Growing organic vegetables is simple as long as you follow a few guidelines. In no time at all, you’ll have delicious vegetables that are fresh-picked and chemical free. Even if you live in an apartment with limited space, there are always options for homegrown organic produce.
Step 1: Seeds and Seedlings
For true organic vegetables, you’ll want to start with seeds or seedlings from certified organic growers. Look for packages with labels that assert natural, non-chemical processing. For healthy plants, make sure to carefully follow package directions for soil depth, watering and other requirements, as this will ensure that you’re plants will be as strong as possible without the need for added chemicals.
For indoor gardening, vegetables you might want to try out are onions, peppers and lettuce, as these tend to be easier to grow inside the house. For container gardening outside, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans are good choices.
Step 2: Soils and Fertilizers
Provide your plants with a healthy environment in which to grow by making sure the potting soil and fertilizer you use is also organically produced. There are several types of organic potting soil on the market from such manufactures as Miracle Grow, Scotts and Organic Mechanics.
You can also make your own potting soil and fertilizer at home. Good homemade products are those that will provide your plants with enough air and nutrients to ensure proper growth. Standard recipes for potting soil will generally contain a mixture of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite. Peat moss can often be replaced with a number of compost mixtures, such as common garden waste. Rotted sawdust or moldy leaves will easily stand in for the vermiculite, and perlite can usually be purchased inexpensively from garden supply stores. Other natural ingredients, such as tree bark, seeds or seaweed, can be added and used as fertilizers depending on the needs of the vegetables you’re growing.
Step 3: Pesticides and Herbicides
Despite your best efforts, plants will still be vulnerable to a number of diseases and pests that may require you to use pesticides or herbicides. Luckily, there are several naturally based methods you can use to protect yours plants. You may choose to use a store bought product, but you can also easily whip up your own homemade brew at home.
An easy homemade pesticide that’s great for treating aphids, a common garden pest, can be made by combining a teaspoon or so of dishwashing soap with about a quart of water. For added power, you can add in one or two finely ground chili peppers. Place the mix in a spray bottle, shake a bit and spray on plants.
Step 4: Growth and Pollination
Most vegetables require sun and plenty of water. For indoor gardening, or for gardens with little direct sunlight, you may want to invest in grow lights. These specialized lights are designed to step in when appropriate sunlight isn’t available, and can help your plants grow healthy and strong.
If you’re growing plants that flower, you may also need to help them with pollination. In most cases, this is a fairly simple procedure. For tomatoes, you can use a paint brush to gentle shake and release pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers.