In theory, the benefits of organic gardening far outweigh the disadvantages. Foregoing chemical fertilizers and pesticides is not only a healthier option, it is cheaper as well. However, for novice gardeners, chemicals can help make up for inexperience and lack of a green thumbs. But, certain plants can make organic growing less frustrating (or, in some cases, ridiculously easy).
(image via The Age)
Mushrooms are magic…for organic gardening newbies. Mushroom spores, sawdust and a cool, dark place are the only ingredients needed for a successful growing season. Online retailers sell kits that are already injected with spores. All it takes is a few hours of soaking the base in water and then a bit of patience.
Rhubarb and Mint
(image via Moosey’s Country Garden
For those whose thumbs only show traces of green, the general rule is, the hardier a plant, the better. Take rhubarb, for example. The leaves are poisonous, but the stems tart and tasty. Better yet, it is easy to grow, and can often be found wild, thriving without any human intervention at all.
The same could be said for mint. Under good conditions, it grows well without outside influence and will pop up year after year. Gardeners who want to move on to other herbs might have a hard time actually getting rid of their mint.
(images via Culinary Fool and Grace Magazine)
While some vegetables need room to spread out, others do well in confined spaces like pots. Potted vegetable plants can be moved to maximize contact with sunlight and can be weeded and watered easily. Tomatoes and chili peppers both fall into the easily-potted category.
Garlic and Basil
(images via Berkeley Daily Planet and noveleats)
Like other leafy herbs, basil grows well indoors and out. The sweet-leafed plant responds well to both pot life and a spot in a garden’s general population. Forgetting to water does not spell the end of a basil-growing endeavor. The wilted plant is often able to perk up with a healthy dose of water and a few days of sunlight.
Garlic likewise does well in the absence of a gardener’s care. In addition, it is used as a natural pesticide and fungicide, making it a staple for experienced organic gardeners as well.
(image via sundance moods)
If poor soil, uncooperative weather and pests are keeping your vegetables from thriving, why not take those variables out of the equation. Growing bean sprouts requires nothing more than some beans, a jar and a dark, cool place. The process takes only a few days; not enough time for much to go wrong. That is as close as gardeners can get to instant gratification.
(image via thehickories.org)
Bigger is seldom better in the world of inexperienced growers, but a few simple steps can make pumpkins one of the easier plants to grow organic. They respond well to soil mixed with compost and do not need to be watered often. Tricks like placing straw under maturing pumpkins to keep them off of the dirt go a long way towards a successful season.
Radishes and Carrots
(images via Texas A&M and tiny farm blog)
Radishes are forgiving of imperfect weather and inconsistent watering. Pests find them attractive, but lightweight garden row covers keep these bugs at bay. Carrots perform even better in sunny, mildly dry spots. This vegetable can maintain its vitamin content and trademark sweet taste even if it does not grow to its full potential.
(image via Vegan Soapbox)
Sweet potatoes do well in soil that is not fertilized. There is no need to buy seeds, simply cut the slips (sometimes known as eyes) out of an old potato and plant them in the garden.
(image via gardenplotter)
Peppers are a favorite of urban gardeners who do most of their growing in pots. Again, the more controlled environment of a pot allows for easy weeding and watering. Most species of pepper respond well to sunlight and warm weather and attract relatively few pests.
Rosemary and Fennel
(images via seedfest and tasteful garden)
Fennel is considered both a vegetable and a herb. It is not difficult to grow and is a popular addition to organic gardens because it attracts ladybugs, which are natural predators of some of gardens’ most insidious pests.
Rosemary is a delicate herb once it is harvested, but in the pot, it performs quite well, as many herbs do, with only basic watering and access to sunshine. It is possible to salvage a neglected rosemary plant by giving it a few intensive watering and sunshine session.