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Organic Vegetable Gardening. A Guide On How To Grow Organic Food

Organic Vegetable Gardening. A Guide On How To Grow Organic Food

So you want to learn about organic vegetable gardening

Determine and understand what crops you can raise in your location. Of course obvious factors need to include climate, soil, rainfall, and available space. A fast and fun way to learn what grows well in your climate is to visit a nearby farm or garden. Below are some details you can personally ask seasoned organic growers.

Climate. Some locations only have a very brief growing fertilisation season, such as Northern Europe and Canada. In climates like this, growing quick producing plant varieties has to be done before the coming winter. Other areas have year-long warm weather, where fresh vegetables and grain can be harvested on demand.
Soil. Depending on the type you have available, you may expect very high yields from a small area, or meager yields from large areas. The best plan to follow is to plant a food crop which flourishes in your conditions as a staple, and use surplus land to grow “luxury” foods that require more fertilisation and effort.
Rainfall. Some plants thrive with minimal rainfall, but most food crops require substantial amounts of water from irrigation or rainfall. Consider the normal rainfall rate for your area, and the availability of irrigation when choosing crops. If you live in a dry area, consider collecting rainwater.
Space. If sufficient space is available, you may be able to grow plenty of food using conventional methods, but where space is limited, you may have to look at other techniques, including hydroponics, container gardening, sharecropping, and vertical gardening.

Learn how a growing season plays out. Growing food is more than just planting seeds and waiting for a harvest. Below, in the “Growing” section, is a typical sequence of steps in growing a single crop of one plant. You will need to prepare each different plant crop basically the same way, but when you have prepared the soil for planting, you can plant as many different crops as you like at one time.

Always become familiar with the different types of food crops. We often think of the vegetables we see in the produce section of a market as the garden vegetables, and in a sense, this is true, but to truly grow your own food, you need to consider your whole diet. This is a general list of the types of food you will want to consider growing.

Vegetables. This includes legumes, leaf vegetables, root vegetables, corn (a grain, looked at more closely later), and vining vegetables like squash, cucumbers, melons, and pumpkins. These provide many essential nutrients and vitamins, including:

Proteins. Legumes are a good source of proteins.
Carbohydrates. Potatoes and beets are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, as well as minerals.
Vitamins and minerals. Leaf vegetables, like cabbage and lettuce, as well as vining vegetables like cucumbers and squash, are a good source of many essential vitamins and minerals.

Fruits. Most people understand that fruits are a great source of vitamin C, but they also contribute many other vitamins and minerals to your diet, as well as offering a broader variety of taste to enjoy. Fruits also can often be preserved by drying or canning, so refrigeration is not required to store your surplus.
Grains. Growing grains is not what most people envision when they think of growing their own food, but grains are a staple in most diets. They are filled with carbohydrates and fiber, and can be stored easily for long periods of time. In many early civilizations, and in some countries today, grain is the primary foodstuff for the population. This category of food crops includes:

Corn. Often eaten as a vegetable with meals, corn is also a versatile grain that can be stored whole, unshucked, shelled (removed from the cob, with whole kernels), or ground into meal for use in making breads or mush dishes like grits. Corn is probably the easiest grain to grow for the home subsistence farmer. Freezing corn is the easiest way to preserve it for winter use.
Wheat. Most people are familiar with wheat, from which we get most of our flour for baking everything from breads to cakes and pastries. Wheat stores well after harvest, but harvesting itself is more laborious than it is for corn, since the whole plant is usually cut down, sheaved (placed in piles), gathered and threshed (beaten to free the seeds), and ground into fine powder (flour).
Oats. Another grain, oats for human consumption are processed more than wheat or corn, and the labor involved in harvest is equal to wheat. Still, it may be considered an option in some areas where it is easily grown.
Rice. For wet areas, areas subject to flooding, or which can be flooded, rice is the obvious choice. Rice is commonly grown in shallowly submerged soil, and is harvested much as wheat is.
Other grains include barley and rye, which are similar to wheat and oats.


Carefully select the crops and varieties that are suitable to your growing region for your organic vegetable gardening. This is where the instructions in this article cannot suffice to give comprehensive and accurate information specific to you. Instead, we will look at basic growing requirements for different plants according to standard growing regions, as set forth by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) on their plant hardiness map which you may be able to use by comparing climates in terms of latitude and elevation to your particular region.

