About 1Stop Organic Gardening
It was initially set up by Julie after moving from a city to the wonderful countryside. And this enabled her to enjoy the fresh invigorating country air, with clean rain water and no noisy neighbours or traffic. And that has got to sound good.
And this is where the idea behind growing organic gardening developed. The chance to grow and east fruit and vegetables free from chemicals, unnatural fertiliser and unneeded additives. The way nature intended.
Each season she rotated what shed planted in each area and also used companion planting to keep the insects confused. Every spring she mulched heavily which substantially helps keep down the weeds, reduces moisture evaporation and increases nutrients to the soil. All of these strategies(and more) help keep plants happy and healthy, which in turn, they do for you.
‘Hopefully, this will inspire you to get gardening the organic way. It is the only way to really know what is going on and into the food you are eating. I’m sure that many of the illnesses of our time are a direct result of the lack of freshness (vitamins and minerals) of store produce and the use of chemicals on our food. Nurture yourself and your family with real, living food as nature intended. I find immense satisfaction and pride knowing that I am producing healthy food for my little family….. it is truly worth the effort.’
By combining our expertise of over 40 years in the garden buildings industry with 1Stop Organic Gardening then we hope we can share our knowledge with you.
How do I get started?
Planning is the best way to achieve the results you want from your organic garden. You need to ask yourself a few questions to work out the needs of your family. You also have to decide what space you have to make available.
Some obvious questions come to mind:-
– Do I have an area that has full sun for most of the day?
– What is the closest source of water available to the area I want to create my organic garden?
– If you live in a windy area are you able to erect a wind-break to reduce prevailing winds?
– What kind of soil do I have? Although most soils will be suitable in the long term with the regular addition of organic matter.
– Find out what temperature zone you are living in – you will need to know this to determine the types of plants and when to plant. For example hot, temperate or cool areas.
– What are the food needs of my family? There’s no point growing pumpkins if no-one likes pumpkin! Make a list of what fruit and vegetables your family likes.
So, you’ve allocated a sunny area for your organic veggie garden beds. You’ve got water available. Do you know what temperature zone you are in?
It’s a good idea to measure up your area and decide if you want to create individual beds. I like my beds to be no wider than about 1.2metres. That way I can reach in from either side without having to stand on the bed. You want to avoid any compacting of the soil. The beds can be as long as you like. I like to have mine running lengthways in an East / West fashion to maximise sunlight.
If you’re going to have drip or trickle irrigation (preferred watering method), now is the time to do it – before you start planting. It’s pretty easy to install irrigation and you can even include a timer – especially handy for those of us with poor memories. I installed micro-spray irrigation in the two beds, but wouldn’t choose it again. It’s better to have water going directly to the roots where it’s needed. Watering too frequently encourages shallow root growth which leaves plants very sensitive to water shortages. Deeper, less frequent watering promotes deeper root growth.
You don’t need to have hardwood sleepers or any borders really. You could even have a border of herbs. But I use the sleepers as I’m always adding organic matter to the beds and I like it tidy.
When you’ve covered some of the basics, you’ll need to have the list of foods that your family enjoys ready. It’s a great idea to keep a garden journal. Over the seasons and years you will gather so much information on what works in your garden…. what doesn’t work. The best time to plant various things; when they mature; what varieties you have the most success with; what the weather was like that season. Your journal will “grow” into a gold mine of information relevant to your property and garden style. A great legacy for the young gardeners in your family.
For beginners I’d recommend starting out with seedlings. As you learn I’m sure you’ll want to raise your plants from seeds, then start saving your own seeds. But for now go with plants that have a head start. Some people feel a garden potting shed is a great tool when planning and growing seedlings and plants or maybe even a small wooden shed will help.
When your beds are ready, go to your local nursery and see what’s available. Most plants have information about planting requirements. If you’re not sure, get advice from the nursery staff.
