People relate Organic Farming or Organic Gardening as simply growing foods without synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. But in reality, Organic Gardening has a lot more to it than the absence of man-made chemicals. It is supposed to secure the health of the consumer and the society in a larger picture by farming with natural resources.
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How do Organic Foods differ from Conventional Foods?
While a traditional farmer will use Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides to save the crop, an eco-friendly or organic farmer will nourish the soil with organic manure and fertilizers, and not use chemicals. To prevent weed growth among the crops, a traditional farmer will make use of chemical herbicides whereas an organic gardener/farmer will make use of hand weeding methods, tillage, and crop rotation.
For instance, to protect the crops against pests and ants, you can make your ant control fix; the procedure is listed below:
- Make a paste using a tiny portion of honey or any other sort of sugar
- Combine it with boric acid
- Cut a few small cardboard squares and apply the paste on them
- Put these cardboard squares on the ant trail
The ants will gulp it down and take the leftovers back to the anthill with them. Boric acid works well to repel cockroaches as well.
For a home-made fix like a garden:
- Spray to repel pests
- Make a paste of mashed garlic
- Combine it with a dash of horseradish or cayenne pepper
- Add a small portion of this paste to a jug of water and let it rest for a day or two, mixing it at frequent intervals
- To make sure that this paste isn’t strong enough burn the crops, spray a tiny amount onto only a few leaves first
Another home remedy is Need Oil, when used on garden plants acts as a repulsive force against all kinds of ants, molds, and even fungi.
For every toxic solution, an organic farmer will have a non-toxic method of growing organic foods.
Organic foods are often looked upon as expensive. Sure, they are a little out of your budget, but its merits will take you and your family’s health on an onwards stride. Plus, with some guidance, you can grow your organic foods and vegetables in your backyard and save up on that grocery list. Yes, your backyard is good enough not only for poultry but also for full-fledged organic farming of fruits and vegetables.
This is how…
Check the Soil
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Before you start farming, invest a couple of days in checking whether the soil in your backyard is compatible with our farming needs. You need to check if the soil is safe for cultivation for food or not. If the soil in your garden isn’t high quality or compost, you can get some organic soil in the market for farming purposes.
Check for lead contamination in the soil, as also for flakes of paint or other residues from when your house was being renovated. In normal living conditions, your soil can contain anything from leaded gasoline to motor oil. You must have that checked and fixed before you start farming.
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To start farming, you obviously need seeds. What’s different about seeds in Organic Farming is that it is a one-time investment- you can sow the seeds from your newly grown crops next time. The market has a variety of seeds from 100% organic to GMO-free seed packs.
You need to estimate how many people this organic output shall feed and for how long. You also need to plan what crops you are going to sow in your garden. Some easily grown foods are Tomatoes, Onions, Beetroot, Lettuce, Mint, Strawberries, Dwarf French Beans and Pea shoots.
Set Your Garden
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Whether you plan to be doing Organic Farming once or for a long time, you need to make sure your land for cultivation is ready. Whether you plan to do it in garden pots for different crops or on a raised bed is your choice- as per your convenience. To determine whether it is an apt place for growing crops or not can be decided by the sunlight received.
The prospective bed must get direct sunlight for at least 6 hours a day. For when it is pouring, the crop bed must have water reroute and a proper drain without, which the crops might get damaged.
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While seeds can be found in variety easily, seedlings can be easily planted in your garden bed. Each packet of seeds comes with its set of instructions. And if you’ve got loose seeds, you can always take assistance from your gardener or an expert of organic gardening.
While you always to want to plant more a tad bit more than you need, if you overdo it you’ll be welcoming pests and weed growth. When vegetable crops are planted in proximity, they can enrich the soil and share nutrients. Believe it or not, plants have an underground network of their own. Also, before you plant a specific vegetable crop, check with the weather that is preferably suitable for that crop.
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Depending on soil type and characteristics- such as pH level; the fertilizer amount that is given to any vegetable crop is decided. It is also determined by considering the previous history of cropping and nutrients intake by the vegetable. For instance, vegetables that are heavy feeding such as tomatoes can remove as much as 110lbs of nitrogen per acre annually.
To determine the level of nutrients within the soil, soil should be tested after every couple of years. Preferable fertilizers are made of vegetable matter (example- Manure), human excreta, and animal matter. Naturally made Organic Fertilizers include animal waste that is accumulated during meat processing, slurry, and guano.
Organic Disease Management
Vegetable crops are heavily damaged due to plant diseases in some cases. The symptoms of such plant diseases are wilts, leaf spots, stunts, lesions or rusts. The causal medium may be viruses, mycoplasmas, fungi or a stressful environment.
For instance, many vegetable crops will wilt not only from very little water but also from too much water in the root area. Prevention is the key to triumphant organic disease management.
Below are the strategies that can be utilized to prevent diseases or ailments on vegetable crops:
- Opt for disease-resistant varieties of crops. Yes, this is an option. Disease-resistant means that even if your crop catches a disease, it won’t be heavily affected.
- Inspect stems and roots while transplant. Make sure you’re transplanting only healthy crops. Healthy roots are light or white in color and show no visible signs of degradation or decay.
- Select the site for farming carefully. Make sure you select a high-rise bed for cultivation because low-level beds are humid and favorable for diseases. Raised beds increase soil aeration.
- Avoid planting them too close to huge trees or building because that will prohibit direct sunlight and air circulation to these precious plants.
- Plastic mulch and raised beds not only avoid weed growth but also reduce chances of plant diseases.
- Crop rotation is a steady agricultural practice. Constant cultivation of plants in the same bed allows for the buildup of disease organisms. For at least three years, vegetables that are of the same type should not be cultivated in the same area.
Weeds are unwanted plants that grow to compete with vegetable crops for sunlight, water, and nutrients. Weeds also intervene with harvesting and can give rise to plant diseases. Although completely uprooting weed plants are nearly impossible and unnecessary, many strategies in addition to hoeing or hand-weeding can be carried out to cut down weed growth.
Raw manure, under grown compost, straw or hay might contain weed seeds. Clean tillage or harvesting equipment post work to avoid contamination from fields beside the crop bed. Make sure that weed doesn’t develop seed heads.
Other strategies to avoid weeds growth are:
- Plant spacing
- Flame weeding
- Drip Irrigation
- Organic herbicides
Of course, you planned ahead and planted the vegetable crops accordingly. So if you have more produce that you want to survive through the season, you might want to freeze or can them. Also, it is always a preferable idea to consume the vegetables fresh and store them in proper conditions. If there is still surplus, you can share with your neighbors or extended family.
You also have an option of having them sold in an organic foods market. You can save up the seeds from your harvest for your next plantations. Once your plants have been pulled out of the garden bed, have the soil manured thus preparing the garden for winter. When spring begins, a little raking will help the soil mix further, and you’ll be ready to continue with organic gardening.
You may also enjoy our latest information on indoor gardening. With Organic Farming, you can have the satisfaction of knowing what exactly goes into your food and your body. You are ensured of not being fed a spoonful of chemicals. And with passing time, you shall see the benefits of organic foods and this habit shall inculcate in your lifestyle. Thus, securing your health and saving up on those big bucks.