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Gardening: How to grow organic food at home

Organic fruit and vegetables are better for your health, and the environment, than ones grown with petrochemical fertilisers and pesticides. Unfortunately they are very expensive to buy. If you have the space and enthusiasm, you can grow vegetables and fruit organically in your own garden.

Like all gardening, the hard work you put in at the beginning will pay off in better looking (and tasting) plants, and continuous results season after season.

Organic gardening is an aspect of all types of gardens, but especially of vegetables and herbs.


broccoli

Healthier produce from your garden

Organic gardens are not sprayed with harsh chemicals or poisons; instead use natural, biological ways of growing and protecting their crops. The old-fashioned ways everyone gardened before agricultural chemicals became cheap and easily available!

Growing organically also means growing healthy fruit and vegetables. For the best results, get seeds from licensed organic producers, rather than genetically modified seeds from the big agricultural firms.

The result will be fresh fruit and vegetable varieties, some of which have been grown for hundreds of years. You'll notice the difference in their taste, and the extra vitamins and micronutrients they contain.


Step One: Plan your garden

To garden organically you need to think ahead. Plan where you place your vegetable patch, what you dig into the soil, what beds you plant your vegetables in, what vegetables and herbs you grow together and what preventative and proactive measures you'll need take.

Think about making your organic garden water-efficient to get the maximum produce with the least water. Together with avoiding petro-chemicals, your organic garden will have the least negative impact on the environment.


Step two: Enrich with organic fertilisers

The difference between organic and chemical fertilisers is speed. Organic ones feed the soil through slow release, chemicals feed the plants quickly with an immediate injection.

The other difference is how fertilisers affect the life of the soil. Adding organic matter improves the soil, encourages earthworms and necessary soil bacteria, which give your plants a natural boost. Chemical fertilisers can kill earthworms and good bacteria.

Organic fertilisers include:

  1. Animal manures
    from chickens, horses, pigs, cows or sheep. These must be well aged, not fresh
  2. Mushroom compost
    also well aged or rotted
  3. Blood and bone
  4. Fish meal
    the marine equivalent of blood and bone
  5. Liquid fish fertilisers
  6. Liquid seaweed fertilisers
  7. Worm juice
    the liquid produced by a worm farm creating compost

Always remember when handling manures, soil or any organic matter to wear tough gloves, to protect you from bacteria getting into any cuts.


Step Three: plant your seeds or seedlings

Now you're ready to plant and start growing organically.

There is a wealth of information on the internet about organic gardening, including making compost, worm farming, preventing pests and diseases, crop rotation and where to buy seeds and seedlings.

Looking for help growing organic food in your garden? Compare professional gardening quotes here!


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