It’s always the right time of year to grow produce if you know how to develop that proverbial green thumb. Whether you’re trying to grow basil in your window or corn out in your back yard, here are some quick and easy organic gardening tips you can use to ensure you always have a plentiful harvest.
Selecting a climbing plant. Climbing plants are usually container-grown, although occasionally they are sold as bare-root plants. Choose a healthy looking plant with a good framework of both established stems and new shoots. Turn the pot over, and check to see if there are any young roots growing out of the holes in the bottom. If so, this means that the plant is well-rooted. Reject any plant that is potbound (meaning you can’t easily remove it from the pot).
Attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Certain plants are highly attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds due to their nectar. Hummingbirds tend to favor any flower that is shaped like a trumpet, especially if it is pink, red or purple. Examples of these are honeysuckle, fuchsia and monarda. Butterflies like flat, daisy-like flowers, such as chrysanthemums, asters and coneflowers. Choose a sunny position, as both butterflies and hummingbirds appreciate the warmth.
Divide large clumps of perennials. Some perennial plants lose vigor and flower less well if the clump becomes too large. Plants like Shasta daisies, bearded irises, phlox, chrysanthemum and coneflower benefit from being divided every three years. Without division they become congested, and the center of the clump will begin to die out. Simply dig the entire plant out, keeping the root ball intact, and divide it into pieces using a shovel. By doing this, you will have at least two or three new plants!
For gardeners in colder climates who want to get their plants started in the outdoor garden a little early, use plastic milk jugs for mini-greenhouses. Cut the bottom off of a milk jug and place over the plant, pushing the jug into the ground enough to keep it in place. Remove the milk jug cap during sunny, but still somewhat chilly days to allow for some air circulation and replace the cap at night to keep the warmth in. When the days are a bit warmer, remove the jug during the day, only replacing it at night, and slowly let your plant acclimate to the weather.
Use water efficiently as possible. One of the most precious resources in the world today is fresh water. It just cannot be wasted, so the use of mulch and soaker hoses are an efficient way to minimize the impact of the garden on the water supply. Consider having a rain barrel near the garden to capture and save rainwater for a minimal impact garden.
Perhaps the most important thing that you will focus on as an organic gardener is your health. It might not start out that way, but once you realize the benefits of going organic, you will start to build healthy habits. Make sure you use the tips here instead of letting them fall by the wayside.