I also believe that many want to know where their food is grown. Plus, with a good growing season you may save money by growing your own food.
Today, I will share information for the person wishing to grow their vegetables organically. Some gardens want to grow entirely organic, while others may want to use many organic principals in their efforts. I will share information from a publication by Dr. George Boyhan, Robert Westerfield and Suzzane Tate, UGA Horticulture specialists.
First, it starts with proper garden location. You must pick an area that will give you 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. A mistake in location can hurt the end result. Make sure the area is well drained.
Try to stay away from areas that seem to have a heavy weed population too. If possible, select an area close to a good water source for irrigation.
When growing organically, disease and insect control management is important. Growing up in Gordon County I spent many summers as a cotton scout. I would inspect fields for problems where farmers could base management decisions on some of my findings. You need to be an investigation in your garden. Since you are not using many of the chemical options in an organic situation, use resistant varieties in the beginning. Using plants that have resistant for things such as wilt and virus is not 100 percent protection, but it can help. Plants that show disease issues should be removed and destroyed. With insects, study your plants before planting to make sure they are free of insects. Then inspect them in the garden. You can hand remove some of the damaging insects. You can also encourage beneficial insects to your garden spot. It can be as easy as nailing a horizontal board to a post close to the spot where wasps can build a nest. The wasps will help rid the garden of damaging bugs.
Proper irrigation can also keep an organic garden healthy. Keep in mind that the goal of irrigating is to get water to the plant roots. Soaker hoses and drip tape for example can help you here. Overhead sprinklers can be less water conservation minded plus can lead to disease issues if you water at the wrong time of day. You do not want extended time with foliage being wet.
If you choose to go non-chemical in your garden, you may have to be more creative on your weeds.
Soil solarization can be an option. This will take some work, but can be helpful. This involves covering the soil surface with clear plastic for 8-12 weeks or even longer. According to Boyhan, Westerfield and Tate, clear plastic is used because most of the light energy is transferred to the soil. In starting an organic garden you may have to sacrifice a growing season with solarization. First, remove as much plant material in the area as possible. Then the soil should be turned and raked. Next, water the soil till saturated. You will then cover the soil with a clear plastic that is 1-4 millimeters thick. Remember to secure the plastic sheet edges to the ground. It is best to do soil solarization in the summer months to take advantage of temperatures and sunlight. Again, this may cause a lost crop season with this option.
Many will use mulching and other means to remove aggravating weeds out.
Finally, conduct a soil analysis to know your soil pH and nutrient status. You can then study on organic fertilization options to assist.
For more information contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email@example.com.