I have a few tips I’ve really been wanting to share on organic vegetable gardening for beginners.
I’m going to lay out my 7 most important organic gardening tips for starting a vegetable garden.
1. Full Sun. Full sun means at least 8 hours a day.
I’m happy to have some areas that are just part sun (4 to 8 hours) where I can tuck in some lettuce, greens and certain herbs, but most of the main vegetables and fruits I want to plant need plenty of light and heat in order to photosynthesize.
This is one of the more common vegetable gardening tips you’ll find, but a crucial one.
2. Start Small. 100 square feet per person in your household is plenty to start. Even 50 square feet is okay.
Many gardeners start out too big and then end up getting overrun by weeds or various gardening chores, so an important beginner vegetable gardening tip is to start small.
You can grow a lot of food in 100 square feet if you plant densely. Rather than planting 10 tomato plants, plant 1 or 2 indeterminate plants and treat them well, staking them up. You can get dozens of tomatoes from 1 plant if it’s happy – conceivably even hundreds.
3. Good Soil. The basics of making good soil are incorporating a couple of inches of quality compost into the top few inches, maintaining a 2-4 inch layer of straw or leaf mulch (not bark mulch), and providing adequate water.
After that, you can get more advanced with soil testing and applying specific fertilizers and microbial inoculants based on that.
4. Buy Plants. You may eventually want to get into starting your own plants indoors, but does take quite some extra effort.
So for beginner vegetable gardening, I recommend buying most of your plants. I usually seem them for $1-$3 per plant.
5. Fertilize. It takes years to build up good soil, so in the meantime, while we’re starting a vegetable garden, liquid fertilizers are extremely beneficial.
My 2 favorites are ocean water and seaweed fertilizer. They provide a broad spectrum of nutrients instead of just the N-P-K of most conventional fertilizers. They are used throughout the growing season, often once a month.
6. Microbes. I take one of the above fertilizers and mix them with a microbial inoculant such as compost tea or effective microorganisms, and a sugar source such as molasses.
Microbes are just as important in our soil as organic matter and nutrients. They aren’t talked about as much as fertilizers, so this is one of the more unique tips about organic vegetable gardening for beginners.
7. Water. Yes, it’s boring, but I always have to mention it.
Water newly seeded areas often – maybe even daily – and newly planted areas probably every 2-4 days. By late spring, water less often – perhaps once a week – but more deeply to encourage roots to go down.
Of course, the above varies depending on your climate, but that’s the basics.
There you have it. Organic vegetable gardening for beginners. Any questions? Let me know below.