Produce without the Pesticides: Organic Gardening
Gardening organically means using no chemical fertilizers or pesticides; the only growing aides are sunlight, water (preferably from water-conserving sources such as rain barrels), and possibly some organic fertilizer. Fruit and vegetable gardening is great for the environment in a number of ways, but it’s even better if you employ organic gardening principles. Incorporating organic methods in your garden improves the produce you grow as well as the soil you grow it in.
Organic growing is about more than what’s not in the food, however. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program certifies as organic foods produced without using synthetic chemical pesticides or that come from animals that haven’t been given antibiotics or growth hormones. The program also emphasizes using renewable resources and conserving soil and water to enhance environmental quality for the future.
Organic gardening isn’t just about growing healthy plants, it’s about improving the health of the soil.
If your home’s previous occupants grew fruit and vegetables in the garden plot, it may contain a whole range of chemicals. It takes time to get those chemicals out of the soil so that your produce is organic — usually at least three years. To figure out where you’re starting from, it’s very important to obtain a soil test (contact your local agriculture extension office) to determine what your soil may be lacking.
Vegetable Gardening Guru has all sorts of tips for reclaiming your garden and making it organic, and you can talk to your local nursery or garden center staff about the types of plants and seeds you need for organic production.