Beans, peas, and other legumes. These are planted after the threat of frost, and require 75 to 90 days to produce fruit, which can continue producing as long as the plants are cared for until autumn frost.
Gourds. This group of plants includes squash, melons, and pumpkins, and is planted after the last expected frost, and takes between 45 days (cucumbers) to 130 days for pumpkins, to produce harvestable fruit.
Tomatoes. This fruit (usually grouped with vegetables) can be planted in containers if kept warm, and transplanted into soil after the threat of frost, and will produce season-long as well.
Grains. There is a great difference in growing seasons with grains, as well as summer and winter varieties of many of these. Generally speaking, summer grains, such as corn and summer wheat, are planted near the end of winter when freezing temperatures are not expected to continue for more than a few weeks, and they take about 110 days to mature, then another 30-60 days to dry sufficiently to harvest for storing as seed.
Orchard fruits. Apples, pears, plums, and peaches are regarded as orchard fruits in most places, and do not require annual planting. The trees that bear these fruits require pruning and maintenance and usually take 2-3 years before producing their first, modest crop. When the trees begin producing fruit, the yield should increase yearly, and after they become mature and established, a single tree can produce bushels of fruit each year.

Develop a “farm plan” on the land you intend to use for your organic vegetable gardening. You will need to address specific issues in your planning, including wildlife encroachment, which may require fences or other permanent measures, sun exposures, since some plants require more sunlight to successfully produce than others, and topography, since tilling very steep ground is wrought with problems.

List all of the possible crops you will attempt to cultivate on your land. You should try to have as diverse a selection as possible to meet nutrition requirements mentioned earlier. You may be able to estimate a total yield per crop item by researching the growing success of others in your area, or by using information from the source you purchase your seed from. Using the list, and the planting plan you began earlier, you will need to calculate the amount of seed you will need. If you have lots of room, plant an excess to allow for poor performance until you have a firm grasp of what you are doing.
Plan to use your land as effectively as possible if you are limited in space. Except in very cold regions, you may expect to be able to grow and harvest summer, fall, winter, and spring crops. This will allow you to enjoy some fresh produce year around. Beets, carrots, cauliflower, snow peas, cabbage, onions, turnips, collards, mustard greens, and many other vegetables actually prefer growing in cold weather if the ground does not freeze. Winter crops are also much less subject to insect problems. If you are very tight on space, consider your alternatives (see Tips).

Plan on your storage method. If you are going to grow grains, you will need barns which will keep your stored harvest dry and safe from insects and vermin. It is likely that if you intend to produce all of the food you consume for yourself, you will find that a combination of storage and preservation methods will be useful. The above steps mention several of these methods, but as a recap, the usual methods for storing foods are:

Drying (or dehydration). This is a useful method for storing fruits and some vegetables. It can be done without high-tech gadgets in most fairly dry, warm climates.
Canning. This requires containers (which are reusable with the exception of lids, which may deteriorate over time) but does require proper preparation, cooking equipment, and skill. Pickling is considered in this article as a “canning” process, although it does not have to be so.
Freezing. This, again, requires some cooking preparation, as well as a freezer and proper containers.
Bedding. Not previously mentioned, this is a method for storing root crops such as potatoes, rutabagas, beets, and other root crops. It is accomplished by layering the product in a dry, cool, location in a straw bed.
In Ground Storage: Many root crops and cole crops can be overwintered in the garden. In most cases it is important to prevent the ground from freezing. Milder winter climates may only need a frost blanket. But colder climates may need mulch of up to a foot and a plastic covering. This type of storage is an effective way to save space and keep your produce fresh.

Determine the benefits of this activity compared to the cost. You will be investing a considerable amount of money in start-up costs if you do not have any materials and equipment available at the beginning. You will also have a lot of labor invested, which may translate into additional expense if you forgo a regular job to pursue this effort. Before investing a great deal of time and money, research your local growing conditions, available crop selections, and your ability to manage this labor-intensive effort. The benefits will include having food that you can enjoy without the worry of herbicides, pesticides, and other contaminants, except those used at your discretion.

Begin your project in stages. If you have abundant land and sufficient equipment, you can start on a fairly large scale, but unless you have sufficient knowledge and experience, you will be gambling that the plants you select are suitable for your soil and climate. Talking to people in your area will often provide you with the best source of specific information on selecting your crops and planting times, but if this is not an option, plant “trial” plantings of new crops the first year to see how well they produce. Begin on a smaller scale, perhaps trying to grow a set percentage of your food requirements to give you an idea of the total yield you can expect, and work your way up to a self-sufficient level.

Online organic food growing guides

There are also many online guides that are well worth the money in investing which can greatly cut a great deal of your time in learning about organic vegetable gardening. There are true professionals who have mastered the art of growing organic foods, and through their own passions, have written ebooks on this ever demanding subject


Food 4 Wealth is one of those guides, that can greatly assist you in launching your own organic vegetable garden, and at the same time guiding you through the most cost effective methods. Listed above are just some ideas on organic food growing. Through this guide, you can learn how to grow organic food with less than 8 hours of work a year. This is a breakthrough method for encountering rising food costs from major supermarkets.

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