Over the years and more and more it seems that we are distancing ourselves from the natural. In supermarkets we find processed food, very cheap, but with an artificial flavor. If we want to get fruits and vegetables with their authentic taste, we have to pay twice as much. A little curious, right? But hey, I’m not going to talk to you about that, but about how you can save money on your purchases by growing your own horticultural plants.
If you have even a small piece of land, take advantage of it to have plants that will give you delicious and, above all, very healthy fruits. In this special we will help you prepare your organic garden, take care of it and maintain it .
- How to start an organic garden
- 2 Horticultural plants: sowing, planting and harvesting
- 2.1 Sowing
- 2.2 Plantation
- 2.3 Collection
- 3 The importance of crop rotation
- 4 Pests and diseases in the organic garden
- 4.1 How to avoid pests and diseases
- 4.1.1 Association of plants in the orchard
- 4.2 How to eliminate pests and diseases
- 4.2.1 Parasites
- 4.2.2 Fungi
- 4.2.3 Viruses
- 4.2.4 Bacteria
- 4.1 How to avoid pests and diseases
How to start an organic garden
The first and most important thing to do is, of course, to prepare the soil. Having a rich, fertile soil, without stones, is essential for plants to grow properly. Therefore, before thinking about what crops you want to have, you must do the following:
- Remove the weeds , but do not remove them and throw them in the trash, but rather remove them and throw them in the compost heap that will later be used for composting. If the land is large, you can use a tiller.
- Now it’s time to remove the stones , especially the big ones. The cleaner it is from stones, the better.
- Then, we will proceed to fertilize , spreading a layer about 3-5cm thick all over the ground, and mixing it with the soil. If you already have the compost made, you can use it, but if not, use organic fertilizers, such as earthworm humus, which will aerate the soil, which will be very beneficial to the plants.
- (OPTIONAL): To prevent grass from growing, you can put a black plastic mulch with holes for plants , for sale in nurseries and online stores.
- Then, the irrigation system is installed , which in this case is recommended drip irrigation, or with exuding pipes. The first is highly, highly recommended if you live in a climate that receives a lot of solar radiation, in which it hardly rains, since the earth usually has a hard time absorbing the water that falls intensely, such as when torrential rain falls or if it is irrigated with a traditional hose; On the other hand, if it is by drip irrigation, it costs less, because it falls more slowly, and it is not lost.
Exuding irrigation pipes work very well for small horticultural plants, such as strawberries, lettuce, cabbages, etc. They are tubes full of pores that continually exude water, keeping the soil always moist.
- Now yes, now you can plant the plants you want, but putting them at a suitable distance so that they can develop well.
Horticultural plants: sowing, planting and harvesting
Once we have the land prepared, it is time to fill it with green, with plants. But how? In local markets and nurseries we find seedlings that are the right size to plant in the ground, but why not plant them ourselves? In this way, we will save a little money.
To do this, what we will do is acquire organic seeds at the end of winter/spring/beginning of summer (each plant has its most appropriate time), to sow them in seed trays using a universal cultivation substrate. We will place them in an area where they get direct sunlight, and we will keep the soil moist. They will germinate in a few days, and when they are about 5cm tall, they can be planted in the garden.
How are they planted? The truth is that it depends on the size that they will reach once they reach adulthood. They are usually planted either in rows or staggered, which are the two most useful methods for making the most of space.
- In rows: all those plants that are more or less tall, or that need a tutor, such as tomato plants, cucumbers, peas, garlic,… Leave a minimum distance of 20-25cm between plants.
- Staggered: those that are rather low are planted staggered, such as lettuce, endive, cabbage, strawberries, spinach,… A minimum distance of 30cm is usually left.
There are many plants that can be harvested in just a few weeks, but there are others that take a little longer. Still, it usually takes about three months. Anyway, I’m going to tell you how long the most common garden plants take:
- Onions : sown in January/February, harvested in mid-summer.
- Cucumbers : they are sown in April, and they are also harvested in mid-summer.
- Lettuces : they are sown in February, and they are harvested at the beginning of the summer.
- Radishes : they can be sown all year round, and they are harvested a month and a half later.
- Swiss chard – sown in late fall/early winter, harvested in spring.
- Garlic : they are sown at the beginning of winter, and harvested at the beginning of summer.
- Strawberries : they are sown at the beginning of winter, and they are harvested in spring.
- Courgettes : they are sown in spring and harvested in summer.
The importance of crop rotation
Surely you have ever heard or read about crop rotation. Well, it is something that has to be done, or at least it is recommended to be done to avoid, not only that the soil loses its nutrients, but also so that the plants do not have so many pests or diseases typical of their species.
There is a type of plants, legumes (fava beans, beans, peas) that fix Nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, so that in the next season other types of plants can be planted so that they can take advantage of that nitrogen and grow wonderfully. So how do you rotate crops?
- First group: In a plot or corner, the legumes that we have mentioned before will be planted, but also garlic, onions, leeks, lettuce, spinach, chard, celery and radishes.
