Organic gardening, just what is it?
A simple governmental definition is as follows; if there is such one.
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible.
But is organic more than just meeting a bunch of federal regulations that avoids the use of chemicals on your garden. For many people, organic gardening is simply using the produce of nature itself to provide the nutrients to sustain the crops one is growing. Growing like this is the outcome of a personal decision due to ones belief of the importance healthy living.
There has been much research done that proves food grown without the use of manmade chemicals ultimately leads to a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals. Foods grown this way are proven to be better health wise.
Here are 10 key reasons for organic gardening.
1.Healthy Soil – When it comes to organic gardening, this is probably the most sought-after reason. Healthy soil can only be healthy when it is alive with natural fertilizers, which results in healthy products we can consume. The natural fertilizers are composed of such things as kitchen waste, composted garden waste and manures, all of which are easily turned back into the soil.
- Sustainable gardening practices – This is a process in which your garden to become self-sustaining. This is the result where plants consume the nutrients that are placed there through the decomposition of the natural fertilizers. If this is done properly, the natural cycle produces and maintains healthy plants.
- Natural Stewardship – The practice of organic gardening reduces the contamination that is inflicted upon the land and waterways that comes from chemical-based solutions.
- Beneficial habitats. With the reduction of man-made chemicals there is an added benefit to the wide variety wildlife. By reducing the chemicals that are used, you will find an increase of beneficial insects. As the beneficial insects increase, they will consume large numbers of insects that are known to destroy plants.
- Decrease water usage – When organic gardening incorporates what is often referred to as intensive planting practices, it aids in conserving water and helps reduce the number of weeds. Intensive planting is the process of covering as much of the soil with plant life. This is often referred to as “Three sister planting” or “Companion Planting”. This process not only aids in reducing the amount of soil evaporation it also benefits the reduction of seed germination.
- Plant diversity. This is where you plant different types the same produce. When it comes to tomato plants there a literally hundreds of different types of tomatoes and by planting more than one type you ensure that a particular disease or growing condition does not infect the entire crop.
- Crop rotation – This is probably one of the single biggest ways in controlling soil borne pests and disease. If at all possible, and you have the ability to plant multiple crops in a single season, make sure you rotate with the crops within the season and if you only grow one crop a season, make sure that you do not plant the same crop in the same location the following year.
- Proper watering and weeding practices. When it is ever possible, it is best to use rain water in your garden. By using rain water, you avoid the use of chemicals, such as chlorine, that are put into most city water sources. When adding the water to the garden it is best applied by soaker hoses, drip irrigation or by hand. These methods reduce the amount of water that is lost by runoff and evaporation. When it comes to weeding there is no better way to avoid the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Weeding can also be reduced by laying down a thick layer of mulch. Not only does this reduce evaporation, it also aids in the inability of weed seeds from germinating.
- Seed saving – Imagine being able to take the seeds from your best plants and using them for your future plating. There is no truer form of organic gardening than allowing the produce that you grow, than to also be the seeds to grow with again.
- Nutrition and taste you are looking for
Many studies have proven that food that is grown locally and organically has more of the minerals and nutrients that our bodies need than those that are grown with man-made chemical compounds.