Growing Organic Vegetables

This is what summer is all about, the taste of a tomato fresh from the garden.  The full flavor and juicy goodness of a home grown tomato is wonderful and it is so rewarding when you grow the produce yourself! More and more people are planting gardens and growing their own produce. As the trend turns toward gardening, the interest in organic gardening is increasing.

So how do you grow an organic tomato – or any type of organic plant? Well, first of all you need to understand what it means to be organic. An organic vegetable is one that is free from chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides. These chemicals have traditionally been used by farmers and gardeners to help keep the plants free from insects and disease.  However, research has shown that many of these chemicals linger in the food and are ingested by us as we eat it.  The effects of chemicals in our bodies can be harmful to our health so it is best if we do all we can to eliminate them from our diet. That is why organic produce is so beneficial and why it is growing in popularity.

To grow a truly organic vegetable you need to start with organic seeds. You can find them at some garden centers or online retailers. Many times it is the smaller garden centers that will carry them as they are more prone to catering to the local customer than the larger chain stores.  If you can’t find organic seeds, you can still grow organic vegetables. Just make sure you keep them chemical free during the growing process. You can then harvest seeds from your crop so you have organic seeds for next year!

The organic gardener needs to be vigilant to keep pests and disease away. There are several ways to keep insects from destroying your crop without using chemicals. You can introduce beneficial insects to the garden. Insects such as ladybugs, praying mantis, and parasitic wasps are bugs that feed on other insects or their eggs. You can buy these insects at some garden centers or at online retailers.  Let them go free in your garden and let them do their thing. You will find that many pests such as aphids will be absent from your garden because of these beneficial insects.  

Another pest control option is to make a simple mixture of mild liquid dish soap, such as Ivory, and water. Put this mixture into a spray bottle and spray the leaves of the plants if you suspect an invasion of pests.  This mixture naturally repels many insects and will help control pests in the garden.  You can also manually remove pests as you find them. This method works great for worms and larger, crawling bugs.

Many traditional gardeners use herbicides to keep the weeds controlled in their gardens. Don’t worry, if you don’t use chemicals for weed control you won’t be spending all day in the garden with a hoe! There are several planting methods that will keep weeds at bay naturally. Plant your crops close together. As the plants grow, they will leave little room for competing weeds. Mulch your garden. By adding a layer of bark or other organic mulch, you can help reduce a large percentage of weed growth in the garden.  

With a little effort and diligence, you can grow delicious vegetables without the help of any chemicals. Organic produce is a better way to eat and a better way to grow!

Cathy is a freelance writer who enjoys gardening and the outdoors. She loves to work in the garden using her folding wheelbarrow to haul all her supplies. As an avid gardener, Cathy realizes the importance of a great yard cart to keep her supplies organized while she works!

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