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New Gardener in Need of Guidance?
The Complete Beginner's E-Guide to Organic Gardening in NJ Zone 6 is now available for purchase. Learn more here.

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Controlling Weeds in Your Organic Garden
Chemical-Free Pest Control for Your NJ Organic Garden
Grow Better Tomatoes by Amending the Soil
"Winter Sowing Works" Amazon Kindle Book from Bohemian Reflections
Enjoy a Discounted Price on Our Newest E-Guide... Growing Herbs in NJ Zone 6
Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
Growing Tomatoes from Seed
Buying Good Garden Soil in Hunterdon, NJ
What Type of Soil is Right for My Raised Garden Beds?
Growing Tomatoes for Sauce
NJ Tomato Growing: Organic Control of Aphids, Stink Bugs and Fruit Worms
Homemade, Home-Canned Salsa - Instructions and Recipe
NEW E-GUIDE! Preserving the Harvest: How to Can, Freeze, Pickle, Dehydrate and Cold-Store
Growing Garlic in NJ


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6 Quick Tips for Vegetable Gardening Without the Use of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides

It's true that some gardeners can't resist the jumbo-sized, blemish-free produce that results from using Miracle Gro. But a whole lot of other people nowadays are into growing food for their families using the healthiest means possible. This means NO chemicals – at all! And the great news is, organic gardening isn't as difficult as some might think. In fact it's pretty darned easy if you do it correctly from the start.

Below, six keys to organic gardening success.

Fertile Soil

To successfully grow a lush, green garden that bears beautiful vegetables, herbs and flowers, you should start with excellent quality soil. You can create your own, fertile soil by composting a mix of green and brown matter and then repeatedly adding that to the existing soil in your garden patch. However, since this takes a pretty long time... take a short cut, and bring in some organic soil from your local grower. You will only have to invest in soil the first year, and thereafter can augment the soil with biodegradable organic matter that you make in your handy composter.

Raised Beds

The next key to a super prolific organic garden: raised beds. If you check out the encyclopedia of garden plants that we included in our Complete Organic Gardening Guide for NJ Zone 6, you'll see that a great majority of them do better if planted in "well draining soil." What does that mean? The garden should be up on a slight plateau... sloped sides, flat on top. This promotes good drainage: water collects up top, is absorbed by the loose, fluffy soil, and sinks to the roots of the plants. Any excess water will flow down and away from the plants.


Companion Planting

Many NJ gardeners start off on the right foot by planting in organic soil. Then, when the heat of summer brings produce-damaging insects and disease, they give up and resort to using chemical pesticides. Or, they don't spray, but lose some of their precious harvest to beetles and such. This doesn't have to be the case. Companion planting will rid your garden of many a bug, and even some diseases such as fungus and nematodes which are basically parasites.


Companion planting is pretty easy. Just plant aromatics, such as marigolds, nasturtium, basil, garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, oregano, lavender, and other strongly scented flowers and herbs, in and around the veggie plants in your garden. Aromatics give off a strong odor which is naturally repellent. For more information about which aromatics and other garden plants make the best neighbors, read our article on companion planting.


Crop Rotation

Crop rotation has been utilized since the Middle Ages. If a plant takes up the same spot in your garden year after year, it will basically deplete the soil in that area of all the nutrients that it needs to grow and thrive. Thus, each year the plant will become less healthy and your crop will suffer. Additionally, if any plant-specific viruses, fungus or other diseases take hold in that spot, the pathogens will remain in the soil and spread to the following year's crop.

Knowing this, it's important to rotate your crops to different spots in your garden. If you can't technically move the location of the crop in question due to spatial constraints or lack of sunlight, then you should bring in new soil from the outside. This will replenish the depleted nutrients. You can also bake the weeds and pathogens out of your garden beds by laying down dark plastic over the beds on a hot, sunny day.

Organic Fertilizers

The best fertilizers come from nature and should have decomposed completely so as not to contain any seeds or pathogens. Organic compost that you cook in your own backyard using a combination of green matter (grass clippings, coffee grinds, clean paper waste, kitchen waste) and brown matter (decayed leaves), will provide the perfect mix of nutrients to benefit your garden veggies.

Fish emulsion, too, is highly beneficial to your garden plants, deepening the color of the foliage and increasing the vitamin and mineral content. You can make your own of these types of natural fertilizer, or you can buy high quality organic fertilizers such as Espoma's Garden-tone. Chicken and cow manure, too, can improve the quality of some of your garden veggies, but beware. The manure should be fully cured (broken down completely) to ensure that it does not contain harmful pathogens that can make humans ill.

Air Flow.

Another important aspect of gardening: air flow. Certain plants in particular, but all plants in general, benefit from having adequate space around them. This is not just so that sunlight can reach them, but also for proper air circulation. Think of nature at work: first the rain falls. Then the wind blows to help dry everything out. Without that drying wind, your garden plants will retain moisture which promotes rot, mold, mildew, fungus and disease. By following the instructions on your seed packets or planting sticks, you can provide your plants the room they need to thrive.

Order our NJ Zone 6 Organic Gardening E-Guide and Encyclopedia of Veggies, Herbs and Companion Flowers

Gardening is easy... and it's also complicated. To become a pro, why not check out our Complete Beginner's E-Guide to Organic Gardening in NJ Zone 6. Now available in ebook format only, available for instant download via PayPal payment.


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Contact us for more information: 908 783 5733 or email mikehyde@4seasonslawns.com today!


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Chemical-Free Pest Control for Your NJ Organic Garden

Grow Better Tomatoes by Amending the Soil

Growing Herbs in NJ Zone 6 Instant Download E-Guide

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

Buying Good Garden Soil in Hunterdon, NJ

What Type of Soil is Right for My Raised Garden Beds?

What Vegetables to Plant on May 15

Ode to the Turnip

Best Seed Catalogs

When and How to Start Prepping Your Garden Beds in New Jersey

When to Plant Early Spring Vegetables in NJ

Garden Planning in February? Yes! Get Ready for Spring Planting in NJ

Getting Your Raised Garden Beds Ready for Spring Planting

Is Rototilling Necessary? To Till or Not to Till Your NJ Garden Beds

Garden Planting Dates for NJ Zone 6

How to Plant Peas When There is Snow on the Ground

What to Do When You Miss Your Planting Date

Baking the Weed Seeds Out of Your Garden Beds

Planting Onions in Early Spring in NJ Zone 6

Broccoli Planting Instructions for NJ Zone 6

Sacrificial Carrot: How to Make Your NJ Carrot Crop Go the Distance

How to Grow Strawberries Organically

How to Plant Cucumbers in NJ Zone 6

Growing Herbs Successfully in NJ Zone 6

Spring Gardening in NJ: What to Plant on May 15?

Mid Spring Gardening Upkeep



Organic Composting Q&A

Mulch Q&A for Vegetable Gardens

Choosing a Fertilizer for Your Vegetable Garden

6 Quick Tips for Gardening Without the Use of Chemical Fertilizers or Pesticides



How Long Do Garden Seeds Last? Seed Viability Chart

How to Grow Vegetables from Seed

Growing Lettuce from Seed vs. Direct Sowing Lettuce

Growing Tomatoes from Seed