Do you love gardening as much as I and my family does? Do you hate using chemical fertilizers and pesticides? If yes, are you struggling growing your veggies? Are your tomatoes not ripening? Are they staying small? In this post I’m sharing some of the lessons I’ve (we have) learned from trying to grow tomatoes organically (with zero chemical fertilizers and pesticides) in our kitchen garden – in the ground as well as in pots.
But, before I go on to share my organic gardening lessons, I can’t help but share my joy of harvesting my own vegetables. The feeling is beyond words.
Here are some pictures and thoughts!
As soon as my eye opens from sleep every morning, I saunter toward the garden, making sure I don’t trip over any of the 60 + tomato plants. I sit in front of each of them to see how much my tomatoes have grown; if there are new flowers. I also talk to them, softly and gently, “you’re growing so well. Your tomatoes are looking great.”
This is the state of every member in our family ever since we’ve started growing our own vegetables. The magic of growing has settled over us as lightly, and clingingly as pollen. (this line has been adapted in this context from the book – ‘My family and other animals’ – by Gerald Durrell)
Has it happened with you too? Having your own vegetables, you don’t feel like wasting a drop of juice from the tomato, every single seed is precious. As I harvested the first lot last week, I felt like gobbling up all the tomatoes – raw. They were so, juicy, tasty, well.. I can’t describe!
Every time, when we get a stock of tomatoes ready to pluck, I’d look at mamma imploringly – asking if I can pluck them. As tempted as I feel to pluck the tomatoes, even my mamma feels excited. After all, she’s done most of the work for the tomatoes. 🙂 But, she lets me pluck most of them!
Here are some veggies we harvested a week back. The pasta I made from these was delicious!
I chopped the tomatoes. I actually popped some in my mouth while i was chopping. It was really juicy, I tell you!
So, ready to move on to some of the most important lessons in organic gardening – that we’ve learned after much trial and error? Let’s go!
1. Nurture your soil: Add coco peat, compost, vermi compost. It’s doesn’t matter how bad your soil is-you can nurture it with all of these things.
2. Mulching: (covering the top of your soil with chopped dried leaves.) This helps your soil to stay nourished. Too much sun makes the soil dead – because the micro organisms will perish and the soil will be dead, and infertile. That’s the reason ‘Desert sand is grainy, infertile, and dry’. The high heat makes it like that. And rains too, will erode your soil away.
3. Consistent watering, and deep watering: Try to water your plants consistently. And first touch your soil – if it’s damp one inch below, don’t give water. Give deep watering – giving lots of water will make the roots go deep, and make your plants strong, rather than watering lightly every day.
- Watering in the evening is better, because it gives moisture to the plant whole night. Watering in the morning is a waste, because most of the water evaporates, leaving the plant dry. Also, this is important: If you’re watering in the evening, don’t water the leaves, that could cause fungul infection. Only water the roots and the soil.
4. Transplant deep: When you move your saplings to the ground or to a bigger container, don’t just bury the plant 2 – 3 inches deep. But, remove the bottom leaves and bury the plant with not only the roots but also a large part of the stem. Transplanting your plant deep with make it grow strong and sturdy. It doesn’t matter if there’s really less of the plant peeking out of the soil – the more it goes in, the better. Fact: You must have noticed fine white hair on the stem of your tomato plant(if you’ve growed any)if those hairs go inside the soil deeply, it turns into roots. The more the roots, studier the plant.
5. Planting different plants together: Pest attack was rampant when we first started gardening. This is our lesson: Keeping one kind of plant together in clusters can cause pest attack. If you keep different plants together, like marigold and tomato, the pest may not like the smell of marigold so it won’t attack the tomato too – because you kept the two plants together. Also, when you grow different plants together, pests will not be able to find their way through this maze – to reach their favorite plant.
- Many gardeners like to grow hibiscus – we too. But, we’ve learned that the leaves of this plant are sweet so they can be badly affected by pests and cause problems to your vegetable plants.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————–So, that’s it for the post guys! Hope you found it helpful. We’ve got a good amount of tomatoe plants, right? It’s worth the effect. And even if they’re not as red, and as big as the market ones – it’s organic, and plucked from your own garden. What can be better than that!?
Growing your food is the most peaceful.. And growing it naturally is the healthiest thing. For the earth, us, and the plants.
Hey – There’s a wonderful giveaway running on my Mamma’s blog. If you haven’t entered it do so now to win! It’s ending on June 7, sunday.