I learned how to plant a garden many years ago, a flower and vegetable garden specifically. So many years have passed since I started a home vegetable garden that I knew I’d have to refresh my memory on some of the most important aspects of organic gardening if I ever decided to grow a garden again.
We’ve discussed garden designs and landscaping ideas for starting a large organic garden in our backyard, including the specific location for the garden and if we would need or want a vertical garden in some areas, build raised vegetable garden beds, or just plant in open soil. We opted for a basic garden style, versus spending a lot of money on fancy edging that few people besides us would see anyway.
Why Organic Gardening?
There are many reasons why eating certified organic foods, growing your own organic garden and the overall growth of the organic food market is growing rapidly. Organic.org listed what it considers to be the top 10 reasons why eating certified organic foods and supporting local farmers at farmers markets is so vitally important for our health and environment, and the health of children and future generations.
Genetically modified foods, or genetically engineered foods/genetically engineered organisms (GMOs or GM for short), has received a lot of attention over the years. Documentary films and books about the health risks and dangers of eating GMO foods and modified ingredients in much of the processed foods, meats, dairy products, vegetables, fruits etc found in grocery stores is alarming, to say the least.
Anyone unfamiliar with the rapidly growing controversy about genetically modified foods and the health risks associated with GM foods need only watch the documentary films about genetically engineered foods, and read as many articles about organic foods and books about GMOs consumers can get their hands on.
Some of these Monsanto GMO related films can be watched for free on youtube or google videos, or watch them on Netflix, Blockbuster or Amazon streaming video. Here is a short list of some of the most widely known documentary films about genetically engineered/modified foods that will likely make the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up.
- Food, Inc.
- The Future of Food
- Food Matters
- The Gerson Miracle
- The Beautiful Truth
- The World According to Monsanto
- The Dangers of Genetically Modified Food
- GMO Trilogy – Hidden Dangers in Kids Meals
- Jamie Oliver’s TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food
- Genetic Engineering: The World’s Greatest Scam?
- Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating
- Genetically Modified Food Panacea or Poison?
Do you really know what is in the foods you and your family are eating? If the brand name Monsanto doesn’t ring a bell, or the name Jeffrey Smith, or even the news that numerous countries outside the U.S. have banned GMO imports, take the time to watch each of these 12 documentary films about genetically engineered foods with an open mind and read books and articles about the GMO controversy, and come to your own conclusions.
Growing an Organic Garden
Our garden will be grown using certified organic, non-GMO Heirloom Seeds and plants. We’re not trying to grow an organic garden fit for magazine pictures or anything, but just a basic vegetable, fruit and herbs garden that meets our needs. No frills. We don’t have a “huge” yard per se, but our backyard is definitely large enough for a sizeable fruit and vegetable garden that still leaves plenty of space for the dogs to run around.
Choosing a fruit and vegetable garden layout was pretty easy to decide on – just a simple plan for a garden based on easy access and nearest water sources, and where we won’t have to worry about keeping the dogs out of the garden and chewing or trampling on everything we’re trying to grow.
We had already made a full list of vegetables to grow in the garden, plus planting a couple of fruit trees and various herbs, but the first thing we did was use a soil tester to make sure our existing soil was in optimal condition for gardening or if the soil needed some extra help.
What to Grow in a Garden
Since we don’t have a problem of extremely limited space for a garden, like a very small garden for tiny yards, the decision process of deciding what to grow in our garden was easy. Whatever fruits, herbs and vegetables grow best in our climate, plus plenty of sunlight and water to help the garden grow efficiently is what we’ll grow.
We already have a pear tree, but we’ve recently planted a peach tree and a plum tree, which will take some time to actually produce fruit. Our ever-growing list of herbs, fruits and vegetables of things to grow in the garden include many of the typical garden growing varieties of:
- Green beans
- Yellow squash (summer and winter)
- Sweet corn
- Red and green bell peppers
So far, basil and cilantro are the only garden herbs on our list but I expect more herbs like rosemary and thyme to be added soon enough. As expected, our “what to grow in a garden” list keeps on growing, as more and more fruits and vegetables are added.
Some of the possible additions to our home garden include fruits and veggies that we sometimes eat, or those that we’ll have to watch and see if they will grow well enough in our region of the country or not. Our “maybe grow in a garden” includes:
- Butternut Squash
- Brussels Sprouts
- Sweet Potatoes
We haven’t yet discussed the possibility of growing organic vegetables, fruits and herbs etc in containers or on a trellis, but anything is possible for our garden as long as space is available without cramping the dogs too much.