I’m sure you’ll agree that gardening is much more fun when it feels easy.
We get into gardening for the rewards, not because we want it to be hard, right?
You might be surprised to learn that gardening with organic principles can actually make your life a lot easier.
I’m going to list the top 12 organic gardening tips that I am positive will help you on your way to more successful and rewarding gardening.
- Top 13 Best Organic Gardening Tips for Your Garden
- Look After Your Soil and Your Soil Will Look After You
- Know Your Growing Zone
- Know Your Property
- Less is More – Get into No Till Gardening
- Mulch Mulch Mulch
- Stay on Top of the Weeds as they Appear
- Make Your Own Compost
- Become a Strategic Planner
- Learn How to Prune
- Be Smart About Your Irrigation
- Use Natural Alternatives to Landscape Fabric
- Start Easy
- Learn How to Save Seeds
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Top 13 Best Organic Gardening Tips for Your Garden
Look After Your Soil and Your Soil Will Look After You
This is probably the single most important component of organic gardening. It is literally all about soil health.
Healthy soil makes for healthier plants that are more resistant to disease and have a high nutrient density. Healthy soil also holds onto water better, doesn’t suffer as much from erosion, and doesn’t constantly need feeding with synthetic fertilizer.
Anything that you do to promote soil health rather than degrade it (as most conventional farming and gardening methods do), will pay you back with interest in the years to come.
Examples of things that degrade soil health include using synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, tilling and turning over the soil, and covering with landscape fabric.
Examples of things that promote soil health include lasagna or no-till gardening, mulching with aged compost, and using natural amendments to balance pH and nutrient deficiencies.
Know Your Growing Zone
Some of the most useful organic garden tips surround educating yourself, and knowing what is going to work for your regional climate is a big one.
If you understand the limits of your growing zone or hardiness zone, you’ll select varieties of plants that are most suited to your region’s climate and you’ll be far more successful.
Know Your Property
Similar to knowing your hardiness zone, understanding how different parts of your property are suited to different types of plants depending on the amount of sunlight they get is also really important.
The difference between a north facing spot and a south facing location is huge when it comes to how well a sun or shade loving plant will do. Some parts of your garden may also have better soil drainage than others, and some may be more exposed to wind.
Less is More – Get into No Till Gardening
No till or lasagna gardening is where it’s at when it comes to organic gardening.
Tilling is really a thing of the past and sets you back years in terms of soil health. Learn how to start a new garden simply by laying down newspaper and layers of mulch and dry matter and you will be well on your way to a thriving garden bed.
Once it’s established, you should have minimal weeds to worry about and you can maintain it simply by adding another layer of newspaper and mulch once per year. No tilling required ever!
If you’re looking for more ways to remove grass from a vegetable garden without tilling, have a read of this article.
Mulch Mulch Mulch
I can’t emphasize this enough. Mulching really is one of the most simple and yet most important natural gardening tips when it comes to maintaining your garden.
The benefits of mulching are many.
Mulch breaks down and adds organic matter and a range of nutrients to your soil. It supports soil health naturally by providing food for microbes and earthworms. It helps soil to retain moisture in dry weather as well as balancing out extremes of temperature. And, if applied regularly, it keeps weeds down. What’s not to love?
But seriously, next time you cut your grass or rake up a pile of leaves, save those grass clippings and leaves for mulch!
Stay on Top of the Weeds as they Appear
This probably isn’t one of the tips on organic gardening that you were hoping to read. But it’s still important.
Most often when people resort to spraying with herbicides it’s because they’ve let things get away on them. The easiest way to manage weeds is to not let them take over in the first place.
If you’ve used the lasagna method of gardening then you shouldn’t be starting with a huge weed load. Keep weeds under control by regular hand pulling or a quick hoe and you shouldn’t ever have to resort to more serious measures.
Also, did you know that if you stay on top of the weeding, the total weed load of your property will actually decrease over time and you’ll have less weeding in your future? If you get rid of weeds before they get a chance to establish themselves then they’ll never get a chance to spread seeds and over time you will have less weeds to worry about.
Make Your Own Compost
This is another biggie! Aged compost makes the best mulch and is the best possible fertilizer for your garden.
Making it yourself saves a lot of money and is good for the environment. It’s also easy! Simply save your fruit and vegetable scraps and add them to a compost bin where they will break down over a few months. Then, voila! Plant food!
Become a Strategic Planner
Learning how to stagger your planting through the growing season so that you can have a continuous supply of food is well worth it.
Having seedlings ready to transplant as soon as you have harvested a crop is called succession planting. It’s important for two reasons: Firstly, it means you maximize the output of your vegetable garden. This is especially important if you’re growing in a small space. (Learn more about gardening in a small space here.) Secondly, it means you’re not leaving any soil bare which minimizes the chance of weeds arriving.
But planning your garden strategically can also mean intercropping and companion planting which can both maximize yields and provide a means of natural pest control. For example, most insects are not keen on the smell of garlic or onions so intercropping garlic and onions can be a good deterrent. Similarly, many herbs are natural insect repellents.
Learn How to Prune
Knowing how to prune is essential for the health of both fruit trees and non-fruiting trees and shrubs. It also includes dead heading flowers and cutting back perennials at the end of the season to minimize disease over winter.
There are different types of pruning techniques depending on your objectives, but they are well worth learning. A well pruned fruit tree will produce more fruit that is easier to access and will be less prone to disease.
Be Smart About Your Irrigation
Soaker hoses are by far the most superior forms of irrigation for every part of your garden bar the lawn, and really, you probably shouldn’t be watering the lawn anyway.
Irrigate at the right time of day (usually early morning), and the right amount (most parts of your garden will actually benefit from less frequent but deep watering).
Use Natural Alternatives to Landscape Fabric
Did you know that the absolute only time that it is a good idea to use landscape fabric is if you are laying down a path with non-organic materials like gravel or river stones?
The rest of the time, you are only doing yourself and your soil a disservice. Learn about the natural alternatives to landscape fabric and why you should be using them here.
This might seem like a little anti-climax but trust me, success breeds confidence which breeds more success. Go easy on yourself and start out with plants, shrubs and vegetables that are easy to grow. Herbs are notoriously hard to kill so start with them!
Also, if you start with plants that are less prone to diseases then you can gradually acquire knowledge as you need to problem solve. This is a much easier way of learning the ins and outs of organic gardening than all at once when 5 different plants have different problems!
Alternatively, find a couple of things that you love and really want to grow and get good at them first before branching out.
Learn How to Save Seeds
Lucky last but not least, leaning how to save seeds will take your organic gardening to a whole new level. Saving seeds from heirloom varieties that have been selectively bred for your region by passionate organic farmers promotes food sovereignty and helps to preserve precious biodiversity that is quickly getting lost.
Saving seeds is surprisingly easy and once you get into it, it will be hard to stop. Once you start trading seeds with other gardeners, it will be impossible!
And, seeds stored correctly can last many years. How does it feel knowing you’ll be able to feed yourself for years to come with your very own seeds?
While we’re on the topic of seeds, if you’re wondering how long grass seed keeps for, I can answer that question here.
This is by no means as exhaustive list of organic gardening tips, but they cover the bases.
Remember, look after the soil, mulch, avoid tilling, and get smart about what and when you plant.
Do you have any organic gardening tips that you think I should add to this list? I’d love to hear them! Feel free to share your thoughts below!