Plants in the UKThe Beginner’s Companion Planting Guide
For more ways on how to improve the quality of your soil and general information about vegetable gardening, take a look at our vegetable gardening for beginners article.
Organic vegetable gardening is a great way to connect with Mother Nature. Not only do you get to produce tastier and fresher vegetables for you and your family, but you also make a positive impact on the environment. And those aren’t even half of the benefits that come with starting this green hobby. You also get to save a bit of money, to enjoy the whole spiritual experience of growing your own food, and come on – how cool is it to say: “Hey! I grew this amazing tomato from a tiny seed!”.
So, if you’re someone that…
… this is the article for you!
One of the most important aspects of organic vegetable gardening is having rich and healthy soil. You see, vegetables require a lot of nutrients, so if you feed the soil they are planted in, you are also feeding them. That said, take the time to give your garden a good boost before you start planting. You can use manure, peat moss, or compost for the job. Compost is your best option because you can produce it yourself. All you have to do is pick an area in your garden for a compost pile and start gathering materials. Of course, if you are planning to grow a bigger organic vegetable garden, we suggest buying bagged compost – it will save you a lot of time.
Mulch is a must! By applying mulch on top of your soil, you prevent nasty weeds from growing and taking over your vegetable garden. The covering also stops any plant diseases from spreading and additionally boosts up the soil’s quality. For best results, make sure to buy a type of mulch made from organic material such as straw and to spread a thick layer on top of your soil.
We don’t need to tell you that a fancy, exotic cucumber-like plant that grows only in a specific jungle located in Asia won’t be the best option for your garden, right?
Three words: Do. Your. Research.
Take the time to find out which types of vegetables and which varieties are most likely to live a happy and healthy life in your region. Is it typically sunny in your area? How often does it rain? Answer these questions before you choose your vegetables and we assure you that you’ll be a very happy gardener.
Basically, you can grow any type of plant from a seed packet, but you can’t grow any vegetable from a seedling.
You’ll see all of these different kinds of vegetable seedlings in your local garden centre and you’ll go “WOW! I can get a baby carrot plant?!”. Yes – you get it in order to save a bit of time, but it won’t live long enough for you to pull out a fresh, tasty carrot from the ground.
You see, big taproot vegetables like carrots, beets, and potatoes need to stay in the ground once planted – trying to replant them will only lead to their death. Getting a carrot seedling doesn’t make a lot of sense now, does it? And let’s not forget to mention that getting a seed packet is always the better option – it’s a whole lot cheaper, you get a variety of plants to choose from, and you don’t risk coming home with a sick seedling.
Note: Make sure to get certified-organic seeds or seedlings. Seeds will have an organic logo printed on their packet, while seedlings come with a special tag indicating that they have been grown organically.
You can’t have an organic vegetable garden if you don’t use an organic fertiliser. If you wish to have bigger and faster-growing vegetable crops, don’t be scared to give them a helping hand with a bit of fertiliser. We suggest getting the liquid kind – it’s less messy and you can get a huge bottle online for around £15.
Want to expand the growing season of your tasty vegetables? Then try building raised plant beds! A raised bed will keep the soil warmer in the spring months, which will benefit your vegetables a lot. Also, by having raised plant beds you make weeding and harvesting a lot easier for yourself. No more sore muscles from constantly bending down to the ground!
Note that if you decide to build plant beds for your vegetables, it’s important to pick wooden planks that aren’t treated with chemical products, otherwise you compromise the organic aspect of your gardening project.
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You can’t get more organic than companion gardening. Basically, what you are doing is strategically planting specific types of flowers and/or herbs near your vegetables to keep nasty pests away, minimise diseases, attract beneficial insects, improve pollination, maximize growth, and even better the taste of specific vegetables. Isn’t that just amazing? For example, magnolia and cosmos flowers are must-have companions for every vegetable garden – they will fill your green space with little bees and lady beetles that will keep it healthy and safe. Homemade natural pesticides are always an option, check our recipes in this here blog.
Removing weeds isn’t a very fun process, but it’s a necessary one. You see, weeds not only suck up all the water and nutrients from the soil, leaving your plants starving, but they also attract nasty pests that can spread diseases. That clover in your garden doesn’t look that innocent now, does it?
Ok, so the easiest and most organic way to remove weeds is to pull them out by hand. The only thing you have to remember is to make sure to get the whole root out. If you just pluck the stem of the plant, you guarantee yourself new weed babies showing up in a couple of weeks. If you are not a fan of hard labour you can test out the recipe for vinegar garden spray, that we have recently shared.
The technique is called crop rotation. By planting different kinds of vegetables each year you reduce the risks of pest attacks and ensure that the soil doesn’t lose specific types of nutrients. Basically, if you planted tomatoes in one area of your garden, grow peppers in the same spot next year.
Dead foliage can lead to the spread of a number of plant diseases. What you can do is take a walk in your garden every once and a while and pick any fallen leaves and twigs. If you see a vegetable with a sick leaf, remove it to stop the disease from spreading and killing the whole plant. Also, never put the gathered leaves in your compost pile – throw them directly in the waste bin.
If you’ve decided that you want to start your own organic vegetable garden, but your green space needs some serious prep work, why not leave the task to the hands of a specialist?
Fantastic Services offers professional garden maintenance solutions that will save you both time and energy for the more fun stuff like picking your veggie babies and planting them! The trained gardeners we work with can do anything from weeding to garden clearance, come fully equipped for the job, and did we mention that you actually get a team of two professionals? How Fantastic is that!
So, leave the heavy-duty gardening work to Fantastic Services and get to spend more time doing the things you love.
Want to know more about when to plant different veggies, plus some extra seasonal garden tips? Check out our year-round gardening calendar here!
Did you find our article helpful? Leave your thoughts and experience with organic vegetable gardening in the comment section below!
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