All the plants that we currently grow are organic, at least the ones we consume or use in products. Organic Gardening offers many great benefits!

When TJ and I met, we both already had some plants that are not organic, but none are ones we eat. They are just some random succulents and house plants.

All the ones since have been organic, and at least 95% of our plants were started from seed.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most proficient gardener. I’ve killed plenty of plants and constantly find things that I could be doing better.

After doing this for a while, I have found that it really isn’t hard to raise these plants. Despite the fact our entire trailer is full of plants. We have special beds we build by hand in the windows and we have pots of all shapes and sizes. We even build a garden bed outside, we literally just cram as many plants won’t die from lack of sun or knocked over by a dog.

It is an important aspect of our family. Organic gardening allows us to connect as a unit and produce wholesome food that we can watch grow. We know exactly what conditioned our produce was raised in and can be sure that it is organically grown.

This provides us an unimaginable comfort, we know that there were no harsh pesticides used on our foods. Furthermore, we are able to control our own compost, so we can fertilize is naturally as well.

In this article, I wanted to offer my top five tips on how to start as an organic gardener. As well as add our personal experiences and learning curves.

Planning It Out

Starting out it is very important that you are aware of what you or your family eats. This is difficult because it requires us to know exactly how much of every kind of food we eat.

It sounds terrible but it’s truly not.

We figured up the basics, like how much lettuce, broccoli, kale, lemons, or tomatoes we eat in a weeks time. Then we moved through our common dinner plans and revised them around what we could grow in our area.

So, once you have an idea what you eat, and around how many of each vegetable and fruits you eat, you need to then research how many plants that should equate to.

There are a plethora of great blogs and individuals that share this information, how much they produce and how it works for them

Consume this information voraciously 

Read, read it again, read more, then find more to read based on what you just finished reading about.

It is so important to cast the broadest net to find your specific questions

This reminds me of something I had read regarding early Buddha texts. In the beginning, the Buddha taught his enlightenment orally, and there existed no written version of his divine teachings. Years and years later, people had passed these teachings from one generation to next.

Eventually, they wrote them down into what became the Pali Canon.

My point is that to understand The Buddha had taught one thing, and it was passed down and down only orally. So we are led to believe that there must be a form of corruption in the story.

And there was

However, compiling large amounts of information from Buddhist teachers and those who heard the lessons to get a picture of the entire thing.

Treat the internet the same way

Get specific, research everything you want to know and cross-reference everything you need until you feel that you have a truly objective opinion on the matter.

It is truly the only way to grow in this area other than knowing someone who has grown organic foods for a long time and is professional at it.

We are grateful for our friends who are aware of organic foods, but we only know one family who lives similar to us. They are the ones we receive all of our eggs from, as well as delicious and lean ground bison.

So, the internet is vital, research the plants you like, how they grow, the soil conditions, how much water to use, what food to use, what macro and micronutrients to use, and common pests and diseases. Anything and everything would be useful to know, even if it is not currently applicable to us.

Keep a Book of Your Plants

I find it important to have a timeline of what you plan on growing, what you plan on purchasing, and when you plan on needing it.

We kept journals full of pages of seed prices and lists and used a Territorial Seed Catalog in order to also write down the days to harvest, the sunlight needs, the watering needs, seed packet prices, how many seeds in a pack, and any other information that we really saw at all relevant.

This mentality is I believe what has kept us successful, we are constantly trying to research everything in as much depth as possible.

We currently grow about 50-60 varieties of plants and have successfully harvested from many of them.

Not every plant made it, not every one looked as good as it currently does, but we do document and make sure that our failures are understood rather than feared. We find it very important to take pictures of our plants often and more importantly, unbiased ones. What I mean is that while uploading our pictures on here or showing them elsewhere I am not the type of man that would think, “Oh no, these plants don’t look pretty, their aesthetics will make people laugh at me.”

I genuinely don’t care

Regardless of what people think about them, I still have my plants.

Keep track of them realistically, and remember regardless of how they do, keep writing all the information you can down. This will also allow encouragement because you will be able to have a tangible view of how your garden is doing. I am a huge numbers person, and I love statistics and I see this as no different.

Keep a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet if you can, it all helps to build confidence in yourself as a gardener because you can see what you’re doing right and where you can improve.

Reading About Organic Gardening

I know that I’ve already mentioned this but could not stress enough how important it is. We are constantly on the lookout at local stores for books on any topic that interests us, but for this post, we’ll keep it to organic gardening.

Let me explain my reason for reading, it condenses any timeline of information into a digestible handheld format. It could have taken man 500 years to learn how to domesticate and harvest a certain plant or animal, but within hours I could have read all of the information that they shared that allowed their success.

A specific example is a book called For Better Gardens by Ronald A Browne. It has nothing to do with anything that I was doing at the time I was reading the book, but what the hell does that matter?

It’s knowledge, it’s understanding, it was the compilation of this man’s entire garden workings in a summary, and I was able to experience and share it.

And since then I have found the use for some of what I learned in that book, and I’m sure most of you would too.

Scavenge local bookstores and libraries.

There is another easy way to access books. Research what books you want to read on the topics of your interest, then google for pdf files. Some offer free versions online that you can read for free. This a great way to get this information for free. I am 100% a fan of physical books and prefer them much more than digital, but I read what I have access to.

This includes online eBook copies of the writings that I am interested in, it is all knowledge. Even though you may know a lot, there is always much more that you do not know.

Do Everything as Cheap as Possible

We shop as cheap as we can, not that we are super stingy but many of us waste a lot of money without really realizing it.

We shop second hand, or if we can we always try to build what we need. For example, our dog bed. We have two dogs that add up to roughly 200 pounds, so we needed a cage a bit larger than the ones we had, and cheaper than the ones that we were finding.

For each of them to have one, we would have spent hundreds on this, for something we don’t plan to use often. Organic gardening does not have to be expensive!

So, with some spare wood, we built an enormous dog bed, and it was so large that we converted it into a table for our kitchen

At this point, there is nothing but plants on it, but it’s still a functioning table.

But it worked perfectly, we built it, so it would detach in the middle, so it would be light and easy to move out of the house.

So, find cheap lumber, build what you can and do not worry about the appearance if that’s your concern you should reevaluate your priorities.

We also built a small winter greenhouse that we had purchased for $20 at the Habitat for Humanity store. We built a small greenhouse that allowed us to start crops early, as well as keep some over the winter and now they are excelling.

We have harvested from this winter bed far more money in produce than our initial costs, so we really did well here. We are firm believers in doing things ourselves and know that we saved a lot compared to buying popular brands of raised beds or winter gardens.

Our Kitchen Table/Dog Bed
Checking the Winter Garden

The Importance of Family and Friends For Organic Gardening

Allow your friends and family to support you, and if you don’t have any that do, come to our blog and meet like-minded people.

We share our adventures with our friends, we show our plants, our dogs, we discuss issues we have, or others do in their adventure with organic foods and organic gardening. It is vital, doing it on your own is by far harder, and you’ll save stress just showing humility and admitting you need help or you don’t know something.

Share everything, be passionate about what you want to do and share it with those you care about. If they do care, they will help you on your journey.

On a side note, I have a partner that is as truly happy and interested with these topics as me, and I promise that is all the more encouragement for the soul

Organic gardening is a rewarding experience, it provides us with both physical and mental exercise, and provides a beautiful mental clarity.

Thank you for reading, share with us what you grow and tips for Organic Gardening!

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