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Jun142018

Organic Gardening

The term ‘organic’ can be confusing. While many of us have seen organic produce in the supermarkets, do you know what it is that makes crops organic?

For food to be organic, the growing process must not use any synthetic chemicals, including pesticides or fertilisers, and production should be environmentally sustainable.

Feeling a little confused? You may well be! While this sounds complicated, organic gardening is probably easier than you think.

Organic Gardening: Grow Organic Vegetables

Eating organic vegetables can have many benefits for you and your family, such as reducing the amount of pesticides you consume. The problem is, buying organic can be so expensive! However, growing your own is a much cheaper alternative and means you have home-grown produce right on your doorstep.

Whether you have a large garden or a small backyard, you can grow organic fruit and veg on any scale. Here’s how you can improve your family’s diet and experience the joy of growing your own veg.

How to Start an Organic Vegetable Garden in Your Backyard

The first step to growing organically is allocating a spot for your vegetable garden. This should be an area that receives lots of sunlight, with little shade and which is sheltered from the wind. A warm, sunny and sheltered area provides the best environment for fruits and vegetables, helping to produce bigger crops.

Next, it’s time to prepare the soil. This is important because the better the condition of the soil, the better the crops it will produce. To do this, use a pH testing kit – This will analyse the nutrient levels and assess the health of the soil. You can then use this RHS guide to make your own compost and improve the condition of your vegetable patch.

How to Plant Organic Vegetables

Planting an organic garden requires a little more thought than a standard vegetable patch. This is because it must be carefully planned in order to make the most of nutrients, space and the number of crops produced.

One way to do this is by using the companion planting approach – This means choosing fruits and vegetables that are known to work well together, which boosts nutrients in the soil and results in better produce – like the pairings on this chart.

Also think about how you can make the most of this space by choosing plants that are harvested at different times of the year. This allows you to fully utilise your patch and provide your family with more delicious organic fruit and veg.

How to Maintain an Organic Vegetable Garden

To get lots of high quality fruits and vegetables, it’s important to maintain your organic garden. There are three ways to do this – watering, removing weeds, and using natural pesticides.

To get the best results, water your patch in the morning or early evening when there’s less sun to evaporate water. Avoid watering later at night when temperatures drop, as the soil will remain wet and increase the risk of disease.

When removing weeds in an organic garden, this must be done naturally, without the use of chemicals. The best way is to pull out the weeds by hand. While this can be time consuming, it keeps your patch in peak condition.

Lastly, you want to make sure your fruits and vegetables are not damaged by insects. There are several ways to do this, including using nets, natural pesticides like garlic spray, and encouraging predators, such as frogs, birds and spiders.

Choosing to grow organic can have lots of benefits for you and your family, such as helping the environment, better tasting vegetables, and reducing your food bill. So, use this organic gardening guide to get started and consider a polytunnel to help you produce fresh fruit and veg all year.

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Do you want to limit your impact on the environment and lead a self-sufficient lifestyle? Then growing your own vegetables is a great way to achieve these goals!

There are many ways to invest in self-sufficient living, from maintaining your own car to carrying out DIY, but by growing your own food you can enjoy time outdoors, get your family involved, and make delicious meals with ingredients straight from your garden.

Grow Your Own Vegetables

Did you know that growing your own veg could reduce your yearly food bill? According to research carried out by Which, green-fingered individuals could save up to £6.17 per kg. This means adopting a self-sufficient lifestyle could do more than help the environment.

Getting started can seem daunting and you may be filled with questions. How should you choose your patch? What equipment do you need? When should you start planting? Here’s what you need to know.

Plan Your Vegetable Patch

Before you can start planting, you need to select your growing patch. The area you pick will impact the success of your crops, so it’s important to choose wisely. This means selecting a place that gets a lot of sun to produce fruits and veggies that are bigger, sweeter and more resistant to disease.

For the perfect spot, choose a place that gets more than 8 hours of sunlight. This provides lots of fuel, helping plants to photosynthesise and producing crops in a shorter amount of time. For fruits that require a little shade, you can use a net to protect them from the sun.

Where possible, try to avoid areas that are shaded by trees and aim for a spot that’s sheltered from the wind, as this can damage produce and stunt their growth.

Improve Your Soil

The type of soil you have in your garden can affect how well your vegetables grow. However, there are things you can do to improve soil quality and give your plants a helping hand.

For example, if your garden has clay soil, this can be dense and cold. This means that it can be slow to increase in temperature, hampering growth. To solve this you can use pots, troughs or a raised bed. This provides a shallow depth and allows it to warm up quicker.

On the other hand, lighter, sandy soil warms up quickly, but it can lack in nutrients. A good compost can solve this issue, providing the nutrients that fruits and vegetables need. Just remember to regularly water, as light soil is more prone to drying out.

In addition to soil, you can create the ideal growing conditions by eliminating weeds. This is important because weeds compete for nutrients, which could leave your vegetables struggling.

Plant Your Vegetables

Now it’s the exciting part – you’re ready to plant your vegetables! But before you begin, consider the layout. This will help you get the most out of your patch and produce better fruits and veggies.

When planting, make sure to leave space between rows as overcrowding crops can result in competition and produce small vegetables. Or if you will be planting climbers, such as peas or beans, include canes and trellis to encourage growth.

Other fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes, must be seeded in a warmer environment. This means you may need to use propagators during the early stages, before they can be planted outside with the rest of your crops.

Finally, with a varied and often cold climate, self-sufficient living in the UK can be tough. Fortunately, you can invest in a polytunnel to provide a warmer environment and help you to grow your own all year long.

There’s no doubt that growing your own vegetables can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to provide home-grown produce for your family. Follow this advice, read this RHS planting guide, and if using a polytunnel take a look at our Fruit and Veg – Polytunnel Yearly Planner, to start your vegetable garden and join the self-sufficient living movement.

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