Once you’re at home you want to get your new plants in the ground as soon as possible, especially in warm weather. Always water your seedlings about 30 minutes before planting. I always water the whole for each plant before it goes in the ground and straight after, so you need a hose nearby also. You have to keep the shock of transplanting to a minimum.
Adding blood and bone or another all round organic fertiliser is also beneficial at planting – not too close to those delicate roots though. Look through the fertilisers page to learn more about what to feed your plants.
I aim for a no-dig garden myself. Almost any soil will be improved and workable over time with the addition of enough organic matter. It will take time, but over the years you will create nutrient rich, living soil, perfect for the health of your plants and your family. In the mean time you have to work with what you have!
Congratulations on getting started.
Organic Gardening Resources – Weed Control
Finding methods to eliminate weeds without the use of herbicides is a challenge for many gardeners. These chemicals can, however, leach into the soil to be absorbed by your plants, including the ones that you eat. Herbicides can also sicken pets and wildlife. Here are some organic gardening resources that you can use to fight weeds organically:
Grow healthy gardens: As always, prevention is the best cure. This means providing the best conditions possible for plant growth. Healthy plants will compete and crowd out weeds better than weak ones. Weed development is encouraged by improper watering, compacted soil, insects and disease. Fortunately, these conditions are all within your control and can usually be prevented by mulching.
Pull and Compost: Weeds with shallow root systems are easy to pull up, but some weeds thrive in the compost heap. One strategy is to place weeds in plastic bags, fill with water and leave for a couple of months. The water will fill with nutrients and make a good natural fertiliser for the garden, and the weeds will compost better. Your compost heap can be tucked away whilst it’s doing its work and behind your garden workshop is an ideal place. Or anywhere where nature can do its good work for you.
Burn: Weeds not in close proximity to other plants can be killed with boiling water. A flamer can also be used, but as with boiling water, you must be very careful not to damage other plants.
Mulch: When choosing mulch consider the soil and plant type for optimum health of the plants. A layer of straw, shredded leaves, grass clippings or other organic mulch will smother small weeds.
Till: Turn over the soil before spring planting and allow the new weeds to sprout up. Then you can remove them using a shovel or hoe before they are well established and you have plants to work around.
Solarization: A year before planting a garden plot, cover the soil with plastic; this will induce temperatures high enough to kill the weeds and the weed seeds beneath the soil. Then remove the plastic and till or rake.
Go Native: When landscaping, choose native plants because these are best suited to the local climate. Healthy plants are much better at fighting weeds. As well as competing better, healthy plants produce lush foliage, which in turn creates shade, making it harder for weeds to germinate.
Hoe and pull up weeds depending on what you want to accomplish: when you pull up a weed, you may also bring other weed seeds up to germinate, and when you hoe, the weed’s root system may survive.
Use newspapers: Nearly all newspaper ink is soy-based so it is fine to place a layer of newspaper about 1/4 to 1 inch thick over the plot. Sprinkle with water as you go along so it won’t blow away. Cover with straw (or in beds, bark). The newspaper and straw can all be tilled into the soil after you harvest your garden.
Make use of a live mulch: Fill in spaces between your plants with a fast-growing, low-growing variety. Since you are likely to be walking in this area, choose a hardy one. Thyme is a popular choice because of the fragrance emitted when stepped upon and the subtle flavour it lends to vegetables. Plus it is an effective pest control.
Use drip irrigation: This watering method prevents the wasteful watering that often leads to weed growth in unplanted areas, such as pathways.
Plant a cover crop in the autumn: This will crowd out weeds and significantly cut down on weeds in your spring garden, not to mention prevent soil erosion. If you choose a cover crop that is a member of the legume family, such as rye, clover or fava beans, then when you till it under in the spring, it will also add nitrogen to the soil.
These are just a few weed control organic gardening resources you might consider using in your garden.
