The Organic Kitchen Garden
Is the kitchen garden a relic from the Victorian era? Definitely not. A few pots on a balcony or a small plot of dirt can make a perfect garden for even the occasional cook.
Keeping a thriving garden is one thing. Keeping a thriving organic garden is something else entirely. Organic gardeners must have an arsenal of natural techniques at the ready to deal with problem soil and pests. Despite all my efforts, I do end up losing a few plants every year to bugs or poor weather conditions. For instance, there was the year that we couldn’t eat any of the bell peppers we’d planted because they had all developed maggots. I still don’t really know why that happened. Then there was the summer that the ffava beans rotted because of all the rain that fell. Regardless, the thrill of cultivating a garden full of edible delicacies that taste so much better than their store-bought equivalents is more than worth the effort.
Here are the tricks I use to keep my garden producing herbs, fruit and vegetables.
Pick a garden-friendly site Full sun and shelter from constant wind is best.
Build in nutrient-rich soil Get composting; the best soil is deep, loose and full of organic matter.
Kill the competition Before you plant, give your garden lots of water for two weeks. Any weeds that may be lying dormant, will sprout. Use a hoe to gently remove them as soon as they appear. Plant your herbs and vegetables, and apply a layer of mulch.
Mix it up Intersperse flowers among the vegetables and herbs. Unlike beneficial insects, like bees and ladybugs, pests don’t like to navigate through plants they don’t like to get to the ones they do.
Keep it strong Vigorous plant growth helps keep the damage from insects at a minimum. Make sure that your plants aren’t suffering from drought or poor soil conditions.
Enjoy it Visit your plants every day. Walk through your garden or check in on your potted plants. A routine check will help you identify when your plants need your help.