What Does Growing Organic Mean
You have decided you want to become an organic gardener. But what exactly does organic gardening mean. Organic gardeners don’t use pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on their plants. Organic gardening is much more than what you don’t do, but rather what you do.
When gardening organically, think of your fruit and vegetables as part of an eco system that starts in the soil and includes the water supply, people, wildlife and even insects. An organic gardener strives to work in harmony with natural systems and to minimize and continually replenish any resources the garden consumes.
Organic gardening operates on the concept of replenishing or recycling. You use kitchen scraps, garden waste and animal waste, to mulch and compost. You can use common household items like vinegar, soap and some garlic and hot pepper concoctions to prevent pests and newspaper and mulch to prevent weeds.
Organic gardeners rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops. Genetically modified (GM) crops are constantly in the news as of late and are not allowed under organic standards because they are modified and not original to their variety, they are unsafe and untested.
The merging together of plants and soil allowing the Earth to naturally bear what it was made to do would be considered organic gardening. The plants and the soil are one working together to provide food and nourishment not only to humans but to animals and organisms as well.
Why Go Organic
You might wander how you can garden without herbicides and pesticides and how are you going to control the weeds, bugs, and animals that may threaten a thriving garden? Herbicides and pesticides were considered the gardeners best friend and now you will be expected not to use them?
But the thing is, for years gardeners have been growing things just fine without the use of chemicals. Early settlers of our land did not have any herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and they got along just fine.
We should be able to use the same ingredients as the early settlers used rather than franken chemicals born in a chemist’s laboratory. It only makes sense that we should be able to apply the same principles to get the same results as they did today.
Vegetables and fruit produced using organic method tastes better, have more vitamins and minerals and have none of the cancer causing chemicals in them. It is simply more nourishing and more healthful. There are many advantages to gardening organically.
There has been a great rise in the interest of ecology and concern about the environment that has bred new life to this form of gardening. By using natural materials, such as kitchen and garden scraps a gardener can create compost and fertilize the garden naturally.
Taking advantage companion planting and natural predators the home gardener can manage pest control and maintain an organic garden quite easily. Organic gardening goes way beyond lack of chemicals in our vegetables and fruit and the benefits for us and our families.
Organic or Non Organic, What’s the Difference
The USDA did a study in 1999 comparing essential nutrient content in our food. They found that about half of the essential nutrients on our food had been reduced by as much as 38 percent as compared to the 1950’s.
If nutrients are not in the soil; if we’re depleting the soil through industrial processes, and it’s not in the plants, it’s not in our milk, in our meat, it’s not in us. Many of the immune enhancing compounds that make life wonderful, make our food taste wonderful, and also protect us from cancers and a lot of chronic disease. The attributes to organic food are not just the avoidance of toxins. It’s also about what it does have in there, and that’s the superior nutrients.
Vitamin C and dry matter contents are higher, on average, in organically grown crops then they are in non-organic crops. Mineral contents are also higher, on average, in organically grown crops. Food grown organically contains substantially higher concentrations of antioxidants and other health promoting compounds than crops produced with pesticides.
Most people who decide to start organic gardening report that the enjoyment they receive is paramount to their decision to go the route of no-chemicals in favor of the all-natural route. Many people like to watch the tender new growth come to full maturity and, as a bonus, you get to eat it!
Naturally grown corn on the cob and newly picked green beans are especially noticeable, but nothing compares to vine ripened organically grown tomato. When you take your first bite of an organically grown tomato it’s something you won’t forget and you will never want a commercially grown tomato again. When you start organic gardening, you get extra fresh vegetables.
A phenomenon noted by most people when harvesting their very first vegetables from their very first garden is that everyone eats much more of a given vegetable than they would of a similar commercial variety. This trait extends to all vegetables you grow yourself when you go the organic method.
Need More Proof
For a gardener who still isn’t convinced about the need to garden organically, here are some statistics that may help change your mind. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers 60 percent of herbicides, 90 percent of fungicides, and 30 percent of insecticides to be carcinogenic. Pesticides are also notoriously hazardous. Commonly used pesticides have been linked to health problems such as:
- Disruption of your endocrine system
- Immune system suppression
- Male infertility and reduced reproductive function
On average, conventional produce has only 83 percent of the nutrients of organic produce. Studies have found significantly higher levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, and significantly less nitrates (a toxin) in organic crops.
Higher nutrient content naturally means greater health benefits. A 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry concluded that organic foods are better for fighting cancer. And in 2005, scientists found that, compared to rats that ate conventional diets, organically fed rats experienced a variety of health benefits.
The choice is yours, it’s really not that difficult to go the organic route and the health benefits will be worth the trouble. You will be able to recycle your kitchen and garden waste and at the same time help save the environment.