New to vegetable gardening and seeking advice on starting a small organic fall garden - Knowledgebase Question

Sacramento, Ca
Avatar for jennifer31
Question by jennifer31
September 22, 2010
I am new to veggie gardening but now have a plot (slightly raised bed) in a community garden. I would like to grow lettuce, spinach, green onions, and maybe some herbs. All produce must be grown organically. Do I need to put down some form of topsoil to begin? What else should I plant to ward off pests naturally? What advice do you have for a novice? Thank you.

Answer from NGA
September 22, 2010
Organic simply means keeping your plants healthy with good cultural care and avoiding (or reducing) the use of chemical sprays. Healthy plants will tolerate insect invasions. You can hand pick any pests you find and you can prune off any diseased plant parts as soon as you notice them. This will keep your garden relatively insect and disease free. Start by amending the soil with compost or other organic matter. Spread a 3-4 inch layer of compost, aged manure or other organic matter over the top of the bed and dig it in to a depth of 8-10 inches. Plant your cool season veggie transplants or seeds and then spread another 2-3 inche of organic matter over the bare soil between the plants. This organic mulch will help suppress weeds, slow evaporation and moderate soil temperatures. At the end of the growing season you can dig the mulch into the soil and plant your spring crop, again spreading organic matter on the soil between the plants. Continue this routine year after year and you'll have rich, loose, organic soil which will promote healthy vegetable plants. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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