Category Archives: Home & Garden

Organic Chemical Free Gardening

Each year there are thousands upon thousands of gallons of chemicals being poured into the environment. Why? Many gardeners and farmers are using toxic chemicals in their garden. The chemicals leech into the produce that we ingest. Rain washes the chemicals from the vegetables and into the ground. There are many ways these chemicals get there, but the point is it can be prevented.

organic garden

Use these ideas to make the switch from chemicals to chemical-free gardening and start doing your part to prevent these chemicals from destroying our Earth.

You don’t need pesticides if there are no pests.

Many plants have their own defense systems when it comes to warding off would-be predators. They naturally produce chemicals that ward off animals. Some of these plants include

  • basil – repels flies and mosquitos
  • garlic – repels rabbits
  • catnip – repels ants, cockroaches, beetles, and aphids
  • oregano – repels most pests
  • rosemary – repels slugs and snails

Plant any of these in and around your garden to cut back the need for pesticides. You can also use these in recipes and DIY projects.

crops

If you’d rather not have these crops growing in your garden you can use natural sprays of vanilla, lavender, and/or hot pepper on your plants.

Reach in and pull out the weeds.

Weedkiller is a temptation for many gardeners. It’s definitely much easier to spray it on than to pull each individual weed but easier is rarely better. If you do regular check and pulls then it wouldn’t take much time to keep your garden weed-free. Pull them when you see them and you’re done. The fresh air will help you in the long run.

garden in need of weeding

If you’re feeling particularly lazy you can make a DIY natural weedkiller using Borax powder and water. Mix 10 ounces of borax powder with 2.5 gallons of water and spray only on weeds and plants you want to kill. Avoid overspray as this can harm your wanted plants along with the weeds and you don’t want this stuff seeping into the soil.

Switch ’em, Change ’em, Rearrange ’em

Mass producing farmers and home gardeners alike are using crop rotation to naturally fertilize plants. The concept is to change what crop you’re planting in a certain plot each year. Plants use different nutrients and put other nutrients back into the soil. If you rotate crops that replace the nutrients the other plants use, you will have to fertilize the soil less.

You can use this concept by planting different plants every year, or just rotating where you put specific plants in the garden. Here are a few ideas for starting your crop rotation.

sample crop rotation schedule

Organic Vegetable Gardening Supplies

Basic Garden Essentials for Organic Gardening

So you’re ready to start your organic garden but don’t know what supplies you need. Let’s take a look at the basic and important things you need to start your organic garden.

The first thing is soil. Much like a swimming pool, soil needs to have the right pH level for plants to thrive. In order to regulate the pH, you can use compost as a neutralizer. Compost will also make sure the soil has the appropriate range of nutrients for the soil to cultivate.

soil

You can make the compost yourself using dead leaves and weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps and rinds, as well as meat waste. These items are biodegradable and by turning them into compost you’re helping reduce the size of landfills.

After soil, seeds are the next most important thing you’ll need for your organic garden. If you choose to buy them you want to make sure you do so from a reputable dealer. Many places will sell seeds that are damaged or non-viable leading to no crops.

seeds

If you are worried about or just don’t want to grow from seeds you can buy already growing vegetable plants. Check the leaves and avoid the ones with discolored or wilted leaves.

Pest deterrents are vital for maintaining the integrity of your garden. Use helpful critters like ladybugs, praying mantis, and toads to keep the most damaging pests away. You can add a bird feeder and bird bath near the area to attract birds for even further protection.

You can use horticultural oils to control pests, but use caution since they can be toxic to humans and pets. Make your own using 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of NON-DEGREASING liquid dishwashing detergent per gallon of water.

Garden Tools

Weeds are a garden’s worst enemy and therefore should be dealt with before they can wreak havoc. Use gardening gloves to pull the weeds from the ground, ensuring root removal. You can spray the area with horticultural vinegar or corn meal gluten granules to prevent weeds from germinating. These also release nitrogen into the soil.

Another of the non-toxic chemicals you can use to combat weeds are fish and seaweed based liquid based fertilizers. These also release nitrogen, phosphate, and potash which are good for your crops.

For people who don’t have a backyard, you can still do organic farming by buying pots. Ideally, you should use those made out of clay or wood. Keep in mind that container gardens need to be watered more frequently.