Organic Garden Pest Control – Stop Pests The Organic Way
Modern technology has allowed many of us to receive benefits that primitive societies did not have. Unfortunately, in the area of organic gardening, pest control has lost its way in our technologically advanced society. We have forgotten that pest control for our crops can be done in an organic way. The spreading of pesticides over our crops that lead to build ups within the aquifers that provide the crops water can become devastating over time. Here are a few tips on how to successfully create organic compost and maintain pest-control a natural way.
Finding the right way to take care of pests that will attack and destroy all of your hard work is a very challenging task. One problem actually comes from yourself as you try to stay away from the inorganic pesticides that could harm your aquifers and plants that you are growing alike.
Most alternatives present the easy side of life and allow you to quickly spray and be done with your pest control. However, this is not the best way at all as most organic farmers know. This movement is growing with each and every day, a need to go away from things and alternatives that can lead to not only a poisoning of our planet, but also the poisoning of the very food that we will eat at the dinner table.
If you have ever wondered how the people of old used to do this, it was because they had more of a knowledge base with nature. Though simple, they were in tune with what worked and what did not. They had limited possibilities and this honed their skills for survival over the course of hundreds if not thousands of years.
Pesticides have often been thought of as the saviour for our ever-increasing human race. The ability to spray a substance over our crops that will stop natural invaders was a dream come true until science discovered how harmful these pesticides could be. By using organic garden pest control, a methodology that has been around for centuries, we can effectively grow crops and maintain pest control the natural way.
What is missing from modern thinking is that we have been taught that most bugs and pests that infiltrate our garden area are primarily harmful to the crops that we are growing. However, by using organic garden pest control techniques, we can still eliminate the pests and create a product that is better tasting and less toxic for everyone that eats it.
Taking this a step further, it is easy to forget that our planet was once a much greener place to live. Through the modern industrializing of our natural world, we have created a situation that may lead us to the brink of some kind of ecological disaster unless each of us decides to do our part and use our individual choices to become aware of what we use to keep our plants healthy and safe.
One of the best ways to control pests on a large or small scale is introducing bugs that eat certain bugs. One of the most well-known organic ways to control pests is with the ladybug. The ladybug preys upon other insects like aphids and will not damage the crops that it co-habitats with. Another wonderful insect to have in your crop area is the praying mantis. This insect feeds on the larger insects that can also severely damage your organic crops.
If you have a family and you are wanting to grow organic food because you see it as more healthy, using these techniques to protect the crops that you grow is not only better for the environment but better for your family as they will be the ones primarily ingesting this food. Likewise, if you are growing an organic garden with the purpose of marketing what you grow, you will feel better knowing that the crops that you are providing the public are free from chemical and toxic residues.
Take a few moments every day to realise that your world is one that can be taken away in a heartbeat. You may have a delightful log cabin in your garden made from responsibly sourced timber but with over 6 billion people on the planet, it is easy to understand how our individual choices, like a collective hive, and make or break this world and our food supply for our children. All we need is the knowledge to do this, and we can begin, if you use common sense, to make better choices with the food we grow each day.
Whether you are growing an organic garden that is only a few feet wide or the size of your backyard, using organic garden pest control techniques will allow you to grow healthy foods at the same time as you protect the area in which you live. By focusing upon health conscious solutions, you will be providing the best possible food for your family and anyone else that will benefit from your organic gardening.
Organic plant foods are they feasible?
This is more so for individuals who enjoy horticulture as a conscious thought. This is not something, which most individuals take up, so you should think of yourself to be lucky one, if you are able to produce things and add to nature. Organic horticulture has various aspects to it, which you must be familiar with, for example, what type of land you have, what you want to grow on them, and how you might tend for the plants.
All this might seem puzzling to a beginner but if you are an experienced hand, then these aspects are already well-known to you and you could comfortably start the organic way to grow things. First of all, this method of horticulture is different from the regular means of horticulture as the effort needed could be virtually double.
