Growing Greens Organically
There was once a time when human beings did not have to bother about their eco- system being contaminated with chemical pollution. However, today, this is an ever-growing problem, because of the use of hazardous and potentially dangerous chemical fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides on the land.
Organic gardening of greens and herbs has been an important part of human culture down the ages, all over the world.
Organic farming and gardening has been a time-tested and healthy alternative to any other sort of farming, which concentrates on high yields, with the use of artificial and chemical methods.
This is the reason why more and more countries are adopting ancient traditional methods of organic farming, along with state-of-the-art new technology in order to get the best yields possible.
We do not have huge wide-open spaces, very often, right now on which we can grow greens with a lavish hand. On the other hand, a majority of us do have some place of our own, on which we can grow herbs and greens. Even a windowsill can do at a pinch and balconies and terraces can be utilized to their optimum.
Any sort of container, in any sort of space can serve your purpose well.
So what are you going to understand by organic gardening and farming, after you finish this book? Essentially, this is a farming and gardening culture, followed all over the world and which has been followed down the centuries. It does not use any sort of chemical fertilizer, pesticides or fungicides. It also does not use any growth hormones to increase the yield or to give you a giant sized pumpkin. Also, the use of chemical sprays to enhance the looks and the colors of the harvest, or to bring about early maturity of the fruit and vegetables is a definite no-no.
According to WHO/FAO, organic farming is considered to be a holistic food production management system. It is going to improve the soil and the health of the ecosystem. It also includes natural biological cycles and biodiversity. All this is accomplished by using easily available biological, scientific, mechanical, agronomic and other natural ways in order to enhance the yield.
This is in direct contrast to the presently prevailing methods of growing greens. That is when you use lots of synthetic and chemical-based materials in order to fertilize the soil and protect your plants from insect and fungus attacks.
Organic systems normally use traditional methods like crop rotation, organic farm waste, green manure and animal dung, as well as nitrogen fixing plants like legumes, and alfalfa to nourish the soil. So it is time we went back To Mother Nature and began using her resources – aided and abetted with our scientific knowledge and technology– to produce healthy and nourishing organically grown food.
Basics of Organic Farming
Chemicals and pesticides, which began to be used in large quantities in the early 20th century have had a detrimental effect on the environment. This long-term effect can only be stopped, and possibly checked when people begin to think more about organic farming all over the world.
This farming is going to be achieved with the enhanced use of compost, farmyard manure,peat, fish meal, leaf mold, green manures, garden and plant waste, collected leaves, etc. Apart from this, old-time farming used ashes, town waste and even soot when available, to enrich the soil.
At the moment we are playing premium prices for organically grown material. That is because we know of the importance of this food to keep us healthy. But this book is going to teach you how you can grow organic material right at home and save on your fruit and vegetable bills while providing your family with healthy nutritious food.
Healthy eating habits, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, inculcated in childhood means healthy future adults.
In many parts of the East, there are still places where you are going to find the traditional methods of farming being practiced, even today. One can only bless the fact that the modern side effects of civilization have not managed to reach them in the shape of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Some people belonging to developed and developing countries may consider these pockets of suppose ignorance to be below consideration. But the traditional way of cultivation has been in usage down the millenniums. This traditional way of cultivation is in practice as good as organic farming, because chemical fertilizers and pesticides are definitely not used, because they are not known!
The main priority in organic farming is to feed the soil. The soil in many parts of the world has become poisonous, because of the insidious seeping of pesticides and chemicals from the environment and from the sprays into it. It is going to take a while for the soil to repair and replenish itself naturally, but mother nature has a habit of doing her repairs herself as long as she is not poisoned continuously with toxins.
Natural fertilizers in many parts of the world include oil cakes, made up of groundnut, mustard, linseed, soybean, sunflower, etc.. The residue which is left over after the production of oil from these seeds and cereals can be plowed back into the earth to nourish it.
Principle Factors for Growing Greens
There are a number of traditional principles of growing greens in your garden. Vegetable crops all over the world require special environmental conditions in order to grow. However, the basic factors which help in their healthy growth are universal – plenty of sun, water and air. After that comes well fertilized soil and space in which to grow.
