A garden is a constantly growing, living system. It has its time of production and rest during seasons. To keep this rhythm going throughout the year, organically, is a feat you can master. Just by following these steps in this guide, you’ll soon be kicking synthetic products to the curb and welcoming in a whole new organic garden lifestyle.
Winning spring garden tips, with an organic twist
Before you set off on starting to work, make sure to cover the basics — like the philosophy of an organic garden. Premised on optimizing soil health, certified organic must meet the requirements of:
- Avoiding artificial colours and preservatives
- Always using free-range methods (for livestock)
- Not routinely using antibiotics
- Excluding genetically modified ingredients
- Embracing fewer pesticides
And if you need more reasons to choose organic, head on over to our organic guide for beginners. From creating an environmentally conscious space to just reaping the rewards of healthier eating, there are so many reasons why gardeners convert to organic — and you will want to, too!
Now, we take these principles and apply them to the early spring months of August and September. From these checklists, you’ll get a basic idea of the important tasks of each month, how to tackle both your fruit and vegetable garden and caring for indoor plants during cooler spring months. However, you will need to address your particular climate, how much frost you receive and access to water if you live in a dry region.
Put pesticides aside — start organic gardening
We break down organic gardening into the three basic steps of garden prep, caring and maintenance, so you can carry on with your efforts well into the future.
First things first — soil prep and composting. We cannot emphasise enough the importance of healthy, nutritionally rich soil. The value of soil is paramount to your garden’s success. And no surprises, it is hugely dependent on actively composting. Get started on making your own compost and the basics with composting 101. From there, you can start testing your soil pH, mix in some compost, garden clippings and good ol’ manure. You’ll avoid chemicals getting absorbed by plants, maintain a good balance of bacteria and other microbes, and foster a prime environment for earthworms. Another great hack — using hair to add nitrogen to your soil. Clean out your combs and brushes for a happier garden. You can thank us later.
Picking your plants
Next, the fun part — picking what you will plant. For this step, as we suggested earlier, you will need to look at the micro conditions of your region. Consider elements of each plant’s needs and what your space can provide in terms of light, moisture, soil drainage and the quality of your soil. We suggest researching the climate by using Gardenate’s handy resource for August, for selections of South Africa’s humid subtropical, dry summer subtropical, semi-arid, and summer rainfall regions.
Next up — active gardening and planting crops. Once you have considered the crops you want to plant, explore your available garden space. Choose a decent spot that receives sun six hours a day, and plan accordingly with helpful apps. As for watering, stick to a set schedule. We suggest mornings, at the base of plants. This reduces losing water to evaporation at warmer times of the day and avoids creating damp conditions at night that will invite fungi and bacteria damage.
Newbie green thumbs, meet elbow grease. To truly embrace organic gardening requires a little bit of extra effort like manual weeding. But there is a way to make it easier. Use mulch, burlap or fabric, or wood chips to suppress weeds instead of using artificial pest control. Pull out weeds as soon as you see them to avoid them maturing and causing more problems later on.
You’ve put in the effort, now don’t let it go to waste. Keep tending to your garden for optimum results.
Get comfortable with having natural predators in your garden. Invite in birds, toads, and lizards to help combat the insects that could munch away at your precious young stems and leaves. Including plants with blossoms will attract bees to help pollinate plants. Use organic alternatives to pesticides with organic insecticides or sprays, horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps, garlic, or hot pepper sprays.
Harvesting and cleaning
And for the final steps, harvesting. If you are harvesting herbs or leafy greens, make sure to clip above leaf nodes to avoid damaging your plant and encourage better production. Pick herbs just before food prep and harvest leafy greens infrequently from your entire crop to not hack away at any one plant.
Keep an eye on plants throughout the seasons. Keep healthy plants, but remove expired and sick plants entirely. Don’t let disease stick around. Rake up all infected material, and either bury it deeply or burn it in a fire.
Get obsessed with organic gardening
All the best on your journey to growing and enjoying produce from your organic garden. For more ideas or advice on tips or solutions, contact us.