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, huh? 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 plants horticultural.
If you have even a small plot 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. Don’t miss it .
How to start an organic garden
The first and foremost thing to do is, of course, prepare the land. 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 should do the following:
- Remove the herbsbut do not remove them and throw them away, but rather remove them and throw them into the compost heap that will later be used to fertilize (here! we tell you how to do it). If the field is large, you can use a rototiller.
- Now is the time to remove the stonesespecially the big ones. The cleaner it is of stones, the better.
- Then, we will proceed to paypouring a layer about 3-5cm thick all over the land, and mixing it with the earth. If you already have the compost made, you can use it, but if not, use organic fertilizers, such as worm castings, which will aerate the earth, which will be very beneficial to the plants.
- (OPTIONAL): To prevent grass from growing, you can put a black plastic mulch with holes for the plantsfor sale in nurseries and online stores.
- Then the irrigation system is installedwhich in this case drip irrigation is recommended, 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 it is often difficult for the earth to absorb the water that falls intensely, such as when a 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, since it falls more slowly, and is not lost.
Exuding irrigation pipes are great for small horticultural plants, such as strawberries, lettuce, cabbage, etc. They are tubes full of pores that continuously exude water, keeping the earth 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, we have to fill it with green, with plants. But how? In local markets and nurseries we find seedlings of the right size to be planted in the ground, but Why not sow them ourselves? In this way, we will save a little money.
For this, what we will do is buy organic seeds in late winter / spring / early summer (each plant has its most suitable time), to be sown in seedling trays using universal growing medium. We will place them in an area where direct sunlight hits them, and we will keep the soil moist. They will germinate in a few days, and when they are about 5cm high, they can be planted in the garden.
How are they planted? The truth is that it depends on the size they are going to 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 the space.
- In rows: all those plants more or less tall, or that need a tutor, such as tomato plants, cucumbers, peas, garlic, … A minimum distance of 20-25cm is left between plants.
- Staggered: those that remain rather low are planted in a staggered fashion, such as lettuces, endives, cabbages, 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, they usually take about three months. Anyway, I’m going to tell you how long the most common garden plants take:
- Onions: sown in January / February, and harvested in mid-summer.
- Cucumbers: they are sown in April, and are also harvested in mid-summer.
- Lettuce: sown in February, and harvested in early summer.
- Radishes: they can be sown all year round, and are harvested a month and a half later.
- Chard: sown in late fall / early winter, and harvested in spring.
- Garlic: sown in early winter, and harvested in early summer.
- Strawberries: sown in early winter, and harvested in spring.
- Zucchini: they are sown in spring, and harvested in summer.
The importance of crop rotation
Surely you have ever heard or read this about crop rotation. Well, it is something that has to be done, or that at least it is recommended to do to avoid, not only that the earth loses its nutrients, but also so that the plants do not have so many pests or diseases own of its species.
There is a type of plants, legumes (beans, beans, peas) that fix Nitrogen from the atmosphere to the soil, so 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 are crops rotated?
- 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, put the cabbages (all kinds: cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, …), broccoli and cabbage.
- 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 (blueberries, citrus fruits, etc.) and / or aromatic ones.
The first year and every 4 years should be followed in this order, but not the rest:
- During the second year, the second group should be put in the first, those of the third group in the second, and those of the first in the third, that is, it would be 2, 3, 1, 4.
- In the third year, those of the third group go to the first, those of the first go to the second, and those of the second go to the third, thus leaving 3, 1, 2, 4.
- During the fourth year they would return to the initial arrangement, and from then on they would start over.
Pests and diseases in the organic garden
How to avoid pests and diseases
Horticultural plants are a draw for all kinds of insects, sadly. 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 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 growing and fruiting season.
- Plants do not have to be planted close togethersince 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 plantsbut this deserves an individual section .
Association of plants in the garden
The plant association aims to avoid, as far as possible, that the garden is attacked by pests.
- Vegetables + Calendula: to combat worms, aphids and bed bugs.
- Carrot + aromatic plants (like sage, rosemary or thyme): to fight ants and aphids.
- Tomato + Garlic: to combat mildew and tomato rot.
- Cucurbits + Nasturtium: to combat worms, aphids and snails.
- Vegetables + Chives: to combat rust.
- Layman + Garlic: to combat flies on leeks.
It is very important to maintain the distance between plants so that both can grow well.
How to eliminate pests and diseases
The pests and diseases that affect them the most are:
- Aphid: they are tiny insects, less than 0cm long, that suck the sap from the leaves and stems. He is often seen together with ants. It can be fought by catching some seven-point ladybugs (Coccinella septempunctata) and put them near the affected plant. There will be a great feast!
- Trips: they are insects about 2mm long, black in color, reminiscent of earwigs. They can be controlled / fought by putting 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.
- White fly: 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: It is 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 spray.
- 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 in all parts of the plant. It can be controlled, even avoided, if the soil is treated in spring or autumn with copper or sulfur, but if you have pets, use the infusion of horsetail better.
- 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 honeydew secreted by aphids and whiteflies, so these two insects must be treated so that the fungus is weakened.
- Potato virus: You will know that you have this virus if you see that the nerves of the leaves begin to look blackish. It is fought by eliminating the wild grasses, and also the affected parts of the plants.
- Tan virus: this is a virus whose transmitters are thrips. It is characterized by the appearance of annular spots on leaves and fruits, which they discolor. Thrips must be eliminated for the virus to disappear.
- Tomato mosaic virus: produces mosaic-like spots of green hues on leaves. To avoid this, it is very important that we wash our hands well when we go to work in the garden.
- Bacterial chancre: It is characterized by producing elongated spots on leaves and stems, and circular spots on the fruits. The best method is preventive, avoiding deep wounds and cuts, and putting healing paste on them in the event of drastic pruning.
- Wet or soft rot: It is characterized by the appearance of a humid and opaque spot on the fruit, which little by little is rotting. To avoid this, sprinkler irrigation is discouraged, since this is an irrigation technique that favors bacteria.
- Angular spot of Cucurbits: It is characterized by causing lesions on the edges of the leaves. These spots gradually spread, and wilt 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 incredible type of garden. Enjoy it with health .
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