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Organic Gardening in Home Gardens

Home organic gardens have become increasingly popular. Whether we know it or not, many of us already practice forms of organic gardening. We just don't give it any thought. We do it for our health, and the health of the environment.

Organic gardening is the practice of growing vegetables, herbs and fruits using only things found in nature. Absolutely no man-made chemicals are used. Although we usually do not think of it, organic gardening concepts also apply to the world of flowers, trees, shrubs, and even your lawn. It is the practice of gardening without harmful and artificial chemicals, or other products not naturally found in nature. Commonly today, potentially harmful chemicals and non-natural products are used for fertilizing, and for control of insects, disease, and weeds.

Did you Know? Organic food sales are over $10Billion annually! It's no small cottage industry.

If you are not completely sold on organic gardening, you can still bring some of it's benefits to yourself, your family, and the environment, by applying concepts that work best for you and your crop. Any organic methods that you employ will benefit you and the environment.

Certified Organic- In order for produce in the marketplace to have this certification,  the crops must be grown under strict USDA guidelines. Everything from the seed to fertilizers and soil must be natural ingredients. Federal inspectors review certification applications and perform inspections.  See the path of organic produce takes to reach your dinner table.

Components of Organic Gardening:

Learn how to grow organically. Your organic gardening program consists of the following components:

  • Garden seeds - If you have decided to grow organically,  organic seeds are the all important starting point. While we most often think of organic vegetable seeds, organic herb seeds are also readily available. 

  • Garden soil and soil amendments - Your garden soil should be virgin soil that has never seen harmful chemicals.

  • Composting - why buy fertilizer!? Nothing beats compost

  • Companion Plants - Some plants provide insect and pest protection to other plants. Some plants provide nutrients.

  • Fertilizers - Add only organic compost, manure, mulch, fish emulsion, seaweed fertilizers, and other organic fertilizer.

  • Epsom Salt - a naturally occurring plant supplement   

  • Compost tea - feed your plants with free, liquid fertilizer

  • Organic Manure tea - feed your plants organically

  • Insect repellents/insect control - There's a whole lot of harmful insecticides out there. Learn about effective organic insect controls.

  • Disease control  - Chemical disease control is not good for you, your family, or the environment. There are alternatives.

  • Beneficial Insects - Let the good insects go after the bad ones.

  • Homemade Organic Spray Recipes

  • Vermicomposting or Worm Composting - Worms have been making natural fertilizer since the beginning of time.

More on Organic Gardening:

  • Wheatgrass - easy to grow and loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals

In the News:

The USDA has standardized rules for Organic food.

The USDA States uniform standards provide:

  • A single national standard replacing individual state and private standards

  • Consistent and accurate labeling to alleviate consumer confusion

  • Define uniform practices, methods and substances for producing crops organically.

  • Prohibits the use of genetic engineering, irradiation and sewage sludge.

  • Improve exports through a single standard that is more readily understood in other countries.

For more information, see the USDA's pages on the National Organic Program

Organic Gardening Tips:

** Place fruits like pumpkin and squash on a bed of sand. Snails and slugs do not like sand and will not cross over it. You will not need to use slug and snail poisons.

** Use Companion plants that repel insects. See Companion Plants

The major benefits of organic gardening are many:

  • Less harmful chemicals on the food you and your family may eat. This is reason enough.

  • Less harm to the environment

  • Cost savings as alternate sources can save you money

  • You will feel better knowing you are doing your part.

Ways we Practice Organic Gardening Today:

Organic Gardening takes many forms. It includes:

  • Use compost for mulch and fertilizer in your garden.

  • Use only plant matter for plastics. Leaves and straw work great.

  • Use manures for fertilizer in place of chemical fertilizer.

  • Learn and apply proper techniques to grow healthy plants and avoid plant disease.

  • Acquiring natural insect enemies, such as Ladybugs for aphids and preying mantis, to control insect problems.

  • Using natural insecticides and deterrents such as garlic or soap sprays to deter insects. No insecticides or pesticides.

  • Use natural insect predators like Preying Mantis and Ladybugs. If they do not exist in your area, companies sell them.

  • Use a little extra muscle power to control weeds, versus using weed killer.

  • A willingness to give up a little portion of your crop to the bugs in order to produce and consume healthier food for you and your family.

  • Conserve and recycle. By using natural materials like manure, composted weeds and kitchen scraps we are using organic materials and reducing what goes into the waste stream.

Related Topics:

Organic Wheatgrass Juice Recipe

About the USDA

Buy Organic Seeds and Supplies - Seeds, worm composters, fertilizer, fish emulsion, repellents, and more.

Make your own fertilizer. Compost Tumblers  quickly convert kitchen and yard waste into rich, organic compost. It's the "Go Green" movement.

Buy a Composter now

More on Composters

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