Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening – How Near or How Far Away?

If you make a practice of sitting the fence on most things, this article probably won’t be of interest to you. But if you’re definitely on one side or the other of issues that are important to you, I think you’ll relate.

There are two attitudes of approach to almost any issue:  How near can I get to the line (also known as the fence) or how far away can I stay.

It’s never really a question of being better than someone else.  Nor is it a question of being “right” and someone else being “wrong”.  It just all boils down to what you want to do and what you want to stand for.

And of course it must be said that a lot of what you want and what you stand for will depend on how much you know about what’s going on.

For me, it’s worked to stay as far away as possible from what I DON’T want.  I go towards what I DO want.  If there is a question in my mind about what to do — I decide based on going away from what I don’t want and staying the path towards what I do want.

Let’s take organic gardening for example. Do you want to be as close to the line as possible, because it can be a lot easier that way?  For some reason you want to call yourself an organic gardener, but you’ll stretch over the fence whenever it’s convenient?

Again, my decisions even in my garden are made based on how far away I can stay from the line and how close I can get to using no material that can harm my soil, my plants, animals, or myself.

I realize it’s next to impossible sometimes to get things that haven’t been tainted in one way or the other.  Nonetheless, I try to be as select as possible —even about where I get organic materials for my garden.  For example I won’t go around and pick up bagged leaves like I use to many years ago, because I don’t know where they come from and what’s on them.  It would be a shot in the dark to use them in my garden and I’d rather not do that.

In this age in which we live — where wrong is called right and right is called wrong — and organic is not always “organic” — you’ll come out way ahead if you adopt the attitude and mind-set of staying as far away as you can from what you don’t want.

It might not always be the easiest way, but I’ve always found it the best way in accomplishing my goals. I think you might also.


Related posts:

Decide What You Want and Do It

Organic Gardening – A Simple Concept


Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient and — a lot healthier.


All content including photos are copyrighted by  All Rights are Reserved.


  • I went back to read your related article, “Organic Gardening–Simple Concept” because I wanted more details about how you do care for your plants. (It’s obvious you take care of the soil with as much organic mulch as you can find.) I’m left to wonder: Do you ever use organic fertilizers, manures from organically fed animals, homemade or other organic pesticides? I love the description of your garden in “Simple Concept”. It sounds a little bit like a piece of heaven on earth.

    Please give us more details since this is the best time of the year to build our soils. I do have six happy, healthy, free range hens who are providing me with a lot of free manure.

    A word of testimony to the effectiveness of your method. This summer I made a point of layering as much straw as possible over walkways and beds, between plants. In just one season, our soil is incredibly rich, dark,friable, and filled with earthworms. Now that it looks so good, I’m not sure if I’ll ‘wear it out’ if I don’t add some fertilizer.

    Your comments, as always, are welcome and so helpful!

  • Hi Gayle,

    Your questions and your comments were great! Thank you for showing me what needs to be addressed with more detail so that you can benefit even more.

    I want to devote an entire post to answering those questions. In addition I have a post coming up next entitled Gardening – Keep it Simple – Because It Is! That will answer some of the questions and give me time to work on the post answering all of the questions in more detail.

    As a rule I do not use organic fertilizers per se, but will address that in more detail in a post.

    If I had access to manures from organically fed animals I would be loading up a truck full!

    I have used organic pesticides. As a rule I like to stay away from all of them. I will also cover that in more detail in the post.

    I do consider my garden a little piece of heaven on earth. Bill calls our property “God’s little acre.” Of course, a garden is ever changing and like any garden it has times that it looks not so good — and of course it must be mentioned that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. 8)

    Your manure from your chickens is EXCELLENT.

    I’ll address building the soil more in the post. In the interim — your aged chicken manure and all the leaves you can gather — just can’t be beat.

    One important note – until I can elaborate in more detail for you – you will NOT wear your soil out as long as you continue to add organic matter and keep your soil covered. The oxygen will eat up the organic matter from uncovered soil. But if you keep it covered and consistently add organic materials to replenish the organic matter —- you will be 100% ok without any fertilizers. It’s pretty much a waste of money to buy them.

    Thanks again Gayle!

  • Wow! That’s ‘freeing’! Even the organic gardening industry is working hard to create a ‘need’ in us with its marketing. I think somewhere in the back of my mind I was afraid I’d lose a season to a bad harvest if I didn’t add some ‘organic-purchased-something’ to the soil. But this fall, it looks so good! And I’ve done nothing but garden and add layers of mulch.

    I’m trusting my chickens to take care of bug patrol for me. Every day this fall I’ve been letting them into the garden to peck and eat (hopefully) insects/larvae. Hopefully, they are taking care of bugs that have buried themselves into the mulch for winter hibernation. (The fall crops are covered; otherwise they’d eat them.)

    Thanks for your blog, Theresa

  • “Freeing” is a great word, Gayle! Lots of variables can cause a bad harvest from time to time, but if you just keep doing what you’re doing — a bad harvest won’t be because you don’t have enough stuff in your soil. You’re doing great — just keep at it.

    I address that “need” you talked about in the post I’m going to write in response to your other questions. I think everyone can feel it from time to time.

    In the interim I just put up the new post: Gardening – Keep it Simple – Because It Is! That answers some things as well.

Leave a Comment