Growing an organic vegetable garden
The short answer is it's better. Better for the vegetables and fruit you're growing. Better
for the soil. And most importantly its better for you.
It's only since the Industrial Revolution that society turned to harsh
chemicals and poisons to boost yields. Non organic methods seem to work
for a while, but in the long term more and more people believe it's fraught
So what exactly is organic growing? It's all about growing vegetables,
fruit and other plants in natural ways. This also means protecting them
naturally from disease and pests. Organic growing uses the tried and tested
methods. The Chinese have successfully done this for thousands of years.
It's only now that scientists (and fortunately more and more farmers)
are getting a better understanding about why it works so well. Now lets
look at the ways organic growing is better.
Think about the last lot of fruit and vegetables you bought from the
store. They probably looked perfect to the eye and tasted avergae. But
what about the chemical and poison residues left on them? Sure enough
they can be cleaned (by you and before they get to you), but wouldn't
it be better to eat fruit and vegetables that you were 100% certain were
totally safe for you and your family?
Wouldn't it also be good to know that the fruit and vegetables you ate
were packed with healthy nutrients and vitamins? Chances are the fruit
and vegetables you buy from the shop came from hundreds, if not thousands
of miles (or kilometres) away. Scientists and geneticists develop varieties
which can be transported these vast distances without being blemished.
Think about it. When you buy some tomatoes from a shop don't you always
look for the best looking ones? How can you guarantee that vitamins and
nutrients won't be traded off with cosmetic perfection?
And while the fruit and vegetables you buy at the shop look perfect,
how do they taste? Once again, an essential quality of fruit and vegetables,
taste, is traded off for cosmetic perfection and transportation. When
was the last time you bought corn whose taste really knocked your socks
Organic fruit and vegetables are not sprayed with harsh chemicals or
poisons. Organic gardeners use natural, biological ways of protecting
and growing their crops. To achieve this you just need to think a little
bit ahead. You should plan where you place your
vegetable patch, what you dig into
the soil, what beds you plant your vegetables
in, what vegetables and herbs you grow together
and what preventative and proactive measures you take. Organic gardening
is more about preventing disease and insects then reacting to disease
and insects. And for organic growers any sprays used are natural sprays,
without harsh chemicals. By growing your own fruit and vegetables organically
you are guaranteed not to consume chemical and poison residues.
Growing your own also means growing healthy fruit and vegetables. The
seeds you sow will grow into fresh fruit and vegetable varieties which
have been grown in some cases for hundreds of years. They have not been
genetically engineered or had their genes spliced to look perfect and
only need to travel from your vegetable patch to your kitchen. In short,
the vitamins and nutrients haven't been tampered with. They're natural.
Once you've tasted your own organically grown produce you won't go back.
The taste and satisfaction you get from organic fruit and vegetables is
astounding. I hate it when I've harvested all my lettuces and tomatoes,
or run out of potatoes and have to begrudgingly buy their tasteless poor
cousins from the store. I really mean this, your own home grown organic
vegetables taste the best.
Your plants will also be better off with organic gardening. Insects and
diseases are fighting back against chemical sprays. Chemicals and poisons
might work in the short term but as insects and diseases mutate and become
resistant to particular sprays, chemicals and poisons become increasingly
ineffective. Poisons also kill indiscriminantly. They kill just as many
beneficial insects as pests, upsetting the natural balance of life. By
following organic principles your plants will be healthier. Don't expect
your fruit and vegetables to look 100% perfect. You will occassionally
get some slight problems, and you might lose the odd one or two vegies
or fruit, but you need to be pragmatic about these things. In the long
run your plants will thank you for it.
Unlike chemical growers, organic growers don't feed their plants, they
feed the soil. Healthy soil creates healthy plants and healthy people.
The American organic pioneer J.I.Rodale coined this phrase 50 years ago.
And it means just as much today as it did back then. Healthy soil should
be seen as a living, balanced whole, rich in humus and micro-organisms
including fungi, moulds, yeasts, bacteria and larger creatures like earthworms.
When chemicals and poisons are used they upset the soil's natural balance.
You can't have healthy soil if it's indiscriminantly or carelessly treated
with unnatural chemical fertilizers. Many of the living things maintaining
the balance are destroyed. Over time the soil will lose its life and structure.
The sensible method of maintaining the soil's balance is by organic gardening.
By digging in aged manures, green manure, compost and other natural items
and following the principles of crop rotation you can help build up the
quality of your soil. And with healthy soil you'll have healthy fruit
I hope this introduction to why you should organically grow your own
vegetables and fruit excites you enough to make the change. It's a positive
change, not just for you and your family, but also for the environment.
13 December, 2008
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