An organic vegetable garden may seem like a lot of work, especially when using non-organic methods can seem easier and more effective, but the rewards for choosing organic are wonderful.
Years ago, when I was a kid, I remember going to a Sunday lunch where all the produce had been picked fresh that morning from their allotment.
We’ve all know (or been) the kid that won’t eat their vegetables because they’re ‘boring’ or ‘yukky’, (that kid was me!) but because I was a guest, I felt I had to eat that meal.
As I sat there looking as this home-cooked meal, I was not prepared for the explosion of taste that awaited me, and I remember that meal even to this day.
Once you have tasted home grown organic vegetables, you quickly realise the shop-bought equivalent is completely lacking, tasteless and dull. Even very fussy kids will probably love sneaking fresh peas from the pod and then trying to hide the pods. Such activity may result in less peas, but there’s no denying that uncooked peas from the pod are incredibly more-ish and also bursting with vitamins and minerals.
The good earth
Begin with the soil. You will not want to use pesticides herbicides or any chemicals to improve your soil, and neither do you need to. Look into beginning your own compost heap, but because composting does take some time, you may initially want to look online or in stores for natural compost. It’s the only fertilizer you will need, and when you have it, spread it lavishly around your garden to about 2 or 3 inches in depth.
You need to find the right seeds. Check any garden centers and stores in your vicinity. Local farm shops may sell their own seeds, but if not, look on the Internet or mail order through a gardening magazine. Most seeds have a higher success rate of germination if you begin them indoors and replant them outside. (Sometimes you can use biodegradable pots and plant them in the soil.) Be sure to see my articles on buying seeds.
Tender loving care
I’ve written in several previous articles about do it yourself pest control, but vegetables planted in organic earth can be less prone to pests in the first place. In a very real sense the plant’s immune system is better, and an organic garden also attracts the predators of the pests, which makes your life easier. You will need to keep an eye out of course, for slugs and snails and other pests, but using natural organic pest control methods is not difficult.
The reward is walking out to pick a ripe tomato, slicing green beans that are so soft they melt in the mouth when cooked, sneakily ‘testing’ your peas, (and wondering where they’ve all gone) shaking rich earth from your potatoes and just giving them a scrub under the tap, then tasting them cooked, hot and glossy with butter; it’s carrots that are sweet, cabbage and kale you can munch raw as they are so delicious.
An organic vegetable garden gives you more than taste, it’s your very own health food shop outside your window, and you know that when you are working on it, watering it, even slinging a snail out of the way, you are also helping the environment (although the snail might disagree).