The feeling of being self-sufficient, of picking and eating your own crops and rewarding yourself for your hard work throughout the year, is comparable to no other. An organic vegetable garden is a great way to eat healthy while being environmentally responsible.
Your organic vegetable garden should ideally be planted within a contained, sunny area and to keep yourself motivated, why not draw up a task list and a crop rotation plan. It is best to plant root vegetables, such as onions, leeks, beetroots and carrots together. Brassicas such as cabbages, sprouts, broccoli, kale and spinach belong in the same bed. You could then make an area for salad crops, and one for plants that grow high and might need support, such as beans, peas, fennel and sweet corn. With all this in mind, here’s how to create an organic vegetable garden year-round.
The earth needs to be prepared for planting and spring is the best time for this. Raised beds are an excellent idea for helping you to fight pests, diseases and pernicious weeds. Soil should be dug over so it resembles a fine tilth. Ideally, very early on in spring, you might then incorporate some well-rotted horse manure or something similar to help fertilize the earth. If you haven’t done so already, consider organizing a garden shed, like a brightly colored EasyShed to store all your gardening tools and equipment.
Towards the middle of the season, many vegetable crops can be directly sown into the earth; examples of these include squash, beetroot, most salad leaf crops, pea plants, French, runner or broad beans, and a vast array of herbs including mint, oregano and dill. Seeds are growing at this time of year. Unfortunately, so are weeds, so look out for chickweed, bindweed and couch grass invading your garden.
In summer, most other vegetable crops can be planted out. These include the rest of your salad; the cucumbers, radishes, chillies and tomatoes. Some brassicas such as cabbage and broccoli also like to be directly planted in the earth at this time.
There are also a few maintenance tasks for your organic vegetable garden that you’ll need to think about at this time. Examine your crops for aphids, white fly and other garden pests. Planting in raised beds and pots will help control this, but you can take other measures such as including companion plants in your garden. Not only do these attract pests away from the food from your table, but they also add a splash of bright, hot color. Summer is the time for planting marigolds or sowing sunflower seeds, and you’ll be richly rewarded with their beauty.
During these dry and arid months, the soil might need enriching. If you’re growing organic, compost from your kitchen, such as tea leaves, egg shells, coffee grounds or vegetable waste – or even dried out seaweed! make fantastic alternatives to commercial products.
Autumn is time for tidying. You’ll need a small garden shed in order to store all your gardening tools, seeds and fertilizers. If your garden includes fruit trees, early on in the season you should thin them out. If your organic garden has a lawn, this is when you want to be aerating and scarifying it, by pricking with a fork and firmly raking it over to remove the thatch of dead grass. Watch out for and stay on top of broad leaved weeds. Now is also the time to plant strawberries, cauliflower, winter lettuce and spinach.
Time to put your garden to bed. Give fruit trees their final tidying for the year, and place leaf mulch on your veg beds and borders to give them added nutrients and insulation. Think of what seeds you might order for next year and consider using a creditable seed merchant such as this one, or visiting your local flower and plant nursery. Small yard? No problem. You can create an indoor garden without breaking the bank. Just check what supplies you can get from Growace.