Organic Gardening and Its BenefitsApril 7, 2020
Another planting season is here again. And farming and gardening have begun in earnest in many parts of the world. Organic gardening is a great way to provide healthy food for you and your family. When you buy produce from the store or the open market, it is not the same as presenting a plate of food to your family that came exclusively from your garden planted by you.
Many people go into gardening so they can have control over the type of food they eat without fear of dangerous chemicals and preservatives. Often, commercially grown produce is cultivated in greenhouses with the use of pesticides and chemicals to enhance their growth. The side effects of pesticides on human health can take its toll. So many people are jumping on the “organic bandwagon” to minimise the risks to themselves and their loved ones that often comes with commercially processed foods.
You don’t have to be a health enthusiast to embrace organic gardening. Imagine the wonderful way you will feel knowing that you are serving foods that were grown all naturally without the risks that come from applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides. If you have been gardening for years or are just beginning to grow your food, organic gardening can provide you with peace of mind and pride in your produce.
What Is Organic Gardening?
Many gardeners and farmers wonder what organic gardening means. The simple answer is that organic gardening is farming without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on their plants. When you garden organically, you consider your plants’ nature that starts in the soil and includes water, people, wildlife and even insects. An organic gardener tries to work in harmony with natural systems to continually replenish any resources the garden consumes.
Organic gardening operates on the concept of recycling. You use animal wastes, kitchen scraps, and vegetable wastes as manure. You would use common items like vinegar and soap to prevent pests and weeds from destroying the plants. Organic gardeners rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil as well as growing different types of crops. Genetically modified crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.
Organic gardening is the integration of plants and soil, thereby allowing the earth to naturally bear what it was made to do. The plants and the soil work together to provide food and nourishment not only to humans but also to animals and organisms.
Why Garden Organically?
Decades ago, the idea of organic gardening was considered quite a radical concept. How could gardeners be expected to control the weeds, the bugs, and the animals that could threaten the survival of a garden without using man-made chemicals?
When you think about it, organic gardening is a theory. For several years, farmers have been growing crops without the use of chemicals. It only makes sense that we should be able to apply the same techniques and get the same results as they did, or something better. We should grow food using nature’s ingredients rather than concoctions born in a chemist’s laboratory for the good of all of us.
By using natural materials, taking advantage of natural predators, and recycling garden wastes, the home gardener can maintain an organic garden successfully. There are many advantages to gardening organically. The first and foremost is that food produced organically is more nourishing and healthy.
In 2001 the Soil Association of the United Kingdom reported that a comprehensive review of existing research revealed significant differences between organically and non-organically grown food. These differences relate to food safety, primary nutrients, secondary nutrients and the health outcomes of the people who eat organically.
Vitamin C and dry matter contents are higher in organically grown crops than they are in non-organic crops. Mineral contents are also higher in organically grown crops. Food grown organically contains substantially higher concentrations of antioxidants and other health-promoting compounds than crops produced with pesticides.
Many people believe that organically grown foods taste better than those not produced organically. Also, the foods grown without pesticides produce a higher amount of antioxidant which has been found to reduce the risk of some types of cancers. Overall, most people who enjoy an organic gardening report that the enjoyment they derive is paramount to their decision to eschew chemicals in favour of the all-natural route.
With organic gardening, you get extra fresh vegetables. Naturally, corn on the cob and newly picked peas are especially noticeable, but this trait extends to all vegetables you grow yourself, especially under the organic method. A phenomenon noted by most people when harvesting their very first vegetables from their very first garden is that everyone eats much more of a given vegetable than they would of a similar store-bought variety.
You will save money not only by growing your food, but you can even make extra income by selling your natural foods that are very popular in the grocery stores these days.
The Risks of Chemicals
Many artificial chemical fertilizers contain acids, as sulfuric and hydrochloric, which will increase the acidity of the soil. Changes in the soil acidity are accompanied by the changes in the kinds of organisms which can live in the soil. There are several ways by which artificial fertilizers reduce aeration of soils. Earthworms, whose many borings made the soil porous, are killed. The acid fertilizers also destroy cementing materials. Chemical fertilizers deprive plants of some natural immunity by killing the micro-organisms in the soil.
Plants grown with artificial chemical fertilizers tend to have less nutrient value than organically grown plants. For instance, several tests have found that providing citrus fruits with a large amount of soluble nitrogen will lower the vitamin C content of oranges. It has also been found that these fertilizers that provide soluble nitrogen will lower the capacity of corn to produce high protein content. Probably the most regularly observed deficiency in plants treated continually with chemical fertilizers is deficiencies in trace minerals.
Another reason to avoid the use of chemicals and pesticides is that long term use of such chemicals can deplete the soil and leave it unable to sustain further growth. In many cases, beds of perennials suddenly stop blooming for no apparent reason, and the culprit is often found to be the overuse of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
Chemicals that are applied to plants can often seep into the water supply thus contaminating it. While it’s true, our drinking water does go through a filtration process, it’s been proven that this process doesn’t remove ALL of the harmful contaminants. It has also been proven that certain chemicals can cause diseases, birth defects, and other hazardous health problems. Consumers are also concerned about toxic sewage used as fertilizer on conventional farms. Organic farming forbids the use of sewage sludge.
Advantages of Organically Grown Foods
Eating organic eliminates, or minimizes, the risk from poisoning from heavy metals found in sewage sludge, the unknowns of genetically modified food, the ingestion of hormone residues, and the exposure to mutant bacteria strains. It also reduces the exposure to insecticide and fungicide residues.
It is certainly in the best interests of the human population to avoid chemicals in our food, but it is better for our planet as well. Chemicals can affect the soil making it less fertile. They destroy vital parts of the natural eco-system. All plants and animals serve some sort of purpose – even if that purpose is not especially obvious. By taking these components out of the natural life cycle, we are endangering our environment in ways we cannot necessarily see outright, but that danger is there. So, it becomes clear that growing your food naturally is the best way to go.
Gardening in any form is therapeutic not to mention a way to enjoy success as you bite the first ripe tomato of the harvesting season. When you choose to go organic, you are choosing to protect the environment as well as your family when you grow your food. Going organic is so important to the earth as we need to preserve our natural resources and ensure we have a healthy place to live. Organic gardening, however, is so much more satisfying. The soil that feeds us is something we should think about every day. The way we treat that soil is something else we should consider – every single day.
The health benefits of organic gardening are many, but the emotional benefits are so much more. By going organic, you will know that you are doing everything you can not only for mother earth but also for your family. We should all strive for the natural pleasures that we have been given.