Back to Basics: Growing a garden the organic way

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This week our columnist Lydia Harvey writes that you don't need store bought garden fertilisers to grow a lush and pest-free garden.

Lydia's organic garden.

Lydia's organic garden.

Source: 1 NEWS

Not all gardens are created equal and some can be rather toxic. If you truly want to be healthier, than by growing an organic garden you can eliminate the use of toxins, pesticides and other chemically-laden products from you garden, which don’t just cost a small fortune, but also have health and environmental consequences.

For some, beginning an organic garden may seem labour intensive, but it is a project the whole family can embrace and benefit from with just a few simple steps.

Start with seeds/seedlings
Not all seeds are the same so in order to start you garden you should look for organic seeds. While organic seeds may initially cost a little more for the outlay, each season you will be able to save, share and reuse your seeds. Check out local seed banks where you may be able to trade your surplus for other’s excess seeds.

Do the ground work
If you have space for a large veggie garden, measure it out, dig it over and mix through any organic material you have available. You can use anything from seaweed, horse manure grass clippings or even (and I know people that do) fish carcasses. If you keep chooks dig through their waste and old nesting straw. If you’re keeping a small space garden think more along the lines of worm wee fertiliser and at all times keep weeds to the minimum.

Source: 1 NEWS

Companion planting
Ideally you can keep most garden pests away with simple growing techniques which have been used since ancient times. This is called companion planting and involves growing certain vegetables next to each other, such as marigolds with tomatoes and brassicas to deter white butterflies, or sage to keep aphids away.

Plant flowers
Not only do flowers among the vegetables look beautiful, they are also very useful. They bring the bees in which encourages pollination and maximum plant growth.

Harvesting
When it comes to maximising your organic vegetables a lot of veggies will continue to provide good food if you cut from the tops and sides only, encouraging the roots to continually grow and produce more, such as lettuce, spinach and celery to name a few.

Other vegetables such as carrots or radishes and even beets can be thinned and eaten as a baby variety, leaving other seedlings to grow to maximum size.

Organic gardening doesn't have to be labour intensive or overwhelming, it's simply gardening simplicity at its finest.

From Lydia's Garden: Bunless burgers

Source: 1 NEWS

2 portobello mushrooms pan fried in olive oil and balsamic vinegar until soft then layer in

Warmed onion jam

1/2 avocado

1 pan fried egg

1 piece of pan fried free range bacon (optional)

1 cooked hash brown

These burgers are a firm favorite in our home and are best served straight away while mushrooms are still warm and ideally held together with a tooth pick.

To make these extra indulgent we sometimes will top with homemade plum sauce and camembert.

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