Organic Gardening

Getting the most from your seeds, soil and buck

It is safe to say that the organic trend isn't going to be just a flash in the pan.  Every time you visit any sort of shopping center you will find a large selection of products labeled “organic”. You can find anything from t-shirts to glass cleansers. The produce section of your local grocery store is perhaps the best place to see this trend grow.  Every week there seems to be a larger variety of veggies branded organic!  The price tag is not small.  If you want to go organic, but hesitate because of what buying those organic prices would do to your budget there is a solution: try organic gardening for yourself.

Green without the glowing green

Organic gardening is not complicated or expensive. In fact for the home gardener it is easier and much more cost effective than chemical laden gardening is in many ways. First you don’t have to purchase expensive and dangerous chemicals.  The cost factor is not the only benefit associated with avoiding chemicals.  In a home it is easy to neglect these chemicals and accidentally poison yourself, a pet or less tragically the non-targeted a plant or beneficial insect.

The dirty little secret of an organic garden

The term organic is most often associated with not using chemicals, steroid growth accelerators or genetically engineered seeds, but there is more to it than that. Growing plants organically does shunning the use of almost all modern advances in farming, but it does not mean tossing your seeds out abandoning them to all but the natural elements.

Soil building and sustainability is at the heart of organic gardening techniques. The soil is after all what gives the seeds its start.  The nutritive content of the end result is also determined by a large degree by the soil's mineral content.  Good fertile soil can be built and maintained without adding chemicals.  This means your veggies can be strong, beautiful and chemical free year after year after year.

Waste not, want not

The first key to soil building is to put back what has been lost.  As the plant grows it takes essential nutrients from the soil to use as building materials. Crop after crop of these withdrawals creates mineral deficiencies in the soil.  Unhealthy soil results in unhealthy, underperforming crops. Many of the chemicals used in traditional commercial farms aim at adding back these vital nutrients.

Organic gardeners put lost nutrients back, but without the chemicals. It is better for your soil, food and the city landfill. The last time you made a salad, what did you do with the carrot ends or the eggshells from your omelet or the core from your sliced apple?  If you tossed them in the trash you are robbing your soil of a great source of fertilizer. 

Instead of putting food scraps in the trash toss them on the garden and turn them into the soil.  As they break down they return their nutrients to your garden and eventually back to you.

Another source of soil amendment is the plant itself. At the end of the growing season don't toss the uprooted plants into the trash.  Use a sharp nosed shovel to chop them into smaller pieces as you burry them into the garden.  When spring comes those old plants will have transformed into rich soil that is ready for this year's crop.

Switch it up for soil health

The last key to basic soil health is to switch things up a bit.  Different plants use the nutrients in the soil in differing amounts and varieties.  Planting your crops in different parts of the garden each year will ensure an even consumption.

With the soil on your side, you will find the heavy duty chemical fertilizers unnecessary!