. For example, the rosemary, sage or thyme is an effective deterrent against butterflies. Marigolds on the other hand are effective against nematodes.
But despite all the flowers and creatures that nature has to offer, crop rotation is seen as the best way to keep the soil fertile. If you planted this kind of vegetable for this season, change it with another and the return to the first after this one is harvested.
The principles behind organic gardening are very simple. You just have to be practice it so you can harvest the vegetables you have planted weeks ago.
Children love playhouses and creating one in the garden is fun and easy and the children will enjoy helping you create it. Your children will spend many happy summers playing in one of these and it will become one of their fondest childhood memories.
What You’ll Need
A nice sized section of garden area. Make sure there’s room enough for the kids to play inside.
Sunflower Seeds (various types, we like very tall ones and then smaller ones)
Various herbs (we like chamomile, lavender, mint, basil, oregano, marigolds and other similar herbs)
Decide On A Shape
Decide what shape you want your garden playhouse to be. You may wish to draw it out with string prior to planting your seeds.
Planting Your Playhouse
Plant your giant sunflower seeds as the outer “walls” of your playhouse. Space them far enough apart that children can go in between them, but close enough together that they make it appear like a secret garden.
Plant snow peas near the tallest sunflowers. They will grow and wind up the tall sunflowers. Children will enjoy nibbling on these while they’re playing so be sure to show them how delicious they are.
Intersperse the herbs throughout the sunflowers and plant smaller sunflowers in between as well. You want it to appear as if there is a quaint little garden fence along the outer “walls” of your playhouse so be creative and make the herbs appear to be a fence line or add pops of color here and there.
Plant the carrots along the inside “wall” of the tallest sunflowers. These make great snacks for hungry children while they’re in the playhouse.
Help your children water their playhouse every day. Talk to them about how some plants grow faster than other plants. Talk about how some plants have edible seeds (sunflowers) and some have edible roots (carrots) while some have edible flowers and delicious leaves.
Furnishing Your Playhouse
Depending upon the age of your children, you may wish to put some lawn furniture inside the playhouse area. We have a hammock we like in ours.
You could make the inside like a sand castle as well and have a sand bucket or some “earth moving” tools like toy dump trucks etc. Get creative and make this playhouse as personal as you can for your children.
Winding Down The Season
As the season winds down and the sunflowers begin to tip over teach your children about how to dry sunflowers. Remove the heads of the flowers and air dry your seeds. Then toast them with some sea salt and enjoy eating them.
Uproot the remainder of the sunflower stalks and put them in a compost pile. Save the herbs and dry them for eating with dinner in the winter months. Remind the children how the herbs grew in their own playhouse.
Oregano, lavender, chamomile and marigolds will come back year after year so there is no need to remove these. Basil will need to be replanted each year.
Enjoy playing in the playhouse.
Gardening is one of the oldest pastimes in the world. The healing nature of growing plants was recognized in ancient times. From the Hanging Gardens of Babylon to the cultivated plots among date palms in the parched desert, ancient people have been enjoying the literal fruits of their labors in gardens for thousands of years.
Today, gardening provides beauty and the opportunity to both profit from from fruits and vegetables and the prospect of enjoying the calm surroundings that are part of modern gardens. The joy of caring for growing plants is one of the simple pleasures of modern life.
Backyard Garden A Simple Pleasures
For those who wish to enjoy fresh fruit and vegetables the size of the area that is available for cultivation should be no barrier to putting food on the table. Even a window ledge can provide enough sunlight to grow herbs that will increase the enjoyment of any meal.
Aside from saving money and growing your own vegetables for the table, you can also use he vegetables you grow to provide the basis for nutritious and delicious energy drinks. Simply blend a mixture of root vegetables such as carrots and mix with other organically grown produce such as melon or even cucumber and you have the basic ingredients for a healthy and refreshing vegetable based power drink.
If you have access to a back or front yard with some space you can also plant fast growing fruit trees such as apple, which provide not only delicious juices, but also the raw ingredients for fruit salads or even a snack straight off the branch.
If you make the decision to start cultivating your own fruit and vegetables a bit of research can prevent a lot of heartache. Visit your local garden center and obtain the advice of an expert on which fruit or vegetable types are best suited for the climate in your area. You may have to change over to hardier varieties if your winters are particularly harsh or your summers blazing hot.
The advice that you receive will also help you cope with the almost inevitable insect infestations that can plague the gardens of even the most careful gardener. These experts will let you in on some secrets about the natural insect repellents that you can use to keep your fruit free from chemicals and preserve their natural flavors.
For those gardeners who want to simply enjoy the beauty of flowering plants or shrubs there is an almost limitless choice. However, make sure that the ornamental plants that you will be cultivating are suitable for your lifestyle. If you have young children or pets that spend time in the garden make sure that the plants you are growing are not toxic or harmful in other ways. Plants such as thorny bushes or cacti should also be avoided.
Planting and caring for your garden, no matter the size is one of the most rewarding hobbies for those who love nature. A bonus is that the pastime can be enjoyed by the whole family. Good wholesome fun in the open air, away from the distractions of video games or the stresses of modern life.
Walking through the garden center of your local store, it is easy to get caught up in all the beautiful colors and textures of the plants. With so many choices available, you might fall into the trap of buying plants on impulse. Instead of thinking about how they fit into your garden design, you start filling your cart with any plants that catch your eye. Then, when you get them home you realize that there is no place in your garden that is well-suited to the types, sizes or styles of plants that you bought.
To avoid this problem, it is best to be prepared before you head to the nursery. Instead of just winging it, you should take the time to consider the growing conditions in your yard. Is your soil densely-packed or filled with sand? Do you have a lot of shade, or does your yard get sun most of the day? Pay attention for several days, taking notes about soil type, sun exposure and moisture levels for each of the areas you plan to plant.
If you really want your garden to flourish, you should also consider testing your soil. Most county extension offices offer soil testing for a small fee. Understanding the overall pH of your soil can help you determine which types of plants are best. Keep in mind that it is possible to alter the pH of the soil by adding certain amendments. However, it is almost always smarter to choose plants that grow well in the soil you already have.
When you go to the garden center or nursery, take your notes with you. Instead of picking and choosing flowers solely based on color and appearance, pay attention to which types of plants will thrive in your unique growing conditions. After all, there is no point in buying a beautiful plant only to have it die once you plant it because it can’t tolerate the conditions in your yard.
Once you get your plants home, it is time to arrange them. Before you start digging and placing them in the soil, it is a good idea to play around with different arrangements. With the plants still in their pots, experiment with different planting arrangements. Try grouping several plants in small clusters, or spreading them out in even rows. Pay special attention to the height of each plant when it reaches full maturity. Taller plants should go in the back of your flower beds, while shorter plants should go up front. Once you have an arrangement you like, you can go ahead and put the plants in the ground.
Taking the time to understand the growing conditions throughout your yard and garden can help you choose plants that will flourish. Rather than wasting money on flowers that are poorly suited to your location, you can focus on buying plants that are guaranteed to thrive. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can have a show-stopping garden that will add beauty and depth to the outside of your home.