“The food you eat can be either the safest and the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”—Ann Wigmore
Throughout childhood, parents often teach their children that what they put into a situation is what they will get out. To this day, that age-old saying remains true and can be applied to the smallest circumstances or the largest plans of action, including organic gardening.
A major component to the growth and consumption of organic food and plants is that no pesticides may be used, whatsoever. While it may seem strange that it is not allowed to fend off garden-attacking creatures, there are a number alternative pesticide methods that can be used to ward off bothersome pests and don’t include harmful chemicals. The best methods for maintaining the garden are focused on the WWWH: what you plant, when you plant it, where you plant it and how you maintain it.
What you plant is extremely important. When deciding which vegetable variety to grow, it is imperative to select the plant varieties that have a known resistance to nematodes and diseases that are common in South Florida. Prevention is key; and flowers are another great resource because they provide nectar and pollen that help attract insects that are beneficial to the garden and help all of the products grow.
It is also important to keep in mind that every region has a particular season for when gardeners can plant their gardens. In South Florida, the planting season may seem like it lasts all year for all plants because of all the sunshine and rain, but in actuality, the seasons are only a few months long just like in other regions. If vegetables are planted out of season, they are extremely susceptible to a pest-attack and nobody wants to deal with that situation.
Along with sticking to the seasonal schedule, gardeners have to remember to rotate vegetables every year so that vegetable family members are not repeatedly planted in the same area. Plants in the same family tend to suffer from the same pest and disease problems, so it is best to move a particular plant or vegetable to a different spot in the garden so that the problem does not have a host to live off of in the soil.
The maintenance comes after the plants are nestled in their designated areas in the garden. While it is best to scout the garden every day, it is crucial that the garden is monitored at least twice a week. This is the time to check for pests or signs of disease, identify the beneficial insects that are paying a visit, remove unproductive plants and weeds and harvest any crops that are ripe.
Sticking to organic methods for growing and harvesting produce and herbs is not only more beneficial to the environment, but also creates an ecosystem that can be continually used for years to come. Gardening may not be as simple as dropping seeds into dirt, but with some hard work, dedication and patience, the benefits are endless and results are incredible.
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