15 Sep GOING ORGANIC ? Here’s How to Find Your Green Thumb
With a little planning, preparation, and determination you can become a full-fledged gardener! Here are some tips to turn your thumb green:
Don’t get ahead of yourself
While it may be exciting to fantasise about prize winning runner beans or terrific tomatoes, you’ll be harvesting in the very near future, baby steps are important in your first garden. Spend sensibly on your initial outlay, ie expensive tools etc. Start out with a few easy to maintain plants and a plan, to save time, energy, and frustration.
Nutrients, water, and sun are the three essential components plants need in order to thrive. It may seem obvious but when planning a garden, it’s important to make sure you’ve got this covered. Plants get all their nutrients from the soil, so make sure you’ve got rich, healthy soil to work with. Some plants grow well in drier, more clay-like soil, while some need richer, compost heavy dirt. Make sure that you know what you’ve got, so you can make an informed decision about which plants will be successful in your garden.
Get the Right Tools
Don’t be overwhelmed! To start with, you may only need a few select tools. You’ll need something to work the soil. A sturdy trowel is a good option here. If your soil is drier, you may also want to invest in a hand rake. This is a handy tool to turn up and oxygenate the soil. Watering your plants is also something to consider when purchasing tools. Don’t forget the pruner is super handy for maintaining plants. Most importantly, don’t forget gardening gloves!
Plant What You Love
Your chances of success will increase if you are excited about the things you are growing. Make a master list of all the plants you’d enjoy and go from there. Once you have a master list of the things you’d like to grow, you can narrow it down to the easiest to grow, and those best suited to your climate and garden situation.
Plant What Grows Where You Live
When starting your first garden, you probably want to start simply, with plants that grow easily and naturally in your area. For vegetable gardens, plant low maintenance, easy to grow crops like radishes, lettuces, onions, strawberries, or beans. These vegetables can handle a variety of water, sun, and soil conditions, so they are go-to plants for beginning gardens.
Starting From Seed?
Starting from seed is always exciting, but purchasing seedlings might be the way to go in a starters garden. I can vouch for this from personal experience! Seedlings have already been introduced to outside conditions, have multiple leaves, and can handle the shock of being transplanted into a garden bed. Planting from seed requires a little more care since the baby plants can be quite fragile. This can lead to frustration, and explitives!
Observe Other Gardeners from Time to Time, Take some Notes, and Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions. Even organic Gardeners were human once!
Gardening is a skill that comes with much practice. Every gardener has their own bag of tricks and tips, gleaned from experience. The best way to become a model gardener is to pay attention and experiment with your garden. Notice how your individual plants indicate that they need water, and what happens if they get too much? If one crop does poorly in a shady area, see what happens if you move it to full sun the following growing season. What sort of insects are in your garden, when, and what are they doing there? What happens if you prune a plant? You’ll be amazed at how green your thumbs become with little trial and error!
Don’t give up! You will have failed crops, and you will have success – that’s life! However the rewards of a bountiful harvest are plentiful and worth the trial and error! Sharing your harvest with your friends is the key to building stronger communities, and a healthier planet. It will also allow you to show off about your prize winning marrows!
Shop wholesale and bulk it up
Buy in bulk and you’ll save over the long haul. If wholesale shopping isn’t for you (we totally get if your conscious ethics clash with the notion of big stores), then at least opt for smart bulk shopping at your local organic grocer. I am frequently caught out loading up giant bags of organic spinach at half the price you might find at your grocery store. Never be caught with a single-serving bag of organic almonds!
Join an organic co-op
This is a win-win. Although some organic co-ops may require a membership, you’ll be buying into a business that supports your organic ethics and, in most cases, save money in the bigger picture. Co-ops often have great selections of bulk items and can also be a great opportunity to get in touch with local people who you may be able to trade with or buy from directly!
Try an organic food delivery service
These days there are several businesses that will deliver organic fruit and vegetables right to your doorstep. All of them have known me over the years. And they are often good quality. These services are also a great way to load up on discount offers – they usually include quite a few with every order!
Join a CSA (community-supported agriculture)
If you are really interested in organic food and supporting your local community and agriculture, this is a fantastic model: When you buy in to community-supported agriculture, you are truly supporting local farms and buying shares into a business model that helps everyone in the community. The CSA Network UK was launched in December 2013. CSAs allow you to volunteer time for your share, meaning you may have the chance to get your share for free – if you’re willing to do some organic dirty work!
Until organic is the norm (and thus prices become forced down), we all have to find ways to save a little dough on organic options. Do know there are ways to make it happen for you and your family with a little creative thinking!
What are your best tips for saving money on organic food? Let us know in the comments section below:
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‘Mind Body Cleanse’ by Chris James (Penguin Vermilion, £14.99). Available from here: https://www.chrisjamesmindbody.com/product/mind-body-cleanse-by-chris-james/https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mind-Body-Cleanse-Plan-Re-Energise/dp/1785040804
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