The fundamental rule of organic horticulture is that synthetic tools are used only when it is necessary and not otherwise. This will include the essential components such as the fertilisers and the pesticides. Procure all that you need for your horticulture from the earth and then use them for your efforts. This would enable you to produce anything you wish, like plants, veggies or any other green you wish. Do you get the picture? To look at it from a bird’s eye view, it is like working closely with nature or as others might say, this is like being one with nature.
If you are questioning if this is at all feasible, it is, and you are there to make it. You can actually perform composting on the materials found on your garden. Things that you would require are fallen leaves and twigs and animal muck but it would count of the type used and other elements.
It is not recommended to use synthetic pesticides in organic gardening. But if you can’t afford to pick the worms and other insects one by one by your bare hands, then you can go to your local grocery store and ask for an organic pesticide that is available commercially. The conventional way is to keep a vigil on your garden and as soon as some insects are located, kill them. Go for organic pesticide, when things tend to go out of hand and it is no longer manageable. You can also try to bring in the animals that eat those pests. This way, you’ll have some help in picking those pests up and this also helps the other animals satisfy their hunger.
As is evident, all these things take up a lot of time and unless you can devote as much time to this pursuit, or find someone who can partner the obligations, it is wise to drop the idea altogether until such times that you are more organised with manpower and time. Organic horticulture is a laborious process so you have to be prepared to face the hardship. To ease your tiredness when you are already into it too deep, just think that what you are doing is serving nature. This is your way of giving back what nature has bestowed on you since the day you were born.
This method of working can seen to be at odds with having a garden office but providing natural resources are used in the office and are sourced environmentally the office can be a good thing. For one thing it saves on polluting travel as well as allowing you to work better in a more relaxed atmosphere. It would also give you more time to spend gardening organically so maybe a ‘win win’ anyway.
Organic Gardening Supplies: How To Find The Right Suppliers
A good source of organic garden supplies is vital if you want to protect your garden from pests and disease. Whether you are working on flower borders, a vegetable patch, or a rock garden, you will want somewhere that you can go and be sure of finding the products that you need in an organic form.
You may be lucky and have a nearby garden supplies store that stocks many organic products. If you need something such as organic pesticides, you could call around all your local garden stores to see which of them have what you are looking for. You may find one that has several choices, and that is the best place to go. If they stock different brands that are all organic they are likely to be specialists.
If you find a great store like that, take a good look around when you arrive. They may have many organic garden products that you have not encountered before, that could be useful either now or in the future. If there is a question on your mind about your garden right now, try talking to the store owner or staff about it. You will be able to assess whether they are very knowledgeable about organic gardening. If they are, you have truly found a great resource.
Most people, however, will not be so fortunate. Many towns and even cities do not have a wide choice of organic gardening supplies. When you ask in the regular garden supply stores you may just find one or two packs of an old product pushed into a corner. You could have to travel around many different locations to find all that you need, and this is a big waste of time and petrol. In this situation it is better to go online.
Online shopping these days is very quick, reliable and safe. There is no reason not to order your supplies online if you cannot find what you want close to your home. With a few minutes searching on the internet you can find a supplier who will have all that you need.
Bookmark the site so that you can find it again whenever you want it. Then you can fill up your online shopping cart on their website and submit your order in just a few minutes. Within days, the delivery truck will arrive with all that you have bought as a gift to your beautiful garden.
You can still use this method even if you do not have good internet access at home and do not want to use your credit card on a public computer. Just go the public library, internet cafe or another place where you can get online. Search for a couple of good suppliers and ask them to send you catalogs. You can either email them right from their website, or write down their phone number and call them when you are home. Some suppliers may even have a form on their website where you just enter your name and address to receive a free catalog.
When the catalogs arrive you can have a lot of fun browsing through them with a cup of coffee in your summer house in the garden, planning out all that you can do with their products in your garden. Then go ahead and order whatever organic gardening supplies you want by phone, just as you would do with any mail order company. By doing so you know your garden will be producing the best natural produce for you.