Try organic gardening --
grow your way to natural health!
Protect your family’s future
-- and the environment --
with organic gardening!
Imagine your kitchen counter, piled high with your own fresh, organic produce! It’s not just a dream – you can do it! With organic gardening you can avoid a lot of your family’s future health costs by addressing two important issues -- having food of the highest quality, AND locally grown in your own backyard!
Many of us today live at high speed, in an environment that doesn’t do much to keep us in touch with Nature. For many, mowing the lawn or playing golf may be the only thing to take us outside during our off-work hours.
But if you have a little ground – and I mean a LITTLE – it’s amazing what you can do to improve your health and get closer to a natural life.
In this page, we’ll start out with some basics of organic gardening, and then branch out to:
French Intensive Gardening
Mulch and raised beds
Indoor herb gardening
Organic composting and More on how to make it
We’ll also take a look at the pioneers of organic farming, the concept of organic health, and give the scoop on organic standards.
The ground is plowed and disked in the spring.
Then the soil is improved regularly with compost, usually applied to heavy-feeding crops, like tomatoes
In the fall, leaves or cover crops and/or manure are plowed-in
Weeds are uprooted by cultivation, using hand tools, push-plow or rototiller
Half this, half that -- the way my father did organic gardening
When I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, my father used a half-mulch, half-cultivation method.
Getting Started Right
I was always an easy mark for “no-work gardening.” Now I know there’s really no such thing. BUT some methods are much easier than others -- and that’s where it’s at. I think the Japanese had it right centuries ago when they said, “The best fertilizer is the footsteps of the gardener.” He/she is a shepherd of scrumptious plants, and has to monitor many things: when to pick, predatory insects, watering needs, thinning and weeding, and the plants.
Many of us are familiar with the traditional way of organic gardening, using plow, disk and cultivator. It goes like this:
He usually couldn’t get enough free mulch to cover the whole garden, or even by cutting it himself with a scythe. He couldn’t afford to pay for it, so he adapted a method to suit his conditions. With a family of nine to feed, and being fairly poor, I don’t know how we could have gotten enough healthy food
without that garden.
There are many ways to garden organically, so do what my father did – adapt a method that fits the situation.
Let’s consider your resources:
Are your health and energy normal, or do you face challenges, like arthritis, low energy, or physical handicaps?
Do you have the money to buy ready-made items, or will you need to build everything yourself, out of scrap? (This is important, since a roll of plastic alone can run $30.00.)
Do you have plenty of time, or are you planning to squeeze gardening into the corners?
What about your site?
Is it level and open? Can a plow and disk get to it? Or is there a rototiller you can use?
Or are there rocks and trees, poor soil, or sloping ground?
Is it close to the road? You may have to consider a fence (or hedge) as a pollution barrier, and put up “No Spray” signs to protect your garden from patrolling utility companies
This is a shockingly common problem,
since almost everybody and his brother (or sister) seems to think it’s harmless to use herbicides to get rid of weeds and trees. But research has consistently found that what poisons or screws up one form of life will poison and screw up another
Still, chemical companies have always said that their latest product is “totally safe,”
in spite of the bad track record. Sometimes I’m blunt about it to the local utility crews, telling them they have a right to their opinions, but their kids ARE drinking the stuff. Most don’t answer that, but at least they have refrained from spraying my property. (Probably because of past lawsuits by others, and not my skill as an orator)
The widespread use of chemicals on lawns, gardens and everywhere else is such a shame, especially since there have been so many (almost unrecognized) advances in biological insect controls. For instance, Gardens Alive
(now a subsidiary of Gurney's Nursery) is the only
company that carries so many unique eco-friendly products. No serious organic gardener can do without them. But don't take my word for it, click on the Gardens Alive ad above and see for yourself.
All of these factors will influence your style of organic gardening, so give them some thought, especially at the start.
When I first read Square-Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew, I thought it would be perfect –
not much energy required, and good for very small gardening areas. And yet, when I tried it, it bothered me, because it calls for micro-managing one-foot squares -- I felt like I was gardening with tweezers!
It’s still a good method, but not for me, since I’m a fuzzy generalist. (Maybe that’s why my wife Justice calls me “Teddy Bear” – not the nickname of a rocket scientist.) So for years I used the famous French Intensive gardening method, which we'll discuss next. But I was eventually able to use Mel’s valuable advice, by adapting it to a species of “square-YARD” gardening! Staying flexible is essential here, just like every other area of life.
Whatever organic gardening method you use, a small plot can produce a year-round supply of food for the table, when managed properly.
But at the beginning, be practical! Think small, and, for your own sake, choose bulletproof crops.
Experienced gardeners will tell you that many fail by taking on too much. Mostly what it comes down to, for rock-bottom natural health, is a continual supply of greens -- wild greens, cultivated greens, etc., which provide cleansing and basic nutritional needs. You can always expand to wonderful things like asparagus when things are going well.
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