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How to Grow An Organic Garden, Photos of My First Attempt and What I have Learned!!!

Updated on February 4, 2015
nancynurse profile image

I am a wife, mother, Nana and Christian first. I graduated from UNCC with a BSN in Nursing and a minor in Psychology.

Horn Worm

A horn worm found in my organic garden
A horn worm found in my organic garden | Source
 Eggplant blossoms
Eggplant blossoms | Source
squash | Source
Beautiful organic tomato plant
Beautiful organic tomato plant

More Carerpillars

These are horn worms I found in my organic garden
These are horn worms I found in my organic garden | Source

Tomato Plants

Tomato Plants
Tomato Plants | Source

I was so excited about starting my own vegetable garden. Having grown tomato plants before I did not expect it to be too difficult. I wanted my husband to help me build a box out of cedar off the ground but we got a late start and put it in the ground with all new organic soil in an area that got plenty of sun and stayed warm all day by the brick of our home. It was also right by a sprinkler head so I thought we were off to a good start.

We first planted eggplant, tomatoes, squash and cucumber. Being an avid flower gardener I had some hosta in front ot the plants. We like to spend a lot of time with my sisters in Atlanta or at the lake so the first time I checked on the garden it had been a few weeks. We had a beautiful yellow squash and about 2 eggplants and several cucumbers.

I thought this was great until the next few weeks. I noticed something strange about the yellow squash. They did not look as healthy and the eggplants had all but stopped growing, I raked back some soil to find hundreds of snails under and around the hosta and squash. I put on gloves and began picking thine up by hand until I could not find any more. Then I brought in the few squash I had and checked them and cook. I was disgusted to find green worms in them.

This was not from the snails . We sprayed a mixture of half water and half ammonia on the ground and plants. The beer trick did not work. It only seamed to attract ants. We also put our some cedar chips that I had read that snails hated to cross overl

We were beginning to get a good crop of tomatoes.

Again I looked up organic ideas for killing bugs . All I could find was one using mineral oil and garic soaked overnight and then adding a litte soap and water but before I tried that I went to the hardware store. The organic gardener told me it was ok to use neem oil . Before I did that I found 3 hairy caterpillars on my tomato leaves and eggplants.

The war was on. Last week we sprayed the oil on. I fertilized the plants and made sure they ere getting plenty of water. I have yet to return home yet but hopefully I will again have some plants free of worms and caterpillars.

Two Months Later

Well two months later I have come out with several dozen cucumbers and tomatoes. Maybe 6 suash and about 4 eggplants. The preen oil I ended up having to use on the plants seemed to kill the squash and eggplant and soon the cucumbers. As the weather has turned cooler I think I have taken the last of the tomato off the vine and I am not sure what I will do next year. I came through this process frustrated and disappointed wondering if I would have saved more just buying organic. We will have to wait for next spring to see if I try to venture into this gardening process again.

I do know if I do this again I will definitely build an area off the ground to prevent snails from crawling into my garden. I will also do more research to find out how to safely kill any bugs or other organisms that might attack my vegetables. It has definitely been a learning experience even if disappointing.

Getting Rid to the Pests.

Since I wrote this last year I have learned a few trick. My tomatoes are now in large pots. Still have problems with spider mites but have used a few drops liquid detergent and water in spray bottle. Spray it on and leave for one hour then hose off. I also spray the bush to with a mildly strong nozzle to remove aphids.

A lot of the little bugs can be removed by hand but you must check daily.

Neem oil can be used but it can still harm children and animals so read directions and use with cautious. Sometimes you have to use a little more muscle to get rid of what is destroying your crop.

One important component is to be sure your soil is of good quality. You might want to have it tested to find out what is missing. Tomatoes need calcium to prevent rotting spots on the fruit.

Putting a square of aluminum foil around the base of your plant will deter some pests and help.

An awesome trick is to purchase nematodes, lady bugs and praying manis that will eat your plant killing bugs.

Try to keep your plants healthy with appropriate organic fertilizer and water daily. This will help them to fight the pests on there own.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

This product is a great addition to your organic garden. The more you add the more your garden becomes less attractive to pests. It helps to feed your garden also.

I also love to use Fish OIl in my garden. It smell a bit buy adds great nutrients to your produce and flowers. I have an attachment to my hose, mix a little with water and spray the garden with it.

One last great tip is to order earth worms .They aerate your soil and help keep your plants healthy.

I have put links to some of the top selling products in organic gardening from Amazon.

Happy Gardening


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    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      You are so right I later found out that snails love to hang out under hosta. Thanks so much for your tips.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Thanks so much for sharing your comments.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      Nice garden, I'd say it turned out great! Love the pics too. I agree that the hardest part is keeping away the pests. Thanks for sharing...Voted Up and Interesting!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 6 years ago from Iowa

      Sorry you didn't have better luck with your organic garden. For next year, you may want to look at replacing the hosta with flowers that repel pests. We always plant a row of marigolds in front of our garden.