Do you live in a huge house that’s built complete with a front lawn and backyard? Or do you live alone in a small apartment in the city? No matter which of these two you consider as your current dwelling, it makes perfect sense to dabble in organic gardening. This is especially useful for families who would like to grow their own food. Not only is it cheaper, but it’s healthier as well.
If lack of space is your excuse, there are actually vertical gardens that you can grow on rooftops or even windowsills. There’s practically no reason why you should skip a hobby such as organic gardening, and that is what we will learn more about here.
What Is Organic Gardening?
First, let’s have a quick definition of the term. Organic gardening has been synonymous with chemical-free gardening, natural gardening or eco-friendly gardening.
It’s quite confusing to use these, terms, however, because of the term chemical-free. When you say that something is free of chemicals, it means that you would not use anything to fertilize the soil. Both organic and synthetic fertilizers are chemicals – so you cannot really say that organic gardening is free or chemicals.
Eco-friendly gardening or natural gardening works much better, because it implies that the way you grow the plants do not harm the environment. Perhaps the best way to define what organic gardening really is would be to enumerate its three main components: first if feeding the soil with organic soil addends like manure, compost, chopped leaves, mulch, etc.
If you’re familiar with doing a soil test, you can determine which elements or minerals are lacking in your organic soil, and remedy the situation. When your soil is organic, you are then automatically into organic gardening.
The second part of organic gardening is focusing on prevention. As you may already know, traditional gardening consists of spraying chemicals to prevent pests or insects from harming the plants.
With organic gardening, you will focus on preventative steps such as matching the plant to the right site so the light, moisture and soil health are all compatible. Planting disease-resistant variants in the first place also works, along with maintaining a clean and healthy garden.
The third part is all about using simple solutions whenever you encounter problems with your organic garden. Rather than buying chemicals to kill aphids, for example, you can simply use the traditional method of hosing them down. If that is not enough, a homemade instead of a chemical spray should work wonders.
How Much Can I Save with Organic Gardening?
Now that you already have an idea about the basics of organic gardening, let us take a look at how much you can save by going for it instead of traditional gardening. Let’s say that you are growing a bed of seasonal veggies in an organic garden. When you have organic instead of a conventional garden, here are the areas where you can save money:
- Buying fertilizers;
- Buying weed killers;
- Buying pest-control chemicals.
With organic gardening, you can fertilize plants using compost; the cost of buying insecticidal soaps is lower, and you can use manual weeding so weed control is practically free. Just remember that there are known downsides to organic gardening as well.
If you don’t have the time and patience to attend to your organic garden, you might find it too labor-intensive and time consuming. Lower yields are also a problem with organic gardening, along with pest control.
Fortunately, there are many upsides to it. With organic gardening, you will not be using any chemicals so you’re basically doing your share in helping save the environment. Another benefit to organic gardening is that studies do show that organically grown food items are richer in nutrients than traditionally grown crops.
Ways to Save Money on Organic Gardening
Now, what are the specific ways that you can save money on organic gardening? Take a look at the following list:
The main element of any good organic garden is the soil. Which type of garden do you have in the first place? Is it a traditional garden, a raised bed, a landscape garden or do you have plants in containers?
A traditional garden is in the ground but if you have plenty of space, it can take a lot of your time and energy. Other types of gardens can take minimal effort, although you still have to stick to the rules of organic gardening.
For the soil – whether it’s organic or conventional gardening – the key is to make it as loose and as rich as possible. The bad news is that the soil in most residential areas is not rich in nutrients at all.
When the topsoil on the ground is removed to build a house, the land is flattened and all the nutrients of the soil are eliminated as well. This is especially true if the land was flattened. This means that you cannot really use the existing soil around your home for your organic garden – unless you have neighbors who know that the soil in your area is rich to begin with.
If it’s your first time to tend to a garden in your backyard or front lawn, don’t lose hope if you fail to get spectacular results during your first try. As you continue tilling the soil and filling it with Earth-friendly nutrients such as compost.
Compost includes food scraps from fruits and vegetables used in the kitchen. Grass clippings, leaves and animal manure can also be included in the compost. Since kitchen waste is practically free, you would not have to spend any money for enriching the soil on your organic garden. The only exception is if you’ve had to buy the garden soil in the first place.
Organic gardeners do not really use chemicals-based fertilizers on their crops. Instead, they add earthworms to loosen and enrich the soil. Packing on the compost also helps a lot. If there are bugs and worms in your garden, the ecosystem in the area will soon thrive – so keep these living things in your garden.
Tilling and Weed Control
Unless you have a huge garden where you need to hire an expert gardener to maintain the ground, you can do the tilling of the soil yourself. Simply till the soil in rows until the ground is loose. If you’re looking for a cost-free way for weed control, put down the weed barriers between the rows of your organic garden.
Between two garden rows, you can place old carpet, dark plastic or roof shingles. This will prevent weed from growing so the quality of soil will be maintained. Manual weeding is necessary if you want to grow your garden the organic way. When combined with mulch that includes grass clippings and stones, weeding and mulching will do the trick in keeping your plants healthy.
Conventional gardening requires spraying pesticides on the plants to keep off the harmful insects and bugs. The chemicals from these sprays can expose the fruits of the crops to toxic fumes, however, so organic gardening really is better. To prevent pests from ruining your organic garden, buy cheap insecticidal soaps which are made from all-natural ingredients.
There are also other homemade strong herb brews that help ward off infestation. Yet another cost-free way of controlling diseases in your organic garden is to plant certain flowers which encourage certain animals to watch over your garden by consuming any bugs that might destroy it. That’s the classic food chain for you.
Other Organic Gardening Factors to Save Money On
The aforementioned factors are the general elements of organic gardening that you can save money on. It takes very little money to grow an organic garden, although a lot of planning and maintenance tasks are involved.
In maintaining the quality of the soil, for example, you can use manures and waste plant materials as filler for the soil to keep it in tiptop shape. You can improve soil drainage or even go as far as adjusting the pH level of the soil to make sure that the plants will grow healthy and plentiful.
After having a successful organic gardening season, you need to rotate the crops. Know which fruits and vegetables thrive during a particular season, which is when you should start planting them.
You can also use organic fertilizers like N-Nitrogen, P-Phosphorous, K-Potassium, compound fertilizers, minor minerals, liming materials and trace elements. For pest and disease management, prevention is key so it pays to make sure that you are doing your best in keeping the garden healthy in an all-natural manner.
As you can see, there are many ways for you to save money while raising an organic garden. Once you have successfully tilled the soil and grown your plants, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor in the kitchen. Not only can you enjoy organic food items straight from your very own backyard when you’re into organic gardening – but you are also doing your share in helping save the environment. What could be better than that?