Easy Ways to Make your Home More Eco-Friendly

Easy Ways to Make your Home More Eco-Friendly

I don’t think I know anyone who wouldn’t choose to live more eco-consciously if the cost wasn’t a factor. You’d think natural products would be more affordable than the heavily processed stuff but they aren’t. Because of that a lot of people feel stuck and unable to make a difference. The good news is there are tons of things you can do/change that would make you more eco-conscious and most of them you’d never miss.

In fact, you can make a few changes and have your home more eco-friendly in no time. Here are a few things you can start doing now to have a more eco-friendly home.

Use less water

Use less water

It doesn’t take much effort to use less water but if it seems impossible to, use these water conserving ideas:

  • Shut off the water while you brush your teeth – even better brush your teeth in the shower.
  • Take showers that are a minute or two shorter – skip washing your hair a time or challenge yourself to see how quickly you can get clean.
  • Only run full loads of laundry and dishes – save them up in a hidden space if the clutter bothers you.
  • Buy from sustainable producers. These are farmers, ranchers, and other producers that use techniques that pollute less and use less water. You can do some research online or ask at your local organic market to find these products.

Use less energy

Use less energy

Saving energy for some people means buying a Prius or making the switch from electric to solar power. Don’t stress those things, using less energy can be done on any budget.

  • Buy energy efficient appliances. They may be more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills. You can definitely buy second hand, just be sure to check for the energy efficient label.
  • Unplug when you can. Did you know leaving your phone or laptop plugged in for too long will deplete the batteries power capacity? When your battery is full unplug it.
  • Get your charging done before bed so you don’t have to keep devices plugged in all night.
  • Put devices with remotes, like T.V.s, VCRs, and stereos, on a power strip and turn it off when you’re not using them. These devices use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off.
  • Walk or ride your bike for short trips. Carpool when possible for longer trips.
  • Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy.

Reuse

Reuse

Recycling is something we learn to do early on and hopefully becomes habitual. We just learned that reducing is possible regardless of budget. Now let’s talk about the lesser followed R, Reuse. Pinterest is chocked full of repurposing projects that take the most mundane, irrelevant things and turn them into amazing things. Here are a few things you can reuse instead of tossing out. For more ideas be sure to follow our Repurposed Pinterest Board.

  • glass jars
  • toilet paper and paper towel tubes
  • yogurt containers
  • food and coffee scraps for composting

There are many DIY household products that stand up against their commercial counterparts. Instead of spending more money on natural and eco-friendly products at the grocery store try your hand at making the products yourself. With a few key staples, you’ll be on your way to saying goodbye to chemical cleaning products.

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Lemons
  • Essential Oils
  • Borax

Using this post as a guide you should be able to take the first step to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you have a tip to share please let us know about it in the comment section.

Organic Vegetable Gardening At Home

Organic Vegetable Gardening At HomeYou don’t have to be a farmer to start organic vegetable gardening at home. In all reality, organic gardening at home isn’t much different than what is done on a farm. The biggest differences are the size of the garden and the control you have over the crops.

The first thing to do when starting an organic vegetable garden is to decide on the ideal location. Many people opt for the backyard but keep in mind that for optimal growth your crops should get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. You also want an area that has easy access to water a suitable drainage system. If draining is an issue you may do a raised bed organic garden.

Compost soil

Once you have found the right spot for your garden it’s time to cultivate the land. Grab a pair of gloves and your gardening tools and start removing weeds from the roots. To test the soil mix it with some compost. If everything blends together and stabilizes the soil is good for planting.

DIY Compost

diy compost

Anyone can start a compost pile and it doesn’t take a lot of time or money either. Here is a great tutorial for both indoor and outdoor composting.

Before you start your organic vegetable garden do some research on what plants flourish in your area. Because climate, pests, and plant-borne diseases vary by region you’ll avoid potential disappointment by planning ahead. You can also research which plants protect each other from pests and the ideal crop rotation for your area and time of year. To help deter pests you can put up a fence and install ladybugs and toads in your garden.

DIY Organic Vegetable Garden

Having your own organic vegetable garden has many benefits, both financially and health-wise. When it comes time to harvest you can freeze, can, and preserve any excess as well as gift some to friends, family, and neighbors. Many places have local farmer markets where you could also sell  your excess haul for coffee money.