Tips for Growing Organic Vegetables

Zucchini plants
Zucchini plants

An Organic Vegetable Garden

Learn how to grow vegetables the organic way. There are many ways to keep your soil in good shape and grow bigger and more beautiful plants in your garden without using dangerous chemicals. You don't need to use purchased sprays for many of the plant diseases or insects either. Here are tips you can use. These ideas are not only eco-friendly but should save you money.


Asparagus is the first vegetable ready for the table in the spring, so it plays an important part in the garden. It can be a very ornamental plant. I've seen florist use it in bouquets for greenery. It is a perennial so it returns every year.

Rather than dealing with diseases be sure to buy resistant varieties. Recommended are Jersey Giant and Jersey King which are male varieties which mean they will produce heavier yeilds. For a different colored and sweeter type try Purple Passion.

1. If you don't have room for asparagus in the vegetable garden, plant it as a border with flowers in front of it for a pretty yard. My neighbor has it planted behind his garage and they get plenty for fresh eating every year.

2. The main insect pest you may have to deal with is asparagus beetles. If you raise chickens, let them take care of the pest or encourage birds to live in the area.

3. At the end of every season, cut off the foliage and burn the entire plant. This helps to keep disease and pests away the following year.

4. Never plant onions and garlic near asparagus. It hates them.


Snap beans are a staple in our house. You can grow either a climbing variety or a bush bean. Make sure you choose a stringless variety unless you want the extra work of stringing them.

1. If you’d like to speed up the germination of your seeds, just wrap them in a damp paper towel and place in a plastic bag. The plastic bag will keep the paper towel from drying out. You will need to check the seeds everyday and just as soon as they start sprouting, plant them in the garden.

2. It is important to plant beans in warm soil. If the soil is still cool, the beans may rot or may not germinate. If it is extremely dry that year, you may need to keep them watered.

3. Plant petunias around the bean plants. They deter insects that bother beans.


These are an easy plant to grow except for dealing with insect problems. They produce a nice crop for the space they take up, so they work well in a small garden.

1. To protect your plants from cabbage worms, cut-up old nylon hosiery and place over the plant. Use a rubber band and fasten lightly. Be sure the plant doesn’t already have eggs from cabbage butterflies under the leaves. The eggs will look like tiny green spots.

If you don't have nylons, net that can be purchased at the fabric store will work also.

It helps do this right after you plant.

2. I had all the signs of cabbage worms, but I couldn't see any worms on the plants. One morning I noticed a finch on my broccoli and it occurred to me that the finch were eating the worms. Putting out finch seed may help to keep the worms away.

3. To keep cabbage butterflies away, plant mint near broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage. The mint family can be very invasive, so it would be better to just put a pot of it near them. If the container has drainage holes in the bottom, place something underneath it. Mint spreads with it's root system under the ground. That is why it is so hard to control. Later it can be hard to remove from the garden.

4. When picking these crops just use a knife and cut off the usable part. The plant will put on a new head of cabbage and new sprouts of broccoli, or brussel sprouts..


My garden is just too small for growing a reasonable amount of corn, so I don't include it. Here are some tips I've heard or have found for growing corn.

1. Corn requires a large amount of nitrogen. It helps to plant beans the year before you plant corn because they add nitrogen to the soil.


1. Peppers don't like a super rich soil or the plant will grow huge and you won't get any peppers. One year I used the compost from the compost pile and planted the peppers in that. I ended up with 5 foot tall plants that were beautiful, but there wasn't a single pepper on them.

For more tips on growing peppers, read this page. How to Grow Organic Peppers


1. Always buy certified seed potatoes. If they aren't you will fight disease.

2. Plant horseradish near potatoes to keep away potato bugs. It should be planted in pots unless you want your entire garden overtaken by it.

3. To prevent diseases, change the area every year. Many potato diseases stay in the soil.


1. If your squash develops powdery mildew, first remove all infected leaves. This will help the plant get more air circulation. Then using a spray bottle, spray milk on the leaves.

