September 1, 2016

Six DIY Tips for finally Creating your Own effing Garden.

For me, few things are more rewarding than growing my own food.

When I work in my garden, I’m not just ensuring safe and organic produce for my family, I’m establishing a personal connection with nature, as well as living off of the land.

Between my working life and family time, I don’t find my organic garden to be a big burden or time consuming. I only do a little each day, yet I get to maintain that natural connection.

Every now and again I hear that growing an organic garden is difficult. But if we’ve never tried it, how can we know? Sure, it can seem daunting at first, but it quickly becomes an enjoyable experience in next to no time.

There’s a certain satisfaction from eating crops I know I’ve planted, nurtured and harvested myself. At such moments I say to myself organic gardening is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have. Even though it’s not completely effortless, it’s definitely worth our time and energy.

Here are some ways which can help make the most of our gardens right from the beginning.

Starting Small.

I believe organic gardens are just like any other project. If we start too big, it’s easy to panic and buckle under the pressure. I started out with a small area that I was more comfortable to work with, so I find it a good idea to use just one or two vegetable beds in the beginning. We can always build more over time and this allows us to learn our way around first.

After all, growing an organic garden is a joyful experience that doesn’t need to be rushed. Even a small patch of land offers sustainable solutions. We might not be self-reliant just yet, but we will be growing our confidence and experience as gardeners. I remember that going organic with just two beds already taught me a lot. Soon I got familiar with harvesting techniques, using organic waste and encouraging wildlife—my following points will provide more details on that.

Harvesting Time.

For me the one important secret to successful gardening is knowing when to harvest the plants. However difficult it might be at the beginning, if we’re regularly inspecting our crops, it’s easier to get an understanding of when plants are at their most ripe. I used to be impatient and took plants out way too early. It took me a while to harvest them at the right moment, even if it means getting back to the same patch for different plants over and over again. It’s better to take plants out individually, rather than do everything in batches for the sake of convenience. This way, plants come out of the soil with the optimum amount of nutrients and flavor. I’m positive the difference in taste and ripe flavor alone will make this worth the little extra effort!

After a few attempts, I finally learnt what the right harvesting time for a given plant is, and I actually did so trying to understand only a handful of crops at a time. Some options, like peppers, change color overtime and have obvious indicators that make them great starter-plants. Others, like potatoes and many other vegetables, are hidden and require a little more experience. In these cases, learning to understand the available signs, such as waiting for the top leaves to droop and die, is the best way to time a harvest. I found this to be another interesting part of the process, as we get to learn all about the small telltale details that nature provides.

Natural Materials.

For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of being organic is working with the natural resources I have available at my disposal. Soil is a prime example, of course, but why not try using rainwater as well? This is free of any chemicals and agents found in tap water and is the type of water plants use to thrive in the wild. This is easy enough to do when it rains, but this can also be stored in rainwater tanks or barrels for dry spells. With a simple hose or pump, this water can be dispersed when needed.

The Right Wildlife.

As much as I’m happy to make the most of the abundant resources nature has to offer, I find it beneficial to have quite a few little helpers! Ladybirds, for instance, keep various pests away, which would otherwise eat and consume plants in our gardens. Frogs and birds, likewise, will help with slugs and other plant-consuming pests.

Not only does this keep crops safe, it helps create a garden that feels more natural and alive. By encouraging local wildlife to thrive, there’s a much greater connection to nature. My children also love to watch animals in their natural environment.

Creating Mulch And Composts From Organic Waste.

When it comes to organic gardening, any biodegradable waste is a valuable resource. Grass cuttings, leaves and wood chips can all be used to make mulch, while grass, hay and other food waste always makes a useful compost. Not only does this ease up on our own waste, it also ensures our gardens are enriched by completely organic and safe fertilizers. Compost as is always a great way to control pH levels. For more acidic soil, we can add plenty of acidic waste—I find citrus fruit skins and leftovers are ideal to raise the pH level.

Store Spare Seeds.

During a harvest, it is notable that plants produce an abundance of seeds. There is more than enough to replant, even with expansion, and still have some seeds left over. This represents a great opportunity to develop a seed bank. Why are seed banks useful? Regardless of our experience in gardening, we can’t always predict a harsh winter or the spread of disease. If something goes wrong, I’m glad to have some organic seeds held in reserve.

Likewise, one of the biggest joys for me as a gardener is taking part in such a large, active community. Storing seeds doesn’t just offer me protection; it allows me to help others, whether it’s helping a fellow gardener in need or giving a friend a few seeds to start their own crops. I did it quite a few times and it was always a beautiful experience to spread some good fortune around!

Ultimately, growing an organic garden is one of the most rewarding experiences I know, but it’s not just about providing clean and safe food. Trust me, when we first get to feed our friends and family, telling them that everything came from the safe, toxin-free garden we’re taking care of ourselves, it is a very memorable experience. Organic gardens enable us to save money, live off of the land and get in touch with nature and other fellow gardeners.

Let’s enjoy the many benefits of growing our own produce. Happy organic gardening!


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Author: Tim Sparke

Image: Elephant Insta @ecofolks

Editor: Sara Kärpänen

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