What is Organic Gardening?

I’ve read a few definitions of organic gardening.  Some can get quite lengthy and complicated. I like simple.

Simply put organic gardening is working with nature, using what she furnishes to replenish and feed the soil.  And not using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.  This way of gardening does good instead of harm to you and the environment.

It’s a simple concept, based on building healthy, living soil through the addition of organic matter. You feed the soil and it feeds your plants and gives health to you and your family.

Some years  back a neighbor of ours visited while my husband and I were working in our garden.  He loved gardening and his was a traditional bare ground garden on which he used chemical fertilizers and insecticides. During the course of our conversation, he said to us, “I garden the old fashion way. I don’t know how to do it your way.”  I couldn’t help but laugh and said to him, “Jim – ours is the OLD fashion way — yours is the new way!”

Jim had been gardening with chemicals all his life and had never even heard of organic gardening. (As you may have guessed we live in a remote rural area.) Over the years (especially the last 50 years) chemical farming replaced organic farming, but before that it was pretty much the only way to farm. I think there is more demand for organic just recently but I wouldn’t call it mainstream yet.

When you garden organically you work with nature to produce plants that are healthy and safe to eat. Everything you can grow and/or eat organic cuts down on your intake of poisonous chemicals that so saturate our world.  Organic gives you a much better shot at good health and long life.

If you are into chemical gardening and want to change – take a small step in that direction. The longest journey starts with one small step. It’s easy and wonderful.  I’ve done it for almost 40 years with much success and much to show for my effort.

Set your priorities and your goal. Take at least one small step towards it.  Join me here at Tending My Garden for help and encouragement in the form of stories, tips, anecdotes, experiences and explanations acquired over my 40 years of organic gardening.

A warning: Peer pressure can cause some to waiver, especially if they are not convinced in their own minds that organic gardening is best.

Although I am committed to gardening organically and have been for 40 years, I still feel the dread when a visitor shows up who is under the impression that gardens should be perfect and flawless at all times.  Peas that have almost finished and don’t look as lush as they once did, snap beans with holes from bean beetles, and vegetables that are not as big as in the garden of the guest ——can become in their eyes “proof” that organic gardening could not possibly work.

Visitors to my garden (and most especially Miracle Gro advocates)  whose tomatoes were planted at the same time as mine are always amazed (and I think delighted) that their plants are twice the size of mine after one month of growth.  Before the season is over, the tables are reversed.  My plants get huge and from what they tell me, I get a lot more production for a longer period of time than they do.

I know from experience that most of the time organically grown vegetables grow slowly. One of the things I think has made chemical fertilizer so popular is the quick growth it gives. My opinion deduced from my research (reading and hands-on) is that they do so at the expense of plant health and production not to mention the health of the gardener and those whom he feeds.

That is just one example of peer pressure, but there are many.  Old habits are hard to break and peers can make it harder for you.  But you can do it.  Start small, walk that way, and do just one small thing to make your garden organic, and give yourself a pat on the back. You’ll get there.