How to Grow a Small Organic Garden outdoors or indoors in a small space, using bedding, planters, or even using hydroponics. The topic things every gardener needs to consider when creating a Small Organic Garden.
Organic growing is essential if you want to do the right thing for people and the planet. The basic principles of organic food production are simple. In organic growing, you avoid the use of harmful pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers. More than this, however, organic growing is about working with nature rather than fighting it. A small organic garden can take many different forms. It can be:
· A small container garden (on a balcony or patio, or even indoors).
· A vertical garden, growing leafy plants in pockets or on shelves up against a sunny wall.
· One or more raised beds or planters.
· A hydroponic or aquaponic scheme, in which you grow plants in water rather than soil.
· A small kitchen garden, with traditional rows, or more diverse and abundant planting.
· Or a low maintenance forest garden – with one or more fruit trees with layered perennial planting below.
Even in small spaces, you have a lot of choices when it comes to how exactly you grow.
However and wherever you choose to grow, there are certain very important things to bear in mind when gardening organically:
Top Tips for Organic Gardening
– Work from an understanding of the environment, and choose the right plants for the right places.
– Boost biodiversity in plant and animal life as much as possible. Protect and value wildlife, which will help you in your gardening endeavours.
– Protect and care for the soil in your garden. Healthy soil equals good gardens and healthy people.
– Think about water. Harvest rainwater wherever possible and use it wisely in your garden.
– Maintain fertility over time – make sure you return nutrients to the system.
To grow a small organic garden, you need to make sure you have the basics in place. Before you begin:
– Learn more about natural cycles, your own garden, and specific plants. The more you know before you begin, the more successful you can be in your gardening efforts. Growing organic vegetables, organic fruits, organic herbs, and organic flowers can be easier than you might think. And you can hone skills and develop knowledge over time. But taking some time to learn and grow yourself before you start growing plants can be a great idea.
– Get the basics in place. Before you make new growing areas or sow any seeds, think about water management. Consider setting up rainwater harvesting systems. And get a composting system in place.
– Choose a growing method from those mentioned above – thinking about the best solution for your own particular site and your own particular needs.
– Make a plan for your growing areas. Think about any containers you might need. If you will be creating raised beds or growing in the ground, it is a great idea to use ‘no dig’ gardening methods. In no-dig gardening, the goal is to disturb the soil ecosystem as little as possible. In a no-dig garden, organic matter mulches are laid over the soil surface to build healthy soil over time.
Creating New Growing Areas
In container gardens, choosing the right containers and the right growing medium is key. Make your own growing medium or buy a sustainable organic option. (Avoid peat-based media, which are not an eco-friendly choice.)
If you are creating raised beds or traditional vegetable plots, determine the best position for these beds (considering climate and microclimate – sunlight, wind, and water – and the needs of plants you want to grow).
‘Lasagna beds’ are one great solution for no-dig gardening. Making a lasagna garden means layering ‘brown’ (carbon rich) and ‘green’ (nitrogen rich) organic materials to compost in place. These layers are covered with a thin layer of compost/soil into which you can plant.
In a forest garden, you will begin by planting one or more fruit trees (or other useful trees). You will then establish guilds of beneficial plants. Mostly perennial plants will be placed around the trees to form low maintenance ecosystems that mimic a natural woodland or forest ecosystem, but provide us with the edible and other useful yields we need.
Choosing Seeds and Plants and Planting
When choosing seeds and plants for any organic garden, choose them for your particular garden. And think about what you and your household actually like to eat. If you choose the right plants for the right places, your chances of success are always going to be much higher.
Think, also, about how to combine different plants for the best results. Choosing beneficial combinations is called ‘companion planting’. It can help with environmental conditions, fertility, pollination, and pest control in an organic garden.
There is a lot to learn about organic gardening. But it is easy to get started on the right track. Take the plunge and you will grow a small organic garden successfully, one seed at a time.
Elizabeth Waddington is a permaculture designer, sustainability consultant, and writer, working to encourage organic gardening and promote sustainable change around the world.
If you would like to include a link to my business website – www.ewspconsultancy.com – that would be great.