Reported by foodem.com, the online wholesale food marketplace-
Growing your own food in an eco-friendly manner is all about working with the environment and harnessing the power of nature in order to bring the best out of your organic garden. The practice of sustainable gardening has shown its numerous potentials and benefits over the years for both the environment and human health. However, growing organic fruits and vegetables doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t make mistakes. Avoiding synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides is great, but not if you overdo or skip some other important steps. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes people make when growing their own food.
The importance of proper mulching
Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Essentially, it is the practice of covering the garden soil with organic or inorganic materials to affect both the soil and the growing plants. Its benefits include keeping weeds down, conserving water, improving the soil and creating a garden much more aesthetically pleasing. Unlike inorganic ones, organic mulches are completely natural as they are made from plant materials that decompose, thus staying in the soil.
It is important to know what to use as and how to apply it. According to Brisbane Tree Experts, you should not use live green materials in your mulch because this can extract nitrogen from the soil. Experts add that mulch must be applied to a depth of approximately 3 inches to optimize weed suppression and water retention. Never apply mulch directly around the plant’s base, and cover the root zones as much as possible.
Planting too closely, too deeply or too shallow
Planting seeds too closely to each other is one of the most common beginner mistakes. The young plants have to compete for water, sun and soil nutrients and a fair share of them do not survive in the process. Sometimes it is okay to plant seeds closer than usual, but only if you thin the patch and remove the (mostly edible) seedlings to leave enough space for other plants. Another good way is to leave some of those vegetable thinnings to serve as mulch.
However, it is advised to follow the instructions found on the seed packaging when it comes to the depth of planting. Generally speaking, larger seeds should be planted a bit deeper than the smaller ones, but planting them too deep will cause them to fail to sprout and they will not reach the surface. On the other hand, shallow planting will prevent stronger root growth and cause the young plant to fall out or the seed to simply dry out.
Fertilizing and compost – feeding both plants and the soil
Applying too much or too little fertilizer won’t produce healthy plants that grow the way they should. It is important to find the perfect amount of nitrogen to induce both vigorous growth and ripening in plants. Leafy green vegetables rely heavily on nitrogen, but you should not over-fertilize because this will prevent the plants from becoming ripe. The same goes for root vegetables – too much nitrogen and all you get is extreme growth and no ripe tubers. On the other hand, a couple of inches of compost will keep the soil fed by stimulating healthy microbe growth and neutralizing the negative effects of synthetic fertilizers at the same time.
Neglecting the benefits of insects and spiders
Not all insects are harmful for crops. Quite the opposite – they can be essential for the life of every garden. Bees and spiders are excellent examples of how insects may be extremely useful. Bees are pollinators, while spiders eat most of the harmful insects. Therefore, killing all forms of life, both harmful and harmless can have a detrimental effect on the quality of your plants. It is much better to use organic pest control solutions such as garlic insect repellent and watch your garden flourish.
About the Author: Mackenzie is an advocate of sustainable gardening. She believes that even the smallest urban corners can be transformed into small gardens where food can be produced.