- Second group: In another, the cabbage (all kinds: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts,…), broccoli and cabbage will be put.
- Third group: In another, all those plants that are grown for their roots, such as potatoes, carrots, turnips or beets, will be planted.
- Fourth group: And in another, perennial plants will be placed, such as fruit trees or shrubs (blueberry, citrus, etc.) and/or aromatic plants.
The first year and every 4 must follow this order, but not the rest:
- During the second year, the second group must be placed in the first, those of the third group in the second, and those of the first in the third, that is, it would be like this 2, 3, 1, 4.
- In the third year, those from the third group go to the first, those from the first go to the second, and those from the second go to the third, thus leaving 3, 1, 2, 4.
- During the fourth year they would return to the initial layout, and from then on they would start over.
Pests and diseases in the organic garden
How to avoid pests and diseases
Horticultural plants are an attraction for all kinds of insects, unfortunately. However, we can do several things to avoid them:
- They must be kept well watered . This means that it should be watered several times a week, especially during the summer, but avoiding waterlogging. In the event that you live in the Mediterranean, or in an area where the sun is very intense, you may be forced to water every day.
Never wet the leaves, stems or flowers.
- As important as the irrigation is the subscriber . When a plant is well fertilized, it is very difficult for it to be attacked by pests. For this reason, it is advisable to fertilize with organic fertilizers throughout the growth and fruiting season.
- You do not have to plant the plants very close together , since otherwise the continuous friction between the leaves could be more than enough for fungi, viruses or bacteria to attack them.
- Another very effective preventive measure is associating plants , but this deserves an individual section.
Association of plants in the garden
The association of plants aims to prevent, as far as possible, the orchard from being attacked by pests.
- Vegetables + Calendula: to combat worms, aphids and bedbugs.
- Carrot + Aromatic plants (such as sage, rosemary or thyme): to combat ants and aphids.
- Tomato + Garlic: to combat mildew and tomato rot.
- Cucurbitaceae + Nasturtium: to combat worms, aphids and snails.
- Vegetables + Chives: to combat rust.
- Leek + Garlic: to combat flies on leeks.
It is very important to maintain the distance between plants so that both one and the other can grow well.
How to eliminate pests and diseases
The pests and diseases that most affect them are:
- Aphids : they are tiny insects, less than 0.5cm long, that suck the sap from leaves and stems. He is often seen together with ants. It can be combated by taking some seven-spot ladybugs ( Coccinella septempunctata ) and putting them near the affected plant. there will be a great feast!
- Thrips : they are insects about 2mm long, black in color, reminiscent of earwigs. They can be controlled/fighted by setting blue sticky traps.
- Red spider: these arachnids are very small. It affects all plants, especially during the summer. The most advisable thing is to cut the affected parts and treat the plant with Neem Oil.
- Whitefly: They are very easy to recognize, especially when we touch the stems. To combat it and/or keep it under control, it is advisable to plant rosemary and/or basil, and place sticky traps for whiteflies.
- Rust: characterized by the appearance of reddish pustules on the underside of the leaves. It can be controlled by making an infusion with 100 grams of horsetail (Equisetum), using 1l of water. It is applied with a sprayer.
- Powdery mildew: it is characterized by creating a whitish layer on the leaves. It can also be controlled with horsetail infusions.
- Mildew: it is characterized by causing yellow spots on all parts of the plant. It can be controlled, even prevented, by treating the soil in spring or fall with copper or sulfur, but if you have pets, use horsetail tea instead.
- Bold: it is characterized by the appearance of a black layer that covers leaves, stems and fruits. It is a fungus that is associated with the molasses secreted by aphids and whiteflies, so these two insects must be treated so that the fungus is weakened.
- Potato virus: you will know that it has this virus if you see that the nerves of the leaves begin to look blackish. It is combated by eliminating wild grasses, and also the affected parts of the plants.
- Suntan virus: this is a virus whose transmitters are thrips. It is characterized by the appearance of annular spots on leaves and fruits, which discolor them. Thrips must be eliminated for the virus to disappear.
- Tomato mosaic virus: produces mosaic-like spots of green tones on leaves. To avoid this, it is very important that we wash our hands well when we go to work in the garden.
- Bacterial canker: it is characterized by producing elongated spots on leaves and stems, and circular spots on fruits. The best method is preventive, avoiding wounds and deep cuts, and putting healing paste on them in case drastic pruning is done.
- Wet or soft rot: it is characterized by the appearance of a damp and opaque spot on the fruit, which gradually rots. To avoid this, sprinkler irrigation is discouraged, as this is an irrigation technique that favors bacteria.
- Angular spot of Cucurbitaceae: It is characterized by causing lesions on the edges of the leaves. These spots gradually spread, and wither the leaf. It can be prevented by avoiding excess moisture.
Let me tell you something important regarding insects and others: being an organic garden, there needs to be . It is only advisable to treat them when they are really affecting production.
And so far our special on this type of garden so incredible. Enjoy it with health