Organic Gardening

 

Why Go Organic

Twenty five years ago the thought of organic gardening would have been considered a pretty radical idea.  Herbicides and pesticides were considered the gardeners best friend. Without herbicides and pesticides how were gardeners expected to control the weeds, bugs, and animals that may threaten a thriving garden?

 

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.

It only makes sense that we should be able to apply the same principles to get the same results as they did today.  We should be able to use the same ingredients as the early settlers used rather than franken chemicals born in a chemist’s laboratory.

Organic gardening goes way beyond lack of chemicals in our vegetables and fruit and the benefits for us and our families. 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.

There are many advantages to gardening organically.  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.

 

Organic or Non Organic, What’s the Difference

 

In 2001, the British organization, The Soil Association, reported that a comprehensive review of existing research revealed significant differences between organically and non-organically grown foods. These differences relate to food safety, primary nutrients, secondary nutrients and the health outcomes of the people who eat organically

 

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!

When you start organic gardening, you get extra fresh vegetables. 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 store bought tomato again.

This trait extends to all vegetables you grow yourself when you go the organic method. 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 store bought variety.

Save Money and Make Some Extra Cash

You will not only save money by growing your own fruit and vegetables, but you can even make a little extra cash on the side by selling your own all-natural foods that are so popular in the grocery stores these days.  If you know how to can tomatoes you can you can take what extra you have to the farmer’s market and sell your organic tomatoes or homemade salsa to others who don’t have the advantage of having their own garden.

 

If you don’t know how to can fruit and vegetables don’t worry, there are many books covering canning and preserving along with some great canning and preserving recipes.

 

For a gardener who still isn’t convinced about the need to garden organically, here are some statistics that may help change your mind. In March of 2001, the American Cancer Society published a report linking the use of the herbicide glyphosate (commonly sold as Round-up) with a 27% increased likelihood of contracting Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

 

John Hopkins University also revealed that home gardeners use almost 10 times more pesticide per acre than the average farmer and that diseases caused by environmental illness, exposure to chemicals etc., is now the number one cause of death in the U.S. With the EPA’s recent phasing out of common pesticides such as Dursban and Diazinon, we are now realizing that many of the chemicals that we thought were “safe” were never actually tested to see what their affect on children, women, and the elderly could be. The time has come to reassess our dependence on herbicides and pesticides.

 

What Does Growing Organic Mean

 

You might wonder what exactly organic gardening means. The simple answer to that is organic gardeners don’t use pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on their plants. But gardening organically is much more than what you don’t do.

 

When you garden organically, you should think of your fruit and vegetables as part of a whole system within nature 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.

 

Basically organic gardening operates on the concept of 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 growers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops.  Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.

Organic gardening is the merging together of plants and soil allowing the Earth to naturally bear what it was made to do.  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.

 

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