Gardening organically is a commitment to health, a respectful relationship to the earth, and a love for the many facets of gardens and gardening. For us, being organic is sticking to a simple philosophy: keeping our gardens
and our gardeners healthy. Keeping the gardens healthy means that we work
in natural ways to improve soil structure and nutrients; we recycle the gardens’ organic matter back into the earth; and we promote a healthy ecosystem where birds,
insects, plants, microorganisms, and people all reach a natural balance that is beneficial for all.
Natural methods to keep the garden healthy include composting, companion planting, crop rotation, mulching, raised beds, solarizing, double
-digging, cover cropping, using green manures, carefully selecting crop species, weeding, and being flexible. Importantly, keeping the garden healthy also means that we don’t use synthetic chemicals. Synthetic chemicals are found in fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides
We want the land to receive only natural, or organic, fertilizers. This completes a natural cycle of growth and decay—nutrients stay within the garden. Chemical fertilizers like Miracle Gro might seem good at first, but organic growers have learned that after time, these fertilizers can ruin the soil structure, kill mircro organisms, and produce unnatural chemical levels in the soil. Growers end up having to dump more and more chemical fertilizers on depleted soil that can’t hold onto the nutrients, resulting in high fertilizer costs and a very unhealthy ecosystem with excess fertilizer running off into the groundwater and onto other plots.
We believe that a healthy garden takes care of its own pests. Our organic gardens do not typically have the
same pest problems that
inorganic farms and gardens do because we rotate crops, we build up soil
microorganisms and natural predators, we plant companion crops, and the garden takes care of the rest. In
extreme cases, there are other organic methods of pest control, which include
using biodegradable soap
solution on plant foliage, attracting natural predators, handpicking larger pests, and planting a “friendly zone”
for pests. Using genetically modified crops that are resistant to pests or pesticides is not an organic option.
e are plenty of naturally resistant crops available.
The first line of pest control for the organic grower should be a careful evaluation and maximization of the soil
and nutrients for a plant. Good compost and loose, rich soil are often the best solutions
for pests, and they can
be accomplished before the plant is even grown! Make sure that your plants receive enough water and
sunlight, you choose plants that grow well in this part of the world, you grow two or more crops together, and
you rotate your crop
s. All of these prevent insect problems.
As for weed control, the use of herbicides is not part of a philosophy that keeps a garden healthy. Weed control methods used in our gardens include primarily mulching to suppress weed growth (which also helps conserve
water), hand weeding and hoeing. Bio-control, the use of live insects that feed on certain invasive weeds, is also an organic alternative to chemical herbicides. Please do not use Preen ‘n Green, Roundup, Weed-B-Gon, or ANY other herbicide in our gardens.