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    This article is the first in a six part series that I am dubbing the Healthy Eating/Organic Gardening series. It is written especially for the Frugal Food blog, and is a pet project of mine. I have this need to get out information to everyone regarding how much healthier organic foods are for you. How you will save money in the long run, through items such as hospital bills, if you eat healthier. And how much cheaper it is to grow these foods than it is to purchase them. In fact, it is far less expensive to grow organic foods than it is to purchase the cheap, non-organic versions.

    I am hoping that, by discussing these types of things in this column, people will see exactly how important it is to eat a truly healthy diet. If your are thinking "This is all fine and dandy, Shannon. But I have no place to grow a garden," fear not. I will be discussing this issue, and how you can get around it in a future article series this winter.

    To begin with, let me just say that I generally have an excruciatingly small food budget over  the period of an entire year. Yet, I can manage to grow a portion of my food organically just the same. 2011 will see me expanding on my efforts greatly. Baby steps work well to get you started on this venture. Learn all you can about each step, and you will be ahead of the game.

    In this series, I will discuss:

    1. Overview.
    2. Herbs.
    3. Edible Flowers.
    4. Fruits and Berries.
    5. Vegetables.
    6. Further Information.

    Enjoy the series, and let me know if it helps you in any way.

    It is important, when creating garden areas, that you start with organic soil. You can purchase this, if necessary. Locating free sources of this soil is a more frugal option. Creating a composting system is a great way to provide healthy soil for your gardening efforts, and it will provide you with this soil for years to come with minimal effort and cost.

    You should not need fertilizers if you are composting and gardening organically. If the need does arise to help some plants along, keep the methods you use completely organic. Research ways to do this, and stay in line with your values. Do the same with insects and other pests. You should not have many problems. Keep in mind that many insects are beneficial to a garden. You do not have to waste money bringing these into the garden from outside sources. They will come naturally when you are not using chemicals to get rid of other pests.

    Organic, heirloom seeds are the best to use when growing an organic garden. Heirloom seeds are old-fashioned varieties which will provide you produce with superior taste to that purchased at the grocery store. These old varieties are generations old, providing us with a way to know what our great-grand parents would have eaten in their day.

    Purchase seeds that are certified organic whenever possible. HeirloomSeeds.com will be helpful to start. In an era when seed-saving is making a resurgence, these are the seeds that you will be able to save seeds from. The SeedSavers.org is another important resource. The ones that will produce foods that are like the parent plants. The hybrid seeds that we normally purchase will not provide us with this ability overall.

    There are many gardening methods that can be used, and they can each be researched online with minimal effort. The Square Foot Gardening Foundations’ website will provide you with information about getting the optimal amount of produce from square foot sections of your garden. Lasagna gardening is another method that can be researched online. Still more methods include the No-Dig method, container gardening, succession planting and the method of growing up.

    You can look for many of my gardening articles by typing Shannon Buck into the search of eHow.com , AssociatedContent.com, Suite101.com and GardenGuides.com. These will be helpful in your research.

    Learning to preserve foods is another important aspect of organic gardening. A good garden will provide a family or individual with far too much food to eat fresh from the garden. This series will discuss the different methods of preserving your produce, including how to dry herbs by hanging them.

    Enjoy the series, and really consider what you are reading.

     

     

     

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