Organic Vegetable Gardening Basics

Whether you have been gardening for years or this will be your first organic vegetable garden, here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy yourself and grow a bumper crop of delicious, healthy food you’ll be proud of.

First, know what grows best in your area and in your soil. You can improve the quality of your soil greatly with an organic soil amendment such as MOO DOO® composted cow manure. However, you still need to understand whether your soil is sandy or contains clay, as this will influence what you plant. Take a sample of soil to your local garden shop and ask for guidance in which plants are best suited for your organic vegetable garden.

Once you find out what your soil will easily support, it’s time to consider your personal preferences. For example, if peas would do well in your garden but you don’t like them, perhaps they aren’t the best choice. You want to be able to eat (or give away) what you grow.

Now think about your climate. Gardening websites or seed catalogs will have a map that shows garden zones or hardiness zones. These take into account your climate and the length of your growing season to help you choose the best plants for your area. Following their planting recommendations will help you have a more successful garden.

Second, decide how you will control pests. When you have an organic garden, you’re limited in what you can use because many pest control items are full of harmful chemicals. One way to control pests is to introduce their natural predators into your organic garden. For example, if your area is prone to aphids, buy some ladybugs or green lacewing larvae to keep the pests under control.

Some plants, such as tomatoes, are prone to disease and fungus. For best results, buy varieties that are resistant to disease. Organic garden compost such as MOO DOO® aids in maintaining the ecological balance of your garden to help your plants resist pests and disease.

Third, never grow plants in the same place two years in a row. Certainly, you may be limited in the area you have, but rotate plant families so that you grow them in different parts of the garden each year, even if it’s just a few yards from last year’s site. This rotation will help protect against disease.

Fourth, thin out your crop on time. When it comes to having a successful organic vegetable garden, timing is crucial. If you’re a beginning gardener, pulling up extra plants may be counterintuitive, but trust us on this one: thinning the garden properly will enhance the quality and the quantity of your vegetables.

Overcrowded plants cannot thrive because they don’t receive enough water, fertilizer, and light. Disease and pests love crowded gardens. When you thin out your plants, the strongest ones survive and flourish.

Finally—and not all gardeners know this—companion planting helps you have a strong and healthy organic vegetable garden. Companion planting is carefully choosing plants that help each other grow or that protect each other from pests. For example, plants from the squash family grow well with beans and corn, and basil can help prevent pests from bothering tomatoes.

Organic vegetable gardening is simple, but like anything else, you need to know what you’re doing—do you have any tips to grow an amazing garden?

Organic Gardening for Beginners

Even for beginners, organic gardening is simple, fun, and good exercise—plus you can eat the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors. When you garden naturally, you have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve used only organic fertilizer and natural pest control. You’ll have fresh, homegrown food without the worry of added chemicals and preservatives.


What do you want to grow?

If this is your first organic garden, you’ll wonder what you should grow. Choose something you’ll enjoy eating, because if you use composted manure or organic fertilizer, you may end up with quite a bit of food. Lettuce, strawberries, onions, and peppers are some of the easiest plants to grow and don’t take up a lot of room in your organic garden. In fact, you can plant them in pots and place them anywhere you have room.


Prep the soil.

As long as you have enough sunlight, it doesn’t matter where you grow your garden; the most important thing is to prepare the soil correctly before you plant. Over the years, the soil in most places has been depleted of nutrients, so you may need to add garden compost to your soil for best results. We always suggest you contact your local agriculture extension office for a soil test kit so you know exactly what you need to add to your soil.

MOO DOO® is a nearly odor free, composted cow manure that adds the right combination of nitrogen, microbes, and organic matter to help you grow a garden of nutritious food.


Don’t forget organic seeds.

After you’ve worked organic fertilizer into your soil, it’s time to plant. To have a true organic garden, you’ll want to use organic seeds. Be sure you know which zone you live in so you can choose plants that will thrive. Knowing your zone will also tell you the approximate best time for planting and how long your growing season is.

Be sure to follow the directions that come with the organic plants or seeds—and don’t plant them too close together. If you plant a large garden or have plants in several places, you can buy or make garden markers to help you keep track. Plant seeds at the correct depth, and ensure they receive enough water and sun.


Know your weeds.

One of the less-fun aspects of gardening is weeding. Since you may not know which plants are weeds, try pulling up photos of weeds on your laptop, and then take it outside for easy comparison. If you’re unsure, it won’t hurt to let the weed grow for a week or two to better identify it—or ask a friend who gardens to help. Occasionally, a rogue plant turns out to be a pleasant surprise!

Nothing beats organic gardening when it comes to having fresh food you can enjoy all summer long. Not only will you reap a bountiful harvest, but you’ll also stay fit and become one with nature. Your first garden will be a rewarding learning experience, and hopefully you’ll find a fulfilling new hobby. An organic compost such as MOO DOO® will help you grow bigger and better-tasting fruits and vegetables.


What do you wish you’d known when you started organic gardening?