Basics of Backyard Organic Veggies
Hopefully, you were lucky enough to get a hold of some free Ringers organic veggie seeds this year! If you’re a novice you may be wondering…Now what?
No worries! We have you covered with a few simple instructions to get you on the path towards a successful organic vegetable garden right in your own backyard! Whether it’s health, taste, quality, food safety, sustainability, or simply just to get outside more; the reasons for starting your own food garden are boundless.
In this post we will be covering basic food garden necessities. Our next post will focus on how to specifically grow the seeds we have provided / Kale, Cucumbers, Lettuce, and Cosmic Purple Carrots!
Here are the essentials /
Sunlight – Lot’s of it! Most fruits and vegetables require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. The cucumber, kale, and lettuce we have handed out can tolerate more limited sun conditions, but will still need 5-6 hours. If these conditions do not occur on your property, consider teaming up with a neighbor who has the right growing conditions. Also, don’t be afraid to utilize your front yard!
Watering - Unlike the native plants we install, vegetables need consistent irrigation attention. Plan on watering your vegetables every day in the early morning or late evening. If this is too much of a time commitment, consider a drip irrigation system hooked up to a battery powered timer connected to your spigot. This is also a great way to conserve water, as it is highly efficient at getting the water directly to the plants roots.
High Quality Soil/Compost – This is where it’s at! Having a rich, biologically active soil will provide the foundation for healthy, resilient, and highly productive vegetable plants. If your garden will be plotted on the ground, mounded rows of 8-12″ of a soil compost mix will do the trick. If you’re in the city or planting on a former building site, be sure to have the existing soil tested for lead. Raised beds should also contain at least 8-12″ of high quality soil/compost mix. At Ringers we use Midwest Organics Compost , which we always have a bulk supply of at our shop. Give us a call if you need a couple yards to get started!
Pest Control – It’s a simple reality that your garden will be a tempting buffet for deer and rabbits. Pest-proofing your garden is a must. This most often comes in the form of a fence, which can be a beautiful addition to the gardens overall aesthetic. Fences should not have any openings larger than 1″x2″ to keep rabbits out, and should be 6-8′ tall to discourage deer. It’s also important to set the fence at least 3-6″ below ground.
Companion plantings of annual and perennial flowers can help attract beneficial insects which will keep other insect pests in check and keep your site biologically diverse. Consider planting marigolds, nasturtium (edible), and sunflowers!
Access – Always consider accessibility when laying out your garden beds. Walking paths not only allow for ease of use, but they always keep your soil healthy by helping to avoid any potential compaction issues – remember we want maximum oxygen in our soil! Paths should be between 2 – 4′ wide for maximum bed tending accessibility and can be made from mulch, crushed stone, straw or any other somewhat durable landscape material.
Finally, remember your food garden can be beautifully integrated into your existing landscape just by making a few smart material choices. Don’t let preconceived notions of a vegetable garden sway you from trying something new…Get creative! Below : Check out the awesome before/after from one of our clients last year.
With these 5 essential food garden elements you’ll be well on your way to a successful food garden!
Next, check out our blog post titled “Organic Veggie Seed Instructions” for details on how to grow the seeds we have provided.