Organic gardening

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on August 8, 2010

Organic gardening is all the rage now.  However, what exactly constitutes organic gardening differs among the groups of people advocating it.  The simplest definition is that organic gardening uses only natural substances, not synthetic ones, to grow whatever it is you grow. 

Pesticides are allowed, but only when they are made up of natural ingredients.  So is fertilizer, and anything else you add, such as compost.  The arguments come in when you define what pesticides and fertilizers are made of natural ingredients.

Organic growers had been self regulating until recently.  Oregon Tilth certified growers as organic and has the strictest standards for what is or is not allowed.  Then the USDA passed regulations creating an organic category and certification.  It is considerably looser than most organic growers wanted, but stricter than the big farms that produce for places like Wal Mart wanted.

Organic certification is really only necessary if you intend to sell what you produce.  However, both of the places I mentioned have lengthy explanations about what is and is not allowed in organic gardening.  Just because it is natural does not mean it is allowed.  Some things, such as nicotine (usually in the form of powdered tobacco), are so toxic they are not allowed in organic production.  Remember that just because it is natural does not mean it is safe.

If you have been using synthetic chemicals and want to become organic, you must not use any substances on the prohibited list for three years before you can claim you are organic.  During that three years, you can say you are in transition.  Getting certified is expensive.  Most states have a clause that says if you make less than a certain amount from your organic produce or whatever, and you follow all the organic practices laid out by the USDA, you can claim to be organic.

If you just want to garden with your family without the use of harsh chemicals and fertilizers, than the information provided by the USDA or Oregon Tilth will help you do that.  I will also be doing more articles on organic vegetable gardening, including articles on organic pest management, organic fertilization, and other ways to grow things without synthetic products.

If you have a specific question about organic gardening, leave it in the comments and I will try to answer it for you, or point you to someone who can.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie August 8, 2010 at 8:52 am

Gardening is tough all the way around, organic or not. We grow just for ourselves, but our Texas clay is hard to grow through. This year we gave up on the ground and put some money into gigantic pots and planters. It was expensive, but we have vegetables this year and so far haven’t had much bug problems!

Thanks for stopping by my site by the way SITSstah. I appreciate it.:)
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Stephanie Suesan Smith August 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm

With Texas clay, you have to work in plenty of compost or it just won’t work. I know, I have it too. Extension says till to a depth of 6 inches and work in three inches of compost. Of course, depending on the season, you have mud or cement and this may be impossible. If you can hit it just right, though, the compost does help a lot.


EPDM Coatings August 9, 2010 at 2:33 am

Its really been a very informative post regarding organic gardening. I am going to build my new house and i must try to practice your tips in my garden. I hope the results ‘ll be as good as i am expecting. Thanks for sharing such valuable stuff with us.


Stephanie Suesan Smith August 9, 2010 at 6:40 am

Good luck with your house. It is much easier to do the prep work correctly before putting in a lawn and flower beds than it is to try and fix it later.


Garden Lighting August 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Its very informative post for those people who are interested to do organic gardening. My grandma was used to do organic gardening but she is no more. After all its great post. I must say that because you have explained each and everything clearly and easy way. Thank You.


подарки своими руками August 11, 2010 at 3:11 pm

I agree with you about the need of making regulations for organic gardening.
Although tobacco mixed with ash or dissolved in water gives incredible results against many kinds of garden pests. You just need to protect yourself while desinfecting.


Stephanie Suesan Smith August 12, 2010 at 5:08 am

The problem with that mixture is that it is incredibly toxic and kills not only insects but birds, mammals, and fish (when it gets rained into streams or ponds). The goal is to use the least toxic alternative for a particular pest, not blast everything that moves.


Seth August 12, 2010 at 12:25 am

Your article is a big help for me. It enlightens me the significance of organic gardening. I’ve been planning to have a small garden in our backyard to plants some vegetables that I can use in cooking, because I love cooking 🙂 . I will do organic gardening to make sure the foods that we eat is safe and free from chemicals that most farmers used in planting.


Stephanie Suesan Smith August 12, 2010 at 5:13 am

Be sure and read Natural is not necessarily safe before you start. There are lots of articles on here about how to start a garden. If you have questions, just ask.


Maralyn Jones August 12, 2010 at 5:23 am

Well organic gardening is much easier than normal gardening…Anyways all the best for your house…


Stephanie Suesan Smith August 12, 2010 at 5:45 am

I think organic gardening is harder, because you can’t just reach for a bag of fertilizer or a pesticide to manage problems. You have to plan ahead enough to have compost in the soil, pick the optimal cultivars for your area, and stay on top of pest problems before they spiral out of control. But that is just my take on it.


Stephanie Suesan Smith August 14, 2010 at 6:25 am

Glad you liked the article. I have lots more to choose from, so visit often.


Kim from PC Hjælp August 23, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for a very goog article. I am about to get my garden ready, so this helped me a lot.
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Stephanie Suesan Smith August 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

Where do you live that you are getting your garden together in August? Must be the Southern Hemisphere.


Stephanie Suesan Smith September 8, 2010 at 6:32 am

You might find Preparing Your New Garden helpful. If the prep work is not done right, nothing else works well.


Jones Act Attorney September 17, 2010 at 3:06 am

I love agricultural works. Few months ago, I started my organic gardening and it takes time for me to have a perfect organize garden. Until now, I encounter some problems but I guess, I can manage them now especially that I found this post which really helps me a lot. Thank you for sharing this valuable information. It’s great to have this one.


