Nutrition Articles

The Top 5 Myths about Organic Gardening

Get the Facts about Growing Food Organically

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Myth: Organic gardens cost more. 

Fact: Organic produce definitely costs more when you buy it from your local grocer, but this doesn’t apply to your backyard garden.  In fact, organic gardens may actually cost you less than gardening conventionally. Chemical fertilizers tend to cost just as much or more than natural fertilizers, and at less than $2.00 for a packet of seeds and $3.00 for a bag of mulch, you'll be making a major return on your investment by gardening organically in lieu of purchasing organic produce from the store. Here are some ways to save money and resources in your organic garden:
  • Reuse. Repurpose plastic food containers, milk cartons, and egg cartons as pots for germinating seeds before outdoor planting.  Just make sure to equip the containers with drainage holes. 
     
  • Make your own materials. Keep those pesky bugs away from your plants with an all-natural mixture of hot, soapy water, chopped garlic, and hot pepper. If you compost, you can make your own fertilizer from scraps and lawn clippings otherwise destined for the landfill. 
     
  • Save seeds. The seeds from your produce can be dried and used to grow food next year without having to buy seeds again.  Seed saving is also a way to select for good traits, and to preserve biodiversity in the vegetable world by holding on to seeds that are no longer sold on a large scale, or at all.  Be sure to save seeds only from non-hybrid plants, as second-generation hybrid seeds will produce inferior offspring.  To save seeds, dry them thoroughly on the counter, and store them in a wax envelope, away from moisture, light, and extreme temperatures. 
     
  • Buy second-hand, or borrow. Wheelbarrows, shovels, tillers, and containers can be found at auctions, yard-sales, and through classified ads and can save you a ton.  And if you’re lucky, you can borrow them when you need them from family, friends, and neighbors.
Myth: Organic gardening is more time consuming.

Fact: Organic gardening can be more time consuming and labor intensive because you’re doing the work instead of the chemicals.  It takes time to remove weeds manually, to work the humus from the compost pile into the soil, to research and plan the best crop rotation and to plant cover crops.  But the extra time spent in the garden will probably be enjoyable, and your body and the environment will thank you.

Myth: You have to be an expert to have a successful organic garden.

Fact: There are lots of ways to learn to do something new, but sometimes the most effective way is to learn by doing.  You know the basics that a garden requires: seeds, soil, sun, and water.  Pick a sunny spot in your yard, clear it of grass and weeds, loosen the dirt by digging and turning with a shovel, stir in some compost or purchased topsoil, plant your seeds according to directions on the package, add water, and wait.  There are a myriad of books, websites, magazines, and videos on gardening.  If you’re overwhelmed, just take it slow.  Chances are though, when you take a bite of your first home-grown tomato, you’ll be ready to dive right in. 

Sources

Cleeton, James. ''Organic foods in relation to nutrition and health key facts.'' Medical News Today, July 11, 2004. Accessed April 2010. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com.

Ed Hume Seeds. ''Seed Cover Crops to Revitalize Vegetable Garden Soil Over Winter.'' Accessed April 2010. http://www.humeseeds.com.

Main, Emily. ''5 Ways to Create an Organic Garden on the Cheap.'' Rodale, April 24, 2009. Accessed March 2012. http://www.rodale.com.

Organic Gardening. ''Organic Fertilizers.'' Accessed April 2010. http://www.organicgardening.com.

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About The Author

Liza Barnes Liza Barnes
Liza has two bachelor's degrees: one in health promotion and education and a second in nursing. A registered nurse and mother, regular exercise and cooking are top priorities for her. See all of Liza's articles.

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