Tired of not knowing where your food comes from? Follow these steps to grow your own delicious, organic produce.
Step 1: Learn the basics Understand the basics. In organic farming, the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers is prohibited. Instead, farmers use natural methods to create and maintain healthy soil, control weeds, reduce pests, and manage diseases.
TIP: Any organization selling more than $5,000 of organic produce a year must be certified by the USDA.
Step 2: Make a crop rotation plan Develop a crop rotation plan. Maximize soil efficiency and reduce pests and diseases by planting different crops in a particular location from year to year.
Step 3: Use compost and fertilizers Recycle plant waste, manure, and other organic materials in a compost pile for use as fertilizer. Seed meal and mineral powders like rock phosphate and greensand can also be used to keep soil fertile and at the right pH.
Step 4: Manage soil and weeds Use beneficial plants called cover crops in the same field or garden as the main crop to keep the soil in good condition naturally, draw pests away, and smother weeds. For more thorough weed control, pick them by hand or use natural herbicides like corn gluten meal.
Step 5: Reduce pests Reduce pests without using chemicals by trimming away dying material, and housing plants in row covers or in a greenhouse. You can also encourage beneficial organisms like birds and insects that prey on pests to live in your field or garden.
Step 6: Manage disease Manage disease by removing diseased or dying plants. Use organic fungicides or cultivate good bacteria to combat harmful bacteria. At harvest time, enjoy the fruits -- and vegetables -- of your labor!
FACT: Almost 70 percent of U.S. shoppers bought at least one organic product over a three-month period.