Organic. Natural. Going green. Environmentally friendly. These words briefly describe the latest trend sweeping across the nation. Between a surge in food prices and research linking synthetic chemicals (found in our foods, plastics, fertilizers, soil and even the air we breathe) to cancer, many folks are looking for safe food alternatives.
Whether it’s going to a health store such as Whole Foods or having your own hydroponics, a greenhouse, or a garden in the backyard, people want naturally- grown foods at the tip of their finger. This is a noble desire, one that puts you in control and one that can be easily achieved.
Listen, having your own “safe food garden” is not as tough as you think. Whether you need basic guidance as a beginner or you just need a swift reminder, here are 4 quick tips to help you get your garden up and running.
1. Know What You Want Out Of Your Garden
Before you start tilling or digging up your yard, you need to think about why you are gardening and what you want to get out of it. The truth of the matter is, that like just everything else, unless you know why you are doing it and are able to cast a vision of what you want your garden to look like, more than likely it will not pan out like you want it. Consequently, things such as what you plant, what fertilizer you use or don’t use, and how much time you are willing to spend working are all directly related to why you want to garden.
2. Plan Ahead
When fall begins, start thinking about what you want to plant in the spring. What do you enjoy eating? Radishes, lettuce or tomatoes? Squash, sweet corn, or potatoes? Once you decide on what fruits and vegetables you want to plant, do some research and learn what each plant needs to grow. Do they need shade or full sunlight? Do they respond better in an acidic or alkaline soil? Does your soil have any nutrient deficiencies?
Believe me, it’s better to be ready when nature calls than scrambling last minute to find the plants you need and “winging” it.
3. Go Natural
One of the benefits of having your own garden is the assurance of having naturally grown, nutrient-rich, healthy fruits and vegetables. If you are looking for something to supplement your plants, use a natural fertilizer to help stimulate your garden’s growth and overall health. Steer clear of using anything with synthetic chemicals. Use mulch or compost from the readily available materials right in your own yard. (A common mistake many gardeners make, though they hope for nutritious, healthy produce, is applying chemicals and thus eradicating the nutritional value of the soil.)
4. Make It A Family Affair
If you’re going to do a garden, make it a family affair. Get everyone involved. Have your kids or grandkids be a part of the planting, weeding, and watering. It’s something you can work towards together, sharing valuable and precious time and all the while instilling a hard work ethic in the younger generation. Plus, it does us good to step away from the fast paced world where computers, television, and cell phones result in an impatient society. Just like many good things in life, gardening is a process which takes time and work. But when you’re sitting down with your family, enjoying fresh watermelon from the work of your hands, it is all the more sweet.
With these 4 tips you should be on your way. Start preparing and planning. The earlier you start, the quicker you’ll have organic, all-natural fruits and vegetables sitting on your kitchen table, just begging you to eat and enjoy.