Start By Building Your Soil Naturally:
“Take care of your soil – and it will take care of you.” For a long-term productive and successful garden – those words say it all. Soil is the basis for everything that can go right or wrong in a garden – and it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to create it using these 3 simple methods.
Compost brings life and vitality to your soil! It’s not only easy to make – but can be made for free!
Add a shovel full of compost to each of your planting holes every spring to give lasting nutrients to your veggies as they grow. It also makes an incredible mulch around plants – not only holding moisture in while holding back weeds – but supplying the plant with nutrients that leach into the soil and the plant’s roots….
Shredded leaves, straw, compost and grass clippings are all excellent mulches that not only help control weeds and feed your plants – but also add valuable organic matter back into your soil as they decompose.
With a little work – you can usually find all the free mulch material you need from local landscapers, by collecting your lawn clippings, or by picking up fall leaves and storing them.
Use Inexpensive Cover Crops / Green Manure Crops
This is a BIG one! Cover crops, when planted in the fall or as a quick green manure crop in the spring and turned over – are the perfect way to replenish your soil from the summer’s garden.
Annual rye, clover, alfalfa or other choice cover crops are the lifeblood of a sustainable garden. Seed is extremely inexpensive…and they have additional benefits as well, such as keeping out weeds, preventing soil erosion, and helping to fix nitrogen in the soil so that plants can soak it up.
Watering For Free – Rainwater Water Collection System
While you are at it – consider installing a simple rain-water collection barrel to your house or barn. Rainwater is an excellent choice to water your garden with – and by collecting your own – it’s another free resource to have for your garden!
Saving Seeds / Growing Your Own Plants
When it comes to the plants you grow each year – there is little need to have to spend large amounts of money when you can save and grow your own plants from seed. The key is picking open-pollinated (often called heirloom) varieties that can be saved and replanted time and again.
Even if you do have to purchase a few packs each year to start new varieties, or to get started – they are inexpensive compared to buying established plants in nurseries every garden season.
Home Made Natural Fertilizers and Sprays
…If you begin to practice self-sustaining organic methods – pests and soil fertility issues will be more than likely be minimal. Strong, healthy plants are much more resistant to damage from pests, which prey on weak species….
But if and when the time comes that you must use something in your garden – there are ways to do it that are healthier and much cheaper than commercial alternatives. …We use a simple, safe and effective home-made bug spray made from hot peppers and garlic. (See: Home Made Bug Spray Recipe)
For fertilizer, we use a simple solution of compost tea on all of our vegetable plants in the early spring to give them a boost. It’s simple to make, completely free, and gives them a boost of nutrients to get them off to a great start.