2. If the squash is rotting on the ends, the soil needs more calcium.


1. Plant dill near tomatoes and you won’t get tomato worms.

2. If you are getting a lot of tomato worms on your plants it is probably because they are near a source of light at night, but not always. One year I had my plants covered with them. I had the plants in containers on my deck and the light was turned on often at night. Thank goodness our dog loved tomato worms and ate them every morning.

3. To save the green tomatoes that haven't ripened in time place them in a brown paper bag to ripen properly or wrap in newspapers. This works really well. You’ll have trouble believing that they didn’t ripen on the vine. Just don't do like I did one year and forget them. You'll find rotten tomatoes all shriveled up.

Other Helpful Ideas

Short Seasons

1. You can make the soil warm-up faster by placing black plastic on the ground where you intend to plant. Leave the black plastic where there are sun loving plants like tomatoes and watermelon.

Free Fertilizer

1. Crush eggshells and work into the garden.

Dogs and Pests

1. Slugs and Snails - Place a bowl of beer in the garden at night and slugs will crawl in and drown. I've tried this and it works really well. Discard the beer after the first night.

2. Ants - Tempt ants with sugar mixed with an equal part of borax. The ants will take the sugar back to the nest and the queen ant will eat it and die.

3. Dogs - Our backyard started the year looking like it was polka dotted. This was due to the high nitrogen content of dog urine. Nitrogen is good for the soil, but the urine contains too much of it. The dog urine is the same as if you spilled too much fertilizer on the soil. In concentrated amounts it will kill the grass or plants.

If you've had a dog, you know the males love to urinate on plants and shrubs. The females don't mark in this way, but their urine is stronger because they squat instead of raising their leg and the urine is more concentrated, because it stays more in one spot.

You can dilute the urine with 4 times the water that they excreted. This is a lot of work though unless you are watering anyway. That is one of the cost of having a pet.

For the garden, I put in a small white landscaping fence that is just 6" tall. If the dogs entered the garden, I just said "No." It didn't take long for the dogs to learn, because the fence created a boundary that they knew they couldn't cross.

Now, for those spots in the lawn. All I can say is to keep it watered to help dilute the urine. Try to get the dog to use the same area, so the spots aren't all over the yard. Clean out the old grass that is already dead and reseed. I know - what a job!

4. Be sure to include onions in the garden because they deter aphids. Chives, garlic and leek should do the same trick.

5. Marigolds will work to keep away most insects, but it does attract the Japanese beetle. I've found them to be a good trap though. The beetles will burrow in the marigold and then you just need to cut off the flower and dip in oil. The taller marigolds seem to work best because they have a stronger odor.

Mulching is an Organic Way to Help Your Garden

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Comments 37 comments

creativelycc profile image

creativelycc 6 years ago from Maine

Good hub with good advice!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

I'm happy if it helps. Thanks.

lotuslove19 profile image

lotuslove19 6 years ago

I have a tarace garden, I love caring for my plants ,I never come across pests as I use mustard cakes as a fertilizer and my kitchen waste as compost,I also have number of bansil and mint plants to wave away the pests .I also grow oregano which have very strong smell and never let pest come and spoil my plants .thanks for your egg shell tip I will soon put it in my rose plants .

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

What are mustard cakes? They may not be available here. Is it something you make yourself? Thanks for any info and thanks for commenting on the hub.

profile image

Lisa Ward 6 years ago

I love this hub, especially the tip about dog wee!! My lab will eat anything, so hopefully giving him tomato juice shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

Lisa, Good luck. Thanks for reading my hub.

sherrylou57 profile image

sherrylou57 6 years ago from Riverside

Thank you for this hub, lots of information on growing veggies in a good and healthy way.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

Sherry, Thanks for the comment and I'm happy you found it helpful.

lotuslove19 profile image

lotuslove19 6 years ago

Mustarted cakes are the mustard waste after extracting the oil from the seeds ,it forms an excellent natural fertilizer and just because it has strong smell it waves away the pests from the plants .

