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Want to Grow an Organic Garden? Here's How to Get Started

Gardening is awesome. It's therapeutic, it's productive, and it brings people back to a connection with their food that is missing in most modern humans. If you're going to develop a green thumb, develop it organically. 

Follow these tips to growing your first organic garden.

Gardening is a useful, spiritual hobby.


Composting is the height of going green. Taking what would have been food waste and converting it into new soil out of which new food will grow is not only the organic concept epitomized, but it's great for your garden. When composted, biological waste becomes what gardeners refer to as "black gold," a fertile, nutrient-dense soil, out of which anything can grow.

It's easy and cheap to get started. With a ready supply of compost, you'll never need chemical fertilizers.

Pick Your Spot

Preparing a garden depends on where you live and how much space you have. If you have a yard, pick an area that is flat and exposed to sun for at least half of the day. If your yard pools up or doesn't drain well, you should build a raised garden bed.

Prepare Your Garden

Smother any grass, weeds, and other vegetation by spreading newspaper over the entire surface of what will be your garden. Spread a few inches of soil over the newspaper. This will smother and kill grass and most weeds. Top your soil with organic compost, which you can buy if your compost isn't ready yet.

Check your soil's acid and alkaline with a pH test. It should generally be between 6.2 and 6.8.

Choose Your Plants

If this is your first garden, keep it simple. Don't get too many different kinds of plants or plants that flourish in different conditions. Herbs are a good place to start, and flower gardens are beautiful and fairly easy. Go to your local nursery and talk to someone about the specifics of your garden, its size, how much sun it gets, etc.

Stay Educated

You're going to have a steep learning curve. The plants don't grow themselves. You're going to have to deal with pests, temperature shifts, diseases, and other threats that are unique to your specific plants.

If you grow basil, go through the dozens of blogs that are dedicated just to that and find one or two you like. Log off of Facebook for a few minutes, browse your blogs, and become an expert in your craft.

Tailor your garden to your space, your needs, and your style.

The best thing about having your own garden is it's yours alone. What you grow and how you grow it is a reflection of who you are. The things you grow will bring beauty and happiness into your life.

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. He writes about the green movement and conducts reviews.