One of my favorite hobbies is growing plants. The house has its fair share of house plants and Orchids. The front garden and driveway have an abundance of fragrant roses but the annual vegetable bed is my pride and joy. Since I have allergies to most chemicals my gardening is primarily organic.
My basic requirements for a successful organic vegetable garden is fertilizer, water, and full sun. Since I have access to a very large supply of organic horse manure I am not at a loss for fertilizer. The manure also doubles as a great soil additive that will help even the poorest of soils. The horse manure is aged and composted for at least 3 months before being added to the vegetable bed. At that time the composted manure is very dark and soil like. It looks almost like top quality potting soil. I wheelbarrow enough composted manure to cover the top of the vegetable bed to a depth of 6-9 inches. I then water it thoroughly and let it sit for 2 weeks. During that time in very early spring, earthworms will work their way up from the soil into the compost. The earthworms do a great job of the rototilling of the garden bed for me. During the same time, I watch for weed seedlings and pull them out by hand each day.
Picking out the right vegetables for your garden depends on your locality. In my area, strawberries and other fruits are what it is noted for. I do grow strawberries but I also choose vegetables that are not normally found in the local supermarkets. When choosing what to grow I go for the more expensive or rarer fruits and vegetables.
Pest control is totally natural. I do not use any kind of pesticide. I find that the plants, when grown in the composted manure are stronger and more resistant to insect pests. They tend to attract ladybugs which in turn like to eat aphids, a major pest in most vegetable gardens. To avoid fungus problems such as powdery mildew I just water early in the day. Leaving water on the plants overnight is the major cause of powdery mildew.
We are on well water that has been tested to be highly pure and soft. Years ago I lived in the city and had a small vegetable garden in our backyard. The tap water I used was very hard and high in chemical additives such as fluoride and other chemicals to kill bacteria. I found the water was not very good for the vegetables. In order to grow a decent garden where I had tap water, I collected rain water in plastic barrels during the rainy season. Later we installed a water purifier and the garden faired much better.
Full sunshine is very important in making a vegetable garden a success. My garden is blessed with long full sunshine from late winter to the first frost in October. I am in a mild climate area so scorching summer heat is not a problem. Our nights are still cool and the days can be long during our summers, with sunrise at 5am and sunset at 9pm.
When is comes time to harvest the fruits and vegetables of my labor I always am reminded of the delicious taste of home raised organic food. The tomatoes have much more flavor than the store bought ones. My lemon cucumbers are never tart or bitter like some of the green cucumbers I have bought at the supermarket. I always have more than enough strawberries for all kinds of desserts and smoothies. My advice to you is go organic with your garden. You will save money on not having to buy chemical fertilizers and pesticides, plus you will have the best tasting fruit and vegetables around.