How to Start Your Own Organic Garden

So, you want to try your hand at organic gardening and not quite sure on how to get started?  Follow these rules:

#1 Keep it Simple (so you won't overwhelm yourself)

#2 Make it Fun (so you will want to keep it going)

#3 Keep it Affordable

 

Whether you live in a suburb or an apartment with a small balcony it's still possible to grow something. Maybe start with some lettuce, a tomato plant or two and some peas, beans and a few other salad favorites depending on the space available.  Some tools you might want to have on hand to start your project: good gloves, hand trowel, hand rake, shovel, hoe, soaker hose, saw, hammer and nails.

 

Getting Soil and Prepping It

Container gardening works well and is quite manageable for city dwellers. Find a couple of pots or boxes and purchase a package of organic soil, some peat moss and some chicken manure.  Mix these up in a pot in portions of two parts soil to one part each of the other two.  Distribute amongst your pots and you are ready to plant following package directions. 

 

For tomatoes and climbing plants such as peas, beans or tomatoes you will need to have your planters somewhere that you can support a trellis to help support the stems as they grow and to bear the weight of the fruit.  Remember to keep your seeds moist so they will germinate. I like the trick of covering the dirt with a clear plastic bag for a few days till I start to see the little sprouts emerging and then remove this and the rest should pop up in a day or two. When your plants are about 6in.tall get some liquid fish emulsion (sold at any local hardware store) and dilute into your watering can and feed this every 2 weeks till harvest.

 

Raised Beds

If you are fortunate enough to have some space in your backyard that can be devoted to a permanent garden, then I would suggest building some raised beds for easy maintenance. It's a little more work and cost to get started, but you will appreciate your effort later on. I would pick up some decent recycled 2X6 or2X8's in 8-12ft lengths which are often available at construction sites in your area. If not, buy some untreated redwood or cedar (as these will last longer) than pine or fur, but if you can't afford this, the others will work just fine.  Cut one of the 8 ft boards in half  and nail these to the ends of the longer boards to create a box approximately 4ft x 8-12ft, or whatever lengths will fit in your space.  Set them down at the location and mark this area so you can remove the grass and root system.

 

Getting Soil for your Larger Bed

Then borrow a pick-up and pay a visit to your local gardening center that will sells dirt by the yard and buy a half yard or so and see if they will mix in peat and manure (some stores sell premixed combos) otherwise you will have to pick up a couple bags and mix in as you fill the beds. 

 

Planting and Watering

Once you get your seeds in you can lay a soaker hose down and water it in real well.  You may want to water with a fine spray to keep everything moist till they germinate. It's best to water early in the day or later after the sun is lower so you get a deeper soaking and the plants can absorb the water throughout the night. Use the same technique with the fish emulsion as described above and remember to keep the weeds at bay. Then sit back in your lawn chair and watch your garden grow and enjoy the fruits of your labor.  You can always pick up a book on companion planting at your local library to read while watching your garden grow.  Good Luck!!

 

How Big of a Garden do I need?

Starting as described above you may find that production is just right or too small, so as time and space allows you can add more beds and expand your variety of plants.  Remember to allow sufficient room for plants that like to creep, like squash and melons.

 

You're better off to start small, plant what you want and then expand a bit every year until you got the yield you wanted.  There are many factors that affect the size and yield of your garden, but some would say that a garden measuring 10ft x 50ft is large enough for one person’s needs for a year.  A good quote is “grow into your garden, don’t jump in.”  So starting with pots or a small planter is easy, followed by moving up to modest sized beds of 4ft x 8ft works best for most people.

 

With a big garden you can grow enough to put up for the winter as well as have lots of variety.  Every year will be slightly different depending on what you plant.  Always remember to rotate crops and never plant the same thing in the same bed twice in a row, except for berries, which are permanent and come up every year. 

 

Composting

Fence off a little corner in the garden where you can throw all your plant debris (no weeds, meat or dairy scraps, they go OUT!!) so they can compost under black plastic, then turn them and water them occasionally and when they break down you put this into the beds in Fall to further break down over winter to replenish the soil.  Add more manure in spring before you plant again.

 

Consider the Source

Just realize that if you get your manure or mulch from local sources you need to know if they feed the animals hormones, antibiotics or Genetically Modified/Engineered Organism (GMO or GEO respectively) feeds.  Also, beware if pesticides are used because these have an afterlife (breakdown VERY slowly) and can be picked up into the plants and then you will be consuming them too.  Even when wild birds eat the GMO seeds from the crops and then poop them out they are “still live” and these seeds will sprout and cross pollinate with natural plants.  Modern technology has helped us in many ways, but in other ways it has created a real nightmare scenario with our sources of food.  This is done in the oceans as well with the farm fishing industry and gene alterations they are performing.  The days when we could trust food as simply being good for us are long gone.

59in Long Handle

  • Easily converts implements above into full-handle length garden tools.

