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Pro Tips

How to Grow an Organic Vegetable Garden

Planting a vegetable garden is a healthy and rewarding activity that will give you a sense of pride. Want to go a step further and make it an organic garden? Here are our best tips for going organic!

Planter boxes made of cedar wood

Choose Cedar

When making your plots or planters, go for cedar. This untreated material is naturally mould-resistant and is perfect for organic gardening.
Tomato plants with a row of orange flowers

Plan Your Garden Like a Pro

  • 2.1 - It can be tempting to stick with “traditional” vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. But an organic garden thrives on variety. To create a natural balance that controls diseases and pests, plant an assortment of vegetables along with flowers and other aromatic plants.
  • 2.2 - In a garden, certain plant combinations are favourable, while others are harmful. To learn more about our best plant combination tips, check out Companion Planting: What to Plant in Your Garden.
  • 2.3 - Following the principles of crop rotation, we do not recommend growing a plant in the same spot 2 years in a row. Doing so could cause soil depletion and encourage the spread of diseases and pests.
Boxes filled with various tomato varieties

Choose the Most Resistant Plants

Instead of focusing solely on the aesthetic appeal or gastronomic value of a plant or vegetable, pay particular attention to resistance. For example, certain tomato varieties are prone to fruit cracking, mildew, or stem-end rot, while others are more resistant but have low productivity. Take the time to read up on different varieties in order to make the right choice.

Pro Tip

For a garden that thrives year after year, choose perennials for your hardiness zone (and lower) and avoid those from higher zones.
Bird drinking water from a birdbath

Promote Biodiversity

  • 4.1 - Attracting the right insects will help your garden thrive. For example, bees and butterflies help with pollination, and ladybugs and spiders feast on harmful insects! Discover 10 plants and flowers to attract birds and pollinators.
  • 4.2 - In addition to the right plants and flowers, another great way to attract more birds to your outdoor space is to install birdhouses, feeders, and birdbaths. Birds feed on the insects in your garden, so you can skip the insecticides!
Person adding organic hen manure to a planter box

Use Organic Seeds and Products

From seeds to fertilizer to soil, be sure to select organic products. When planting your seedlings, biodegradable plantable pots are a great way to limit the use of plastics, while protecting the fragile roots of young plants. Simply plant them directly in the soil, without removing the vegetable or flower.
Person adding natural mulch to a vegetable garden

Add a Good Layer of Mulch

Mulch (wood chips, hay, straw, weeds, etc.) retains the soil’s humidity longer, reducing the need for watering. Plus, the protective layer prevents certain weeds from growing, while nourishing the soil during the decomposition of organic materials!

Pro Tip

Be sure to use natural materials only. Coloured mulch is not suitable for organic growing.
Assortment of freshly harvested vegetables on a picnic table

Harvest Often

You might be tempted to leave those ripe vegetables on your plants as long as possible to admire their beauty. But for some vegetables (spinach, cucumbers, zucchini, string beans, etc.), frequent harvesting actually stimulates the plant and improves its yield.

Pro Tip

Remember: the longer your ripened vegetables remain on the plant, the greater the chance a wild animal will nibble on them when you’re not looking!
Person watering a vegetable garden

Water with Reclaimed Water

  • 8.1 - A rainwater recovery basin reduces the consumption of treated water for your garden maintenance. Better yet, rainwater contains all the natural minerals needed for your crops to grow!
  • 8.2 - Rinse water and vegetable cooking water act as a natural fertilizer for your garden—and for your houseplants too! But beware: do not add salt to your cooking water if you intend to use it to water your plants.
Cabbages covered by garden netting

Control Harmful Insects Without Chemicals

  • 9.1 - One of the best ways to control harmful insects in your garden: Odorous plants!
    • Repellent plants (citronella, lavender, mint, basil, lemon balm): repel parasites.
    • Sacrificial/trap plants (Indian cress): attract parasites, drawing them away from vegetables.
  • 9.2 - Garden netting can help protect your crops from birds, animals, and large insects.
  • 9.3 - Lastly, you can also extract insects manually. Have gardening gloves and a good garden hose on hand, and eliminate all the critters by hand (fragile plants) or by spraying them with water (stronger plants).

Pro Tip

From eggshells to coffee grounds to cat urine, you can find a ton of eco-friendly tricks on the Internet for repelling harmful insects.
Person placing weeds in a compost bin

Take Advantage of Natural Fertilizers

What if we told you that you could turn weeds into a fertilizer that’s 100% natural? Too good to be true, right?

Rather than buying commercial compost, simply turn organic materials (weeds, dead leaves, small branches, etc.) from your backyard into a non-depleting and renewable natural fertilizer. Good for the environment, and for your wallet!

Here are two ways to do it:

  • “Mulching”: Technique used to create natural mulch.
  • Weed manure: Plant preparation that acts as a natural fertilizer and repellant.

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