Gardening is hard, and organic gardening is even harder. If your thumb is any color other than green, you probably have a hard time keeping any plants alive, let alone those delicate-seeming heirloom varieties, and opting out of chemical enhancers like packaged fertilizer and weed-killer feels like a risk.
However, organic gardening definitely has its benefits ― no harmful chemicals for one and better produce for another ― so it is worthwhile to learn some tricks to make the practice a little easier. Here are four of the best (and cheapest) organic gardening hacks to help your garden grow big and strong.
Compost, Compost, Compost
Instead of tossing leftover food scraps into the trash, you can use them to build your very own compost pile. Compost is decayed organic matter that can feed the soil in which your plants grow, and when you make it from home, you can be sure it is 100 percent organic. Composting is safe and easy, and it is even safer and easier with a few simple hacks, including:
• Use yard care leftovers, like dead flowers and leaves or grass clippings, to add extra carbon and nitrogen to your compost.
• Avoid adding fatty foods to the compost pile, as they will attract pests that might infect your compost and spread disease to your plants or you.
• Turn your pile regularly to add air and disrupt anaerobic processes that tend to stink.
Composting may sound gross ― after all, it is allowing waste products to decompose in your backyard ― but it is a natural and healthy way to give much-needed nutrients to your organic garden.
Use Old Food Scraps
If you don’t have space to compost, you can still make good use of kitchen scraps while you garden. Food waste is still incredibly nutritious for plants, even before it turns into compost, so using particular scraps in particular ways might help your organic garden grow big and strong. Here are a few leftover food hacks:
Eggshells. If you are interested in starting your garden from seeds, you might consider using hollow eggshells as vessels for seedlings. When the plants grow too large, you can crack the shells a little more and place them directly into the ground. Additionally, you can scatter crumbled eggshells around your garden to discourage snails and slugs.
Milk. Sour milk isn’t good to drink, but it is an excellent way to save plants dying from mildew. Spraying turned milk on leaves and stalks will kill any fungus growing there naturally and safely.
Fruit peels. Slicing peels (especially from bananas, oranges, and lemons) into small bits and mixing those bits into your garden soil will provide extra phosphorous and potassium as well as keep aphids away.
Vegetable hearts. Some veggies can be regrown from a small sliver. You can preserve your lettuce, celery, onion, and garlic hearts in water until they sprout, and then you can add them to your garden.
Conscript the Experts for Professional Care
Some parts of your garden will always be a headache to care for organically, which means sometimes you will need to call in the experts. Lawns are tricky, even when you aren’t trying to be all-natural, so it’s usually best to hire a professional to administer organic weed control, pest control, and other lawn care. The same can be true with larger plants, like tall trees or broad bushes, that require special tools to treat properly.
Use the Buddy System
Just like people, plenty of plants have best friends that help them grow. By choosing to plant your garden according to a buddy system, you can help weaker plants become bigger, stronger, and more flavorful. There are a variety of systems, and the one you use should depend on your organic gardening problems.
• Spatial buddies. Choosing plants of different sizes and shapes can help each type grow better. For example, corn provides a stalk up which beans can grow, and squash can cover the ground to keep roots cool.
• Beneficial buddies. Some plants establish a healthy space for good insects, like ladybugs and hover flies. You can plant a number of herbs, like cilantro, chives, and dill, to facilitate a beneficial habitat.
• Taste-enhancing buddies. A few buddies actually influence the taste of the produce they create. For example, strawberries tend to be sweeter when grown next to thyme. You can research good companions for more ideas.
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me, Heather Jones. For questions about this blog, please contact me via the “Contact Me” link on the top menu bar or click here. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.
Disclosure Policy For Reviews / Guest/Sponsored Posts:
The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.
The owner of this blog is compensated to provide opinions on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for posts or advertisements, I (we) always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.
To see more of my disclosure policy please click here.
Any Votes Are Always Appreciated! (And if you let me know you voted in the comments, they'll be returned!)