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

lotuslove19, Thanks for the extra tip. Barb

Todd@BigBlogOfGardening 6 years ago

It also helps to plant parsley and basil around your tomatoes and peppers. The dog is also useful for chasing squirrels and rabbits out of the garden! Plus she's fun to watch...

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 6 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Todd for the added tip.

mikecoder profile image

mikecoder 5 years ago from Maryland

I love this hub. Oh my God, your tips and recommendations are second to none. You've really made it unique and I'm falling in love with growing Asparagus. I will definitely link back to this hub. Keep them coming. In the meantime, if you want more traffic to your hub, see my recent published hub.


Thank you.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

I need to try some of things you suggested at your hub.

I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed the hub and thanks for the compliment.

growing beans 5 years ago

Great gardening tips! I will try planting asparagus next time using your suggestions.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

I'm happy I could help.

eventsyoudesign profile image

eventsyoudesign 5 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

Great article. I do not have room for a garden, but I have a friend who gardens and wanted more info on pesticide free gardening. I think he will enjoy this article very much. Thanks! Teresa

Julie McM profile image

Julie McM 5 years ago from Southern California

Great article. Excellent organic gardening tips. I didn't know about tomato juice in the dog food - very helpful. Thanks.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 5 years ago from USA Author

Julie McM, I'd think anything acidic in the dog food should work. I don't know what else to try though other than tea and my dogs won't drink that and I'm not sure if tea is good for them. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Really beautiful and informative hub!

This article has been shared on Stumble, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Reddit and my hub following.


If you can share mine: Margarita pedicure and Corn hole, It would be appreciated. And feel free to contact the others and the list to share article sharing!

handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 4 years ago from western pennsylvania

Great hub, great information. Good tips.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

I've read yours and shared. They were good. Thanks for reading the hub.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

handymanbill, Thanks for reading and I'm happy if you found some new ideas.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Great hub Barbara, voted up and shared!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

weestro, Thanks for voting up and sharing.

Daughter Of Maat profile image

Daughter Of Maat 4 years ago from Rural Central Florida

Great hub! I'm so glad you shared this on the Hubber Alert Article. I'm trying to grow a garden at the moment, and unfortunately I planted peppers in my awesome compost that I made. The seedlings look AMAZING, let's hope I get lucky and they grow peppers! lol

I'll be planting squash and zucchini soon, and this article has some awesome tips! Voted up and Awesome, and of course shared!

snowdrops profile image

snowdrops 4 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

Wow, this is very amazing and wonderful tips! Glad i've read this.

Gottabegod profile image

Gottabegod 4 years ago from Southern USA

Wow, voted up, useful & interesting! I have a back yard garden and I strive to be as organic as possible. All of your tips were helpful information. I will definitely try my hand at asparagus now. Thank you for this hub!!

God bless!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Gottabegod, Thanks for reading the hub. I would say I hope you can use the info, but since some of it is about getting rid of insects and plant diseases I'll just say thanks.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

snowdrops, Thanks for reading the hub and commenting. I hope the info is useful for you.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

Daughter of Maat, Thanks for reading the hub and voting up.

rbm profile image

rbm 4 years ago

What a great hub, full of useful information. Voted up! I especially love your idea of putting out finch seed to keep the cabbage worms away. Gotta try that one!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA Author

rbm, Thanks for reading the hub and voting up. I'm happy you found a new idea to try.

rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Voted up and useful. Great hub and useful tips.

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

rajan jolly, Thanks for voting it up and thanks for reading.

Anita Saran profile image

Anita Saran 3 years ago from Bangalore, India

Wow! I learned a few things about plants that keep pests away. I'd better put the mint into a pot. Thanks!

Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA Author

Anita, I happy I could provide some knowledge for you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

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