At this stage in history, we face many issues regarding securing unadulterated, nutritious foods for ourselves and our families. It’s becoming challenging to find non-GMO, organic healthy food at most local grocery stores. Commercial farming practices are now producing pseudo foods that are often tasteless, stripped of nutrients, and poisoned with toxic chemicals and genetic mutations. One of the best ways to overcome these challenges is to grow your own organic fruits and vegetables by using organic gardening principles. This can be done whether you live in the city, suburbs, or a rural area.
What is organic gardening? In a nutshell, organic gardening is the growing of fruit, vegetables, and other plants using only organic, non-GMO seeds, organic fertilizers, pest control techniques, and other organisms and materials that are exclusively found naturally in the environment. In other words, no synthetic chemicals or toxins are used in the production of organic crops.
What Are the Advantages of Organic Gardening?
First, let’s start with a definition: What is organic gardening? In a nutshell, organic gardening is the growing of fruit, vegetables, and other plants using only organic, non-GMO seeds, organic fertilizers, pest control techniques, and other organisms and materials that are exclusively found naturally in the environment. In other words, no synthetic chemicals or toxins are used in the production of organic crops.
Organic gardening is the best choice for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that growing your own organic food is the most effective way to consume fresh, nutritious fruits and veggies that provide to your body the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and other bioactive phytonutrients. You will not be exposing yourself to toxins used in the growth process (pesticides, insecticides) and those applied to crops after harvest (dyes, waxes, etc.). You also know your food sources and will most likely be eating food that is “in season.”
Another great reason to take up organic gardening is to save money. It is much more economical to grow your own produce than to purchase organic produce from someone else, especially when you can get the maximum freshness and nutritional benefits from your own garden. Also, you can pick and use only what you need for that day, thus minimizing waste.
Finally, one of my favorite reasons to practice organic gardening is that you can create a tradition with your children and grandchildren by passing on a love of gardening and healthy food to them. The harvest is sweet when you can pick and immediately consume delicious fruits (and veggies) of your own labor.
Excellent Pointers on Organic Gardening
It’s possible to grow enough organic produce for your family no matter where you live. You can make a plot in your yard, or if you live in an apartment in the city, you can take up container gardening on a porch or patio. It’s beyond this article’s scope to cover all the details, but there are many great resources available on all phases of organic gardening. The very first step is to determine how much space you will need for the number of crops you desire. One of my favorite books is Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. You can preview this book at http://books.google.com/books?id=9_spjPVMnCUC.
Organic gardening will not produce great results without water. Yet, most gardeners don’t think about the importance of using clean, pure water in their organic garden. Highly chlorinated water can kill microorganisms in the soil that is there to protect the plant and its food source. Chlorine is designed to kill living organisms such as fungi and bacteria that can contaminate your water source. It does such a great job of killing these organisms that it can be harmful to your plants since your plants rely on some of the fungi and bacteria to survive. Every plant’s survival is based on the nutrients it receives from its water and soil. Healthy soil is made up of beneficial bacteria, molds, and various forms of fungi (the very things that chlorine was designed to kill). Organic farmers and gardeners have known for years that the safest way to protect their plants and the environment from insects, disease, and pests is through the use of beneficial bacteria. Highly chlorinated water can kill microorganisms in the soil that is there to protect the plant and its food source. As a rule, commercial farmers and horticulturists do not use chlorinated municipal city water to irrigate their crops.
How safe is your garden hose? Ever wonder about that? Most PVC garden hoses contain lead. The good news is lead-free garden hoses are available. They are constructed from materials approved by the FDA, and the fittings are often nickel-plated because brass fittings can also leach lead. They are labeled “drink-safe” or “safe for potable water.” However, with any hose, even ones labeled “drink-safe,” always let the water run before you water your garden. You can also purchase garden hose filters which will eliminate chlorine and many chemicals. Type “garden hose filter” into Google, and you will be able to pick the type that best fits your needs and pocketbook.
Natural Pesticide Control
There are about as many home remedies for pest control as gardeners, but one of the most popular and effective ones is introducing friendly insects that will prey on harmful pests. Your choices will vary depending on where you live, but some favorites include ladybugs, beetles, spiders, and praying mantises. Some gardeners also spray plants with organic soap diluted with water.
One of the key factors is the seeds you choose. These days, all seeds are not created equal. It is vital that you use what is known as heirloom seeds. This means they have not been genetically tampered with, and it also means that you can save seeds from your own crops and use them next season. Many seed producers now alter seeds so that they cannot be used again. Heirloom seeds will also provide you produce with maximum nutritional value.
Making your own compost is an excellent way to provide cost-effective, natural fertilizer and mulch for your garden. Basically, you want a combination of brown material (which provides carbon) and green material (a source of nitrogen.) Some suggested browns include corn stalks, straw, dried leaves, and shredded newspaper. Beneficial greens include coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, green leaves, and tea bags. A few items to avoid in your compost pile include meat or dairy products, bones, treated lumber or sawdust, glossy paper, colored paper, pet droppings, diseased plants, and synthetic chemicals [Certain lawn and garden chemicals (herbicides – pesticides) can withstand the composting process and remain intact in the finished compost].
To keep animals away from your compost pile, tips include fencing and surrounding your garden with items that have a human scent, such as hair or even urine.
Manure, Antibiotics & Compost Video
Give Organic Gardening a Try
Once most people give organic gardening a try, they become hooked. Don’t be intimidated if you are a rookie. Embrace the idea, study up, and get started. You will learn more as you begin your garden, and like any other hobby, your skills and knowledge will grow over time. You will soon discover that growing and eating your own organic produce is one of the great pleasures of life.