Jacky from North Carolina DWI September 28, 2010 at 2:31 am

Thanks Steph for sharing this info. Actually before my mom died, she wanted me to take care of her flower garden in New York. But the problem is, I have no idea about gardening. So what I did is that, I searched information on the internet. Thanks I found yours, Steph. This is not as big as any big businesses, however, it is really worth handling for since my mom gave her effort and dedication in this garden when she’s still alive.
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kitchen cabinets October 2, 2010 at 4:10 am

I think organic gardening would be a good activity at home. This can help in proper waste management for someone can make their own natural fertilizer with biodegradable waste produce in their homes. Dried leaves for instance can be converted into fertilizer through composting.


Stephanie Suesan Smith October 2, 2010 at 8:26 am

The understanding of what has to go into a garden to get good food out of one is valuable for anyone. Composting kitchen waste and leaves does give fertilizer that can be returned to the soil each year.
Do you make your cabinets? I am a lousy carpenter, but do some nice scroll saw work. You might be interested in my woodworking blog showing some of it.


Daniel October 19, 2010 at 5:39 am

Organic vegetable gardening seems to be the trend these days as more people have become conscious of what they are eating. Organic matter added to garden soil improves the soil structure and feeds the microorganisms and insects. The more beneficial microorganisms your soil can support, the less bad organisms will survive. This is the good thing about organic gardening:)
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Stephanie Suesan Smith October 19, 2010 at 6:30 am

That is one of the good things. Another one is less toxic substances to pollute the environment, including your body.


pr agency November 3, 2010 at 3:40 am

I once had an investigatory project regarding the significant difference of the growth of a some flowers and some beans using organic gardening and non-organic gardening . It revealed that there is no significant difference in the growth of the plants, but we had noticed that plants in organic matter are looking more fresh and healthy. We can actually save money and be environment friendly if we use organic gardening.


Marie November 3, 2010 at 8:37 pm

My mother is doing vegetable gardening in our backyard and this article is very informative. I know that my mom will be happy knowing some of the tips about organic gardening. Vegetables that grow with organic fertilizers that does not have any chemicals are very healthy and good to eat. Since we are eating vegetables that mom is planting, i will suggest to her to use compost. Please continue to share more about organic gardening because it’s very helpful to everyone.


Tanya from Los Angeles DUI Lawyer November 4, 2010 at 3:30 am

Thanks for the very informative post about organic gardening. Actually,I really love garden works and I had a small garden at home, full of fruit trees and vegetables. I can say that organic gardening is much enjoying to do despite the fact that it is priceless. The plants that you eat are indeed healthy plus the fact that organic gardening is earth friendly. I also gain profit form this kind of work,because people on our neighborhood like to buy fresh veggies on my garden.
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Susci from NC DUI Lawyer November 12, 2010 at 2:53 am

I really love gardening. Actually, organic gardening is the most simple, basic and not harmful type of gardening. I’m happy that you still has this idea to write an article about this. At least some people would still be aware that organic gardening is good for environment. We don’t have to use artificial fertilizers here. In that way, we can save the environment and the food or vegetables that we are eating. Nice article.Thanks!
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Stephanie Suesan Smith November 16, 2010 at 9:25 am

Any plant can be grown organically, given enough attention to non-chemical control of pests and the enrichment of soil with compost.


Las Vegas Wedding November 24, 2010 at 2:28 am

I prefer organic gardening than anything else. A nature friendly method , safe and not expensive. Also produced quality and healthy plants. I don’t have time and enough space at home to plant but I’ve been planning to but pots and plants some flowers to add beauty and fresh atmosphere. Also plants some vegetables that I can use in cooking using organic fertilizer. Thanks for posting this very informative article. Looking forward for more like this one.


Kelly from Picture to canvas November 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Gardening is one past time I enjoyed the most. This informative article you posted explains the other side of gardening. And it helps me out to try another venture of planting vegetables,some crops and fruits. This organic gardening I guess will help me spend less too!


Olivia from leinwandbilder November 25, 2010 at 2:39 am

We really use organic fertilizers in maintaining beautification of our garden. In fact when my cousin use that for evaluation in their project, she got high grades. So i believe using organic would result to success in your garden.


Rylen from best dui lawyer in California November 27, 2010 at 2:49 am

Gardening is one of the relaxation that some of us do and I would really agree that it helps us to make us feel comfortable and relax. Seeing those green and colorful plants is a different feeling. With regards to organic gardening I am pro to that because the plants are really different and the taste that they bear tastes different. Even though,there are lot of chemicals on stores I would still stick to organic gardening.


Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney December 2, 2010 at 12:41 am

This is a great article. i have a little garden in my house and i really love it.
and gardening is my hobbies. and i am collecting different kinds of plants, flowers especially orchids. and thanks for posting your articles.


Caren from SEO Expert December 4, 2010 at 3:47 am

Gardening is a relaxing hobby. Aside from beautifying our environment, it helps the air clean. Many people get their source of income through this. I agree that it is now high time to engage in a organic gardening. Aside from being inexpensive, it is also very safe and good to nature.
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Caren December 9, 2010 at 2:23 am

Very well said! Thank you for reminding us of our share, even in our simple way, in protecting our nature. Many people find happiness and contentment in gardening, and hope they will use organic chemicals in doing so. Aside from they enjoy, they also help in cleaning the air.


Nicolle from movers pittsburgh December 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

Good post. Many people would surely find your blog useful, especially those that love this. You gave us the idea that we don’t really need commercialized fertilizers to have a good harvest or results. All we need to do is to be creative and utilize what’s available in our surroundings. Aside from being safe to the nature, it is not expensive.


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