Organic gardening and farming are becoming more popular than they have been in decades, which is a great step forward environmentally as well as for the health and well being of humans and animals alike. Organic gardening has profound benefits for both the environment and human health.
What Makes Something Organic?
Organic produce is any plant, including fruits and vegetables, grown without using pesticides, herbicides, sewerage sludge, synthetic fertilizer, ionizing radiation, or any genetically-modified organism. (In the case of organic meat or eggs, the animals producing these have not been fed growth hormones or antibiotics).
Organic gardening and farming instead use organic matter to deliver nutrients to crops – including clover, animal manure, organic compost, and similar substances to conserve and feed the soil.
Crop rotation is also used and pollinating insects are welcomed. Weeds are removed by hand and discouraged using bark chips and the like.
Why is Organic Gardening Important?
Organic farming and gardening focus on soil – feeding the soil as opposed to feeding the plant is key to this way of cultivating.
Organic gardening also actively uses fewer (if any) chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As such, it reduces the load on the environment from chemicals and minimizes human, plant, and animal exposure to toxic substances.
It also protects the bees and insects that are so critical to our ecosystem.
Chemicals and synthetic pesticides linger for a long time – in the soil, in waterways, and in the atmosphere.
They also transfer as they move with the soil, often far away from their original target.
The US government estimated that from 1940-1991, trace mineral content in fruits and vegetables dropped by more than 75% – a depletion that was a direct result of widespread exposure to pesticides.
This translates to the nutrient content of the food to be grown. Pesticides also are intended to kill living organisms – hence not ideal for consumption.
Benefits of Organic Gardening
- Reduced human and animal exposure to pesticide residue
- Reduced human and animal exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria
- Environmental sustainability
- Improved taste of food
- Save money
- Increase the content of vitamins and minerals in soil
- Protect bees and other pollinating insects
Organically Grown Vegetables are more Nutritious
Organically grown or farmed food has higher vitamin and mineral content than its non-organic counterparts. It tastes better, with more robust natural flavors and is rich in essential nutrients.
Organically grown food has been shown to have higher levels of Vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, and chromium – all essential for optimal health.
How does Organic Gardening help the Environment?
The key to organic gardening and farming is a commitment to the health of the soil. Gardening and farming organically help to:
- Prevent toxic runoff
- Prevent topsoil loss
- Reduce erosion
- Conserve water for better drought-resistance
- Prevent water pollution
- Mitigate soil contamination
- Eliminate residues of herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides on food
- Prevent poisoning of insects, birds, and other beneficial organisms
- Create and use compost – to recycle organic matter and return it to the earth in a useful and natural way, whilst reducing organic waste content in landfill
Are there any Disadvantages of Organic Gardening and Farming?
Organic produce does cost more, due to higher costs and a need for more human workers in the case of farms. Growing organic produce at home for yourself can overcome this issue.
The organic market is growing worldwide. It’s somewhat ironic that little more than a century ago, all gardening and farming was organic!
It’s very worthwhile learning and adopting organic gardening techniques, whether you grow your own vegetables, herbs, fruits, or simply flowers and other plants.
This is a great way to create a thriving, environmentally-sustainable garden that is built to last on a healthy foundation of plant diversity and healthy soil.
Gardening organically nurtures the ground and paves the way for a cleaner, healthier lifestyle. It’s also a rewarding hobby and great for your physical and mental health!