How to Grow Vegetables Organically

Overview

Organic vegetable gardening is a method that forgoes the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pest and disease control. Instead, gardeners use naturally occurring fertilizers and herbicides, promoting the garden's own self-sufficiency. Improving the soil's fertility and quality is the first major step of organic gardening, which may take several seasons. With a little patience and the right tools at hand, organic gardening rewards you with healthier, tastier vegetables and a healthy environment to enjoy it in.

Step 1

Test the pH of your soil to determine the acidity. Organic soil requires a pH between 5.8 and 7.0 for maximum fertility for most plants, says the University of Florida Extension.

Step 2

Add 2 to 4 inches of organic matter to the soil and till it in, says the University of Illinois Extension. Organic matter improves soil structure.

Step 3

Add manure as a natural fertilizer to the soil. The University of Missouri Extension says that 100 pounds of animal manure contains 1/2 a pound of available nitrogen. Add manure with natural fertilizer for nutrients and organic content.

Step 4

Spread a natural fertilizer---such as alfalfa pellets, green sand, rock phosphate, raw bone meal and corn gluten---on the soil to improve fertility. Fertilizer amount depends on the soil quality and plant requirements.

Step 5

Rotate crops regularly, recommends the University of Missouri to reduce the chance of disease. Vegetable that are in the same family should not grow for three years in a row at the same spot. Curcurbit family vegetables such as watermelon and squash require rotation with vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes or eggplants from the Solanaceous family to reduce the build up of bacteria in the soil affecting these vegetables.

Step 6

Mulch the garden using hay, compost, straw or newspaper at a thickness of 4 to 6 inches says the University of Minnesota to retain moisture and reduce the spreading of soil based diseases from splashing water.

Step 7

Add cover crops, such as rye grass seed or legumes, during the fall to add organic matter and protect the topsoil of the garden, says the University of Florida Extension. Allow cover crops to grow throughout the winter and early spring. Till the cover crops remains into the soil in the spring to increase organic matter.

Things You'll Need

  • pH test
  • Animal manure
  • Compost
  • Cover crop seed
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Mulch

References

  • University of Florida Extension: Producing garden Vegetables with Organic Soil Amendments
  • University of Illinois Extension: Vegetable Gardening Basics
  • University of Missouri Extension: Organic Gardening Techniques
Keywords: grow organic vegetables, growing organically, organic gardening

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.