Organic gardeners are busily cutting out sections of lawn, retiring flower beds, building raised vegetable beds and spending lots of spare time playing in the dirt. 

In fact, many are first-timers, tilling the soil to save money on grocery bills. 

Growing your own organic vegetables offers additional benefits: 

  • Freshness and flavor
  • The ability to exercise control over what your family eats
  • Convenience
  • Healthful exercise
  • Family activity time 

Here are 5 tips for getting started from the experts at Bonnie Plants, a green-garden wholesaler in Union Springs, AL: 

  1. Pick your plot. Most vegetables thrive when exposed to plenty of sun, so pick a plot that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sun every day. It’s OK to plant leafy greens like lettuce and spinach in shadier spots, but get them in the ground in the cooler part of the season. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash do best in the hotter months.
  2. Think outside the box planter. Get creative with space. You don’t need a huge yard to plant a veggie patch. Try planting lettuce under tomato vines, or mix veggies into flower beds among the colorful blooms.
  3. Give veggies a raise. Try raised beds, which offer an easy solution to planning out a plot. They’ll enable you to use near-perfect soil, better organize your garden, improve drainage and more easily maintain your plants. Timesaving tip: Use transplants instead of seeds.
  4. Opt for natural/organic plant food. Be sure to use safe, organic and all-natural products in your garden. Research shows plants are healthier when gardeners use organically based foods in lieu of chemical options.
  5. Water wisely. One inch of water per week is adequate for most vegetables. Soaker hoses or drip systems deliver water efficiently and keep foliage dry, fending off leaf diseases. 

Tune in tomorrow for a list of Bonnie Plants’ favorite seasonal planting picks. 

Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants/ARA