Planning & preparation for organic crops
On behalf of, and with our thanks to Keith Higgins
3. PLANNING & PREPARATION
So, you’ve decided it’s time to take an organic stance and feel you would be best suited to growing fruit and vegetables in the comforts of your own garden, but where do you start? Well, what’s important is to focus on thoroughly planning and preparing your future growing space. You want an area that’ll be habitable for whatever you wish to grow and maintain.
Rather than rushing out to start digging up the space and laying soil you believe to be a best fit, it’s worth taking a look at the following advice for planning the growing space.
Consider your landscape: How much space do you have available for growing fruit and veg? If you’ve a small garden you’re unlikely to want it swamped by plants. Likewise, if you’ve children or pets you should avoid poisonous lupines and sweet peas. Consider the space available and choose plants that’ll tie in well with this.
Choose plants carefully: Some plants need to be micromanaged to ensure they remain healthy and produce a fruitful yield. Take your lifestyle into consideration, as well as the climate and space you have to work with. You won’t want to be weeding and watering every hour under the sun, so make sure to seek advice from other gardeners in your area on what’s best.
Build-up a good quality soil: It’s much easier to start from scratch and build a high quality soil base when plants aren’t in the ground. Manure and compost is a good place to start as both are full of fantastic nutrients to keep your fruit and veg healthy. When growing organically, one of the key points will be to maintain a good quality of soil – so make sure to take care of this.
Calculate the amount of sunshine: Fruit and vegetables need a consistent level of sunshine to grow, so ensure your garden space has this in demand. Ensure sunlight isn’t blocked at certain times of the day and that it’s fairly distributed around your garden. Then, match this to the plants and you’ll create a sustainable environment that’ll produce great results.
When purchasing seeds for growing fruit and vegetables at home, there’ll often be advice on the labelling of how much sun is required daily.
Sun: Requires direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day
Shade: Requires less than four hours of direct sunlight
Partial sun: Requires between 4 and 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Aside from knowing the fundamentals of planting your fruit and vegetable seedlings, it’s likewise important to have an idea on garden design. By focusing your efforts on creating a working design, it’ll make it much easier to grow and maintain your plants. For instance, perennial plants are favoured by gardeners with time restraints, as they’ll come up year-after-year on their own.
For others, herb plants are ideal as they smell great and don’t require too much care to flourish. They’re also ideal for adding to your culinary delights.
Remember, when it comes to growing organically, you can choose to do as much or as little as you want. There’s no reason to go overboard and simply partaking in organic growing is helpful to the environment and your wallet.
When integrating flowers, fruit and vegetables into your garden, there’s so much to consider and no matter your garden there’ll be plants that’ll flourish. For instance, even if there’s loads of shade for a great deal of the day, ferns for ground cover can be used – as they don’t need constant sunshine.
You should also think about perfumed flowers to bring a nice small to your outside area, particularly gardenia and plumeria.
Meanwhile, if there’s a high wind in your garden, consider the planting of tall evergreens and deciduous trees. These grow quickly and can block out the wind effectively. We’d also recommended planting vegetation that’ll attract beneficial insects. These would include baby blue eyes, candy tuft, primrose and sweet alyssum.
The thing is, even if you don’t have plenty of space to utilise, there’s no reason to turn away from growing organic vegetables. In fact, the vine vegetables can make the most of the limited space you do have and will still produce a healthy harvest. Anything from squash, to melons and cucumbers can be grown using trellises.
Don’t be fooled into thinking your garden should be completely green either. Not only should you be planting new species in your garden, but also integrating slabs, brick pavers, gravel and decking into the design too.
Your options are seemingly endless and you have so much to play with when it comes to the design of your garden. Make sure to choose plants that’ll flourish in the space you have available and create an organic setting for your growth.