Here are some important factors which are going to influence the growth of your greens.
Humidity and temperature are very important factors, which are going to influence the growth of your plants. Each plant out there has its own temperature factor naturally inbuilt in it. This is when you are going to get optimal growth, from that particular plant variety.
Some plants can grow only at temperatures about 15°C. These include cucumber and tomato. Others, like cabbages, and asparagus can withstand cold and frost, which may hinder the development of other vegetables.
The minimum and maximum temperature range for the development as well as the growth of a number of green vegetables is between 4° to 35°C.
The optimum temperature is going to depend on the plant variety and species as well as the phase of development of the plant.
Based on this factor, vegetables are classified under these five important groups –
Heat resistant – these plants tolerate the heat well. Cantaloupes and melons, watermelon, sweet corn, beans, pumpkins are included in this category.
Heat loving plants – these grow well in places where there is plenty of heat available. These include brinjals, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pepper.
The most important ecological factor which keeps plants and animals alive is light. The earth receives its natural light from the sun. This is the only source of energy for a number of plant species in order to grow and flourish.
1% of the light which has received by the green leaves is going to be used for the synthesis of organic food substances through photosynthesis. The rest of the light is going to be converted into heat. This heat is used for transpiration or is reflected back into the atmosphere.
This sunlight is divided into two parts – active direct radiation and diffused and scattered solar radiation. Direct radiation is going to come directly from the sun in the shape of sun rays. Diffused or scattered radiation is that sunlight which reaches the earth, after it has been scattered or reflected by the atmospheric components.
During the morning hours, more than 10% of total radiation in scattered form reaches the plants. As the sun rises, the amount of direct radiation increases.
The requirements of different vegetables for light has to be considered when you are selecting crops which need to be sown at the right time and the cultivation season.
Maximum sunlight requirements – beans, cucumbers, cauliflower, tomatoes, melons, peppers, watermelon, sweet corn. These need plenty of sun in which to grow.
Moderate sunlight requirements – these can grow in half sun/half shade conditions – garlic, lettuce, cabbages, carrot, onions, radishes and beet.
Minimum light requirements – these include parsley, Swiss chard, leeks, green onions, rhubarb, lettuce and spinach.
Tips for Growing Greens
As we are growing greens organically, using organic manure and fertilizer, here are some tips through which we can get a really good harvest and yield.
Forget about modern cultivation methods which advocate the usage of chemical procedures and material. In organic gardening, all the stages of growing plants from seating to harvest is going to be time bound. So you need to know all about the vegetables growing native in your particular area, and the time when it is best to sow and when it is the time to reap.
Preparation of soil beforehand before any kind of planting is a very important step in gardening.
Manual and agronomical ways of weed control are being used in organic farming. Diseases and insects are controlled through the use of natural pesticides.
Weeds are going to be an integral part of the growing process and vegetables cannot compete with them. So the best time to control them is before they set up their own fiefdom in your garden patch. This removal is going to be done through shallow cultivation and continuous hoeing.
This book has introduced you to plenty of concepts of growing greens organically. Remember that more and more people in the world today are thinking of ways and means in which they can produce their own food as their forefathers did hundreds of years ago.
Along with organic manures, natural pesticides like tobacco water, neem oil, crushed bougainvillea leaves, etc. were used extensively to get rid of insect pests. Fungi infections were controlled by burning the affected plants immediately.
So, this book has given you lots of information on how you can grow greens in your garden, in a traditional manner, without the use of chemicals and harmful pesticides.
Remember to look online for the time for vegetable growing in your own particular area, and also take the help of market gardeners who have plenty of experience in growing greens.
Here you need to ask the time for planting, and the approximate number of days it is going to take from planting the seed to the harvest time. You may also want to know whether these plants are hardy, half hardy and tender. That means, can they or can they not survive, if you are planting them before the appearance of the frost.
I have bookmarked it on my computer, just because of the extensive amount of knowledge available here. So take full advantage of this longtime knowledge, Live Long And Prosper!