This year Erin and I will be planting a food garden in the backyard so we can have local, organic produce during the late spring through to early fall. We really wanted to share this experience with you to show how easy and fun organic gardening can be at home.
I’d like to start by saying, we don’t claim to be expert gardeners, but over the past four years I’ve been keeping my own little veggie garden and while it isn’t as easy as a chia pet… it’s a lot easier than I’d originally thought. So, we’re hoping to share information in this series that will help fellow gardeners and/or wannabe gardeners take the plunge into organic gardening, develop skills or share your thoughts and tips!
WHAT MAKES IT ORGANIC?
To me, organic gardening means NO artificial/synthetic fertilizers or pesticides are used on your plants/produce, which is amazing because you don’t have to worry about any nasties on your veggies when you eat them. Just give them a rinse if you’d like, check for bugs and slugs and they’re ready to eat.
WHY START/HAVE AN ORGANIC FOOD GARDEN?
It’s Emotionally Rewarding
Seeing something you’ve nurtured grow into something you can eat or feed people with is a special thing. Sharing the whole process of gardening with a family member or loved one is also incredibly rewarding.
If you have children, starting a garden (big or small) is a wonderful summer activity and can teach your little ones about where their food comes from, healthy eating habits and more. Children and Nature put together a great one-pager on the benefits of Gardening for Children that I’d suggest any parent, child care provider, teacher etc. check out. To summarize- getting a child involved in gardening has been linked to healthier nutrition, positive social development and enhanced stewardship; what’s not to like about that?
I used to garden with my grandparents when I was a little girl and I still remember how empowering it was to work side by side with them on something. Getting to pick peas and berries right off the vine as a snack while playing outside wasn’t too shabby either.
Great for your Health and the Environment
A couple of reasons why an organic garden is good for the environment:
- They provide organic food for pollinators
- By growing your own produce you help cut down the transport emissions and resources needed to support your food needs.
When gardening organically, you are in control of what goes into the soil and onto your produce. Avoiding the use of nasty pesticides and fertilizers means you can eliminate ingesting these harmful chemicals, which is much better for your health. Specifically if you love produce on the Dirty Dozen list, which lists produce most contaminated by pesticide use.
Where I live in Canada, it’s pretty easy to grow a handful of the veggies on this list, like: celery, spinach, cucumber*, peas*, and potatoes (*very easy plants for beginners to grow). This means, I can eat these veggies worry-free.
Saves You Money
The amount of money I’ve put into my yearly gardens has easily been earned back by the organic produce I’ve harvested. My very first year veggie gardening, I bought no more than a dozen seedlings from a local grocery store and two bags of soil to top up a garden bed. I was lucky to already have some garden forks, shovels and a rain barrel to water with, but couldn’t have spent more that $50 on supplies. If you buy organic and find it’s pricey, this can definitely cut down those grocery bills.
I’m not saying it will be free, you will need some basic supplies and supplies cost money. If you already have a flower bed with good soil to convert into a veggie garden like I did, then you’re golden. If you don’t, and need to start from scratch, that may cost a bit more. I would just encourage you to be as resourceful as possible and you’ll keep costs low. For example, repurpose items as often as possible, look for scrap wood to build a raised bed, egg cartons as seed starting trays, compost your own food waste etc..
Keep posted for the next installment of these Organic Gardening posts where we’ll talk about these supplies and what you’ll need to begin your organic gardening journey :).
In the meantime, you can visit our Garden Dreaming Pinterest Board for more inspiration, information and tips and thanks for visiting!