  • Fits onto all Multi-Star tool heads with one click.

  • Made from high-quality aluminum for added strength.

  • Great for hand tools used in a pushing mode.

  • 1-year warranty

$19.75 Plus tax, S&H

14in Short Handle


The WOLF-Garten 14-inch multi-star heavy duty short handle converts all your tools into hand tools by slipping over all Multi-Star tool heads and light tools.

The comfortable vinyl hand grip means your hands won't be worn out after a day's work in the garden.

This handle is backed by a lifetime warranty.

$8.25 Plus tax, S&H

Soil Crumbler

  • This popular Soil Crumbler,  a powerful push-pull dual action garden tool, easily breaks up soil to a fine tilth for optimal preparation for planting seeds.

  • Very good at mixing peat and fertilizers into soil, while the rear pendulum blade keeps tool at a constant depth.

  • This dual function tool uses the strong WOLF Multi-Star snap-lock handle connection and simply requires one of the WOLF-Garten handles.

$44.75 Plus tax, S&H

Rake
  • This bow rake has a high quality 13.8-inch steel head, with wide curved teeth which can be pulled through soil or gravel smoothly and easily.

  • Designed for ease of use, the flat top design allows for leveling seed beds or gravel, while the bow shape adds strength and stability.

  • The WOLF-Garten bow rake with Multi-Star snap-lock handle connection, allows gardener's to quickly change handles in one-click, and eliminates the need for having a garage full of unsightly, and space consuming long-handled tools.

$29.25 Plus tax, S&H

Short Handle

Cultivator

  • This WOLF-Garten classic soil cultivator is designed to break up soil between plants in beds and borders with help from its sharp pointed tines.

  • Made of hardened cold-rolled steel, the cultivator cuts through hard and stony ground with ease, and can be used with the short or long handle.

  • Its unique arrowhead prongs loosen and lift soil, working three times faster than a common hoe.

  • Other features include a strong WOLF Multi-Star snap-lock handle connection that fits any of the WOLF-Garten handles, and the tool is rust proof.

$15.75 Plus tax, S&H

Handle
Soil Crumbler
Rake
Cultivator

Combination Gardening Tool

The following items are the basic tools you'll need for tending your new Organic Garden.  Each implement (Cultvator, Rake, Soil Crumbler) can be used interchangeably with either the Short or Long Handle with the simple click of a button.
Copyright © 2009 Tabiko.  All Rights Reserved. Last modified: 03/03/10
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Tabiko

Organic Gardens

Title Art

High Quality Shovel

46" fiberglass handle is exceptionally durable and lightweight,
-stronger than wood and resists weathering or splintering

Steel collar for maximum strength.

Rugged, 16-gauge tempered steel blade.

10 Year Warranty

$22.75 Plus tax, S&H
Shovel
Nothing like a good book to help you understand what you need to do!

A committed organic gardener, Smith is a proponent of staggered planting in raised, wide and deep beds that provide conductive root systems and produce abundant harvests.  An abundance of photographs (most of Smith's own garden) visually bolster the techniques described, while frequent subheads, sidebars and information-packed photo captions make the layout user-friendly. The book concludes with an alphabetically arranged listing of vegetables and herbs in which Smith offers advice on every aspect of cultivation, as well as a selection of the most flavorful varieties.  An essential read for anyone starting an organic garden.  (320 pages)

$21.00 Plus tax, S&H
Gardening Book

Garden Tool Set

This Professional-Grade kit is the perfect set for your garden.
Included in the set are:
-Cultivator, Narrow Weeder, Trowel,
-Planter, Dibble, Fork,
-two rustproof aluminum/brass Spray Nozzles (2-way shower/mister and 3-way adjustable spray nozzle),
-6-piece Hose Connector set with a Y connector,
-Bypass Pruner for general pruning,
-Anvil Pruner for heavy-duty jobs,
-Adjustable Grass Shears with a unique rotating handle to edge borders and walkways at any angle.
Bonus, a Boot Brush is included to help keep the dirt in the garden and not in the house!  
Injected TPR Handles that are ergonomic and comfortable.
Molded Case for E-Z Storage

$125.95 Plus tax, S&H
Garden Tool Set

Gardening Tools

CERTIFIED Organically Grown Organic Seeds by Botanical Interests, means:

-soil tested for pesticide residue,

-strict soil amendment rules
(no heavy metals allowed),


-monitoring of general farming practices.
Brocoli Sprout Seeds

$6.50 Plus tax, S&H
Tomato

$2.50 Plus tax, S&H
Soybean

$4.00 Plus tax, S&H
Onion

$2.50 Plus tax, S&H
Corn

$3.25 Plus tax, S&H
Cauliflower

$2.25 Plus tax, S&H
Carrot

$3.75 Plus tax, S&H

Seeds

Selection of Organic Seeds to start your garden!
Spinach

$3.75 Plus tax, S&H