Chapter 3 : Organic Gardening Supplies

Now that you know why you should grow your vegetables organically you are now probably wondering how to do that.  Getting your organic garden started is easier than you think especially since you do not have to worry about stocking up on expensive, potentially dangerous, chemical fertilizers and other items.  Most of the things you will need to start your organic garden are already in your house or easy to get.

Be sure you plan things carefully and do not just get some seeds or plants and start digging up your yard.  That piece of advice will probably be repeated in this e-book because that is usually the mistake most beginner gardeners make.  In order to have a successful organic garden you need to take your time and plan everything out careful.

1. Space

Before you can start growing your organic vegetables you will need a place to plant them.  This choice is going to be based largely on your living situation.  If you are in a townhouse or apartment or even a house without a suitable yard then you will want to consider using pots.  It is possible to grow many small vegetables in pots or containers that come in a wide variety of sizes.

If you do not already have pots or containers that are suitable for growing plants you can order them online for surprisingly low prices or pick them up from your nursery.  Make sure you look around your house before you spend your money.  You might be surprised to find that you have several suitable items or old plant pots that you have forgotten about.

If you are someone with a home that has a large yard then you have more options.  You can start your organic garden in any location that you feel will be suitable for growing plants.  One thing to remember when picking out an area of your yard for growing organic vegetables is to choose a location that will get a good amount of sunlight during the entire day.

Finding out the best spot based on lighting will require a few days of careful observation but it will be worth it if you can find a good spot in which to start your organic vegetable garden.

The size of your organic vegetable garden is entirely up to you and based on the amount of available space that you have at your disposal.  Do not be afraid to start a small garden and build up to a large one and do not be discouraged if you feel you do not have as much space as you would like for your new garden.  You are just starting out and working with the resources that are currently available.

2. Soil

Good soil is the second thing that you need to get your organic vegetable garden going and this is probably the most important part of your new garden.  The soil you choose must be rich and fertile if you want your vegetables to grow healthy and strong.  If the soil in your garden seems thin or unsuitable do not give up hope yet.  There are ways to make the available soil more fertile and perfect for gardening that will be explained in a minute.

Remember, you must NOT use any chemical fertilizer in your new organic vegetable garden!

Most new organic vegetable growers are first tempted to use chemicals when they are inspecting the quality of their available soil.  It is tempting to go purchase a bag of soil that is packed with chemical fertilizers if your own soil does not seem rich enough.  This is a big step in the wrong direction and must be avoided at all costs.  There are ways to make your soil rich and suitable for growing that does not involve using expensive, and sometimes hazard, outside chemicals.

If you are growing your plants in pots or organic containers on a back patio or window sill getting soil might take a bit more effort.  Soil can be obtained from willing neighbors or family members that have their own yards.  Simply ask for some soil and shovel it into your waiting container. 

When that is not an option consider purchasing organic soil from a garden supply shop.  There are places that sell soil with no chemical fertilizers.  This might be an additional start cost not incurred by those with their own back yards but it will be worth it.

By having your own purchased organic soil you will be able to fill your pots and containers then plant your seeds when it suits you.  Another benefit of using pots and containers is that your soil temperature will not be at the mercy of the ground temperature. 

3. Compost

Compost is something that you will need to help your garden thrive especially if your soil is not as fertile as you would have hoped.  Rich compost will give your soil the minerals necessary to help your vegetables grow and thrive during the growing seasons.  It is easy to make compost using materials that you have on hand especially if you have your own backyard or access to an outdoor area.

In order to create your own organic compost you will need to first dig a pit or two (depending on the size of your garden) in your back yard.

Once your pit has been dug fill it with the following refuse from your kitchen:

Vegetable Peels

Fruit Peals




Egg Shells

Coffee Grinds

Corn Stalks

Anything fruits, vegetables, and items mentioned that you use should go into your compost pit instead of the trash for awhile.  Any leaves you can find can also be put into the compost pit.  If you have neighbors you can ask for their refuse as well to help fill your pits faster.  This is especially recommended if you are a single person or part of a couple that does not accumulate trash very quickly.  Many neighbors will be willing to share their refuse if they are promised a bit of the fresh harvest when it comes available.

This compost pit MUST be started well before you plan to plant.  It is recommended that you start your compost pit at least three weeks before you intend to start planting seeds if not sooner.  The longer your compost has to age the better so do not delay when it comes to starting your pit.

In fact, you might want to consider digging your compost pit as soon as the ground becomes soft enough to work right after winter.  This way your compost will be ready when the time comes for you to start digging your garden or preparing your containers. 

If you are someone that is growing organic vegetables in a limited space using pots and containers you might want to purchase organic compost from a gardening supply store.  This will be easier than attempting to create your own compost in a small space.  Purchasing your own aged compost will be easier and much more convenient when working with a limited amount of space.

4. Organic Mulch & Newspaper

Old newspapers and organic mulch are a must have for anyone starting a new organic vegetable garden.  Organic mulch can be made up of a variety of items that are probably on or around your property.  Fallen leaves, flower blossoms, twigs, fallen needles from trees, and even bark can all be used as mulch.  When you see any of these things around your property do not be afraid to gather it in bags and take it to the site of your future vegetable garden to use as mulch.

Many gardeners do not think mulch is important for anything other than visual appeal.  While mulch will help make your planted garden look more tidy organic mulch has many other benefits that make it a vital part of your vegetable garden.  For starters organic mulch will help cut down on the growth of weeds that could ruin your new garden.

Organic mulch will also help improve the quality of soil in your vegetable garden.  Unlike non-organic mulches, organic mulch will decay and decompose overtime becoming a layer of rich and fertile topsoil.  This will add nutrients to the vegetables in addition to its other uses.

Before the organic mulch decays it will help keep the water used to water your new vegetable garden from evaporating before it has a chance to do its work.  It will also help keep the temperature of your soil even by warming the soil during the winter and cooling it during the summer.  This is a great feature to those who grow vegetables all year round.  The old newspaper helps perform another function that will help your vegetable garden thrive.

When you are ready to start laying down your mulch to protect your newly planted vegetable garden you should have a good supply of old newspapers available.  These newspapers should be placed on the ground before you lay down your mulch.  The newspaper will help protect your organic vegetable garden from the insects that will be attracted to your mulch.

There are a few things to remember when choosing your mulch and laying it down over and around your garden.  For starters avoid using hay for organic vegetable garden mulch.  Even though hay can be found easily and purchased cheaply in many areas it is often filled with weed seed.  You will be helping to cause the problem you are trying to avoid. 

Also, make sure you do not lay the mulch down too thickly.  Mulch should be no more than two to three inches thick and once it is laid down you should still watch the mulch carefully.  Make sure the mulch is not matting together since that can prevent water from reaching your vegetable seeds.  Another thing to watch out for is slimy mulch which can occur when some of the materials used to create a layer of mulch become slimy as they decay.  If this happens simply shovel the slimy mulch away and replace it with a fresh layer of organic mulch.

    5. Gloves, Shovels, and Hoes

A few old fashioned garden tools are the only other things you will need to get your garden started (other than seed of course) and if you do not already have them they can be purchased anywhere that sells garden supplies.  You will need a good shovel to dig your compost pits and your garden area.  A good garden hoe will also be necessary for any weeding that needs to be done and a good strong pair of gloves. 

Gloves will be needed to protect your hands when shoveling and doing garden work that is more hands on.  Weeding in particular will require a good pair of gloves since it will often be easier to simply pull up weeds by hand instead of using a hoe to kill them. 

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