Most people assume that organic gardening means avoiding synthetic fertilizer or chemical pesticides, but organic gardening is much more than that. Organic gardening is a philosophy of gardening that looks at a garden as part of a whole system and aims to support the health of the whole.
Organic gardening emphasizes the cultivation of an ecosystem that not only sustains but also nourishes plants, soil microbes, and beneficial insects.
Organic gardeners think of their plants as part of a natural system that starts with healthy soil, a good water supply, and a healthy ecosystem of insects and even animals. Organic gardens strive to work in harmony with nature, while at the same time replenishing and minimizing any nutrients consumed by the garden.
While store-bought, commercially grown vegetables are more abundant and have a near perfect appearance, the benefits or growing and consuming organic vegetables and fruits are numerous.
To start an organic garden in a greenhouse doesn't require a big space. There are many greenhouse sizes available, and the widespread lean-to greenhouses are small enough to fit in most city gardens and can be placed close to the kitchen.
A greenhouse provides several benefits to organic gardening:
If you are considering a greenhouse for growing organic produce, make sure you plan where the greenhouse will be placed, what type of produce you want to grow, and if you wish to do year-round gardening or not. These factors can affect the types of materials used.
Before choosing a greenhouse, consider the types of vegetables you want to grow. Conversely, before planting any vegetables, consider the temperatures and lighting that your greenhouse can provide.
Successful organic garden design starts by taking into consideration the needs of the plants.
Organic gardening starts with good soil. Purchase good organic soil for use in your greenhouse. This will ensure that the soil is free of harmful toxins and organisms that can be dangerous for your plants.
Compost is the most affordable part of your garden and probably the purest form of recycling. Start a compost bin and be careful only to add organic material. Remember that this compost will go onto your garden and thus into your produce, so keep out chemicals.
Depending on the needs of your plants you may need to add organic additives to the soil. Organic additives like manure or kelp, boost the health of the soil and act like fertilizers.
Remember that an organic garden is one that looks at the entire eco-system. Not all weeds are bad, and not all weeds need to be removed.
Consider that some weeds, like milkweeds, are highly attractive to beneficial insects. Some weeds such as dandelions are edible and could be added to your salad.
If you still want to get rid of weeds, you can use all the known weeding tips & tricks, as long as it doesn’t involve chemicals. Pull them, add a layer of mulch to the topsoil, add a layer of newspaper (avoid colored sections and glossy inserts as these inks contain chemicals) between layers of soil, etc.
One of the most effective herbicides for home organic gardening is soap. Using an organic soap, add a spoonful of soap in a gallon of water and spray the top and bottom of the leaves. Re-apply every week until pests are gone, continuing to spray every two weeks for a period. Also, think about applying the principles of “companion planting," like:
Attract the useful insects, like the pest devouring ladybugs, lacewings and hoverflies by planting flowering herbs like Dill, Rosemary or Lavender.
Once you have harvested your fruit and vegetables, take out older plants and put them in your compost bin. Removing them will help keep essential nutrients in the soil and discourage pests.
Organic gardening isn't hard, and it works. Keep in mind the basic principles of how the entire ecosystem operates so you can find simple, chemical-free solutions to create your garden.