Organic Home Gardening
*Featured image courtesy of Benjamin Combs
An Introduction to Organic Home Gardening
Plants are an absolutely vital part of the human diet. Regular consumption of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs has been shown across a multitude of studies to play an important part in maintaining proper nutrition and maximizing physical health.
Most of the food that is available on the average grocery store shelf these days is highly processed, and may even contain genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs.
This means that one or more of the ingredients in a particular food has had its DNA or genetic structure altered through the process of genetic engineering.
Genetic engineering seeks to select the best traits from a specific DNA profile while minimizing the less fortunate traits. In regards to food, this means maximizing the yield per crop along with maximizing size and aesthetic appeal.
Genetic engineering therefore results in plentiful, larger crops, which helps to reduce the expense to consumers.
Genetically modified foods are often treated with a number of potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals during the growing, harvesting and washing process. Some of these pesticides have been shown to have an adverse effect on human health, including birth defects, cancer and neurological disorders.
While it may seem as though there is no alternative available to GMO food, one of the healthiest choices we can make for ourselves is the decision to eat organically.
There are many different benefits to consuming organically grown foods. Organic foods are grown without the addition of potentially harmful pesticides and chemicals, and are also exempt from genetic engineering and cloned seeds.
Organic foods must adhere to a certain standard in order to be certified as organic. These means that these foods must be grown without the addition of any kind of pesticides or chemicals.
One of the major disadvantages to purchasing organic fruits and vegetables in the store vs genetically engineered produce is the marked difference in price.
Organic foods tend to be more expensive, and this may discourage some budget-tight families from choosing organic options for their everyday meals.
Organic home gardening is a wonderful way to ensure a consistent supply of healthy, organic foods. While the process of beginning, maintaining and harvesting a home garden may seem daunting, it is actually easier than one may expect, and the end results are well worth the initial effort and upkeep.
Before making the choice to begin an organic garden at home, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and benefits to ensure it is the right choice for you and your household.
Why Organic Gardening?
- Security: You have the benefit of knowing exactly what has gone into the food that you are placing on the table for you and your family. There is no worry about hidden chemicals or preservatives.
- Self-Reliance: Home gardening provides the assurance that you are working towards self-sustainability rather than being reliant upon outside sources for nourishment.
- Environmentally Friendly: The lack of pesticides and chemicals help protect wildlife, such as honeybees, ladybugs and other beneficial insects.
- Grounding: Working with the earth provides an opportunity for grounding and reacquaintance with the earth and nature. Growing your own food provides an opportunity to charge the growing fruits, vegetables and herbs with a specific purpose or simple overall good health and tranquility.
- Commitment: Properly maintaining an organic home garden does require a time commitment, both in the initial set-up stages and in the maintenance and harvest phases. Particularly in families where both parents are busy, it may often seem to be the far more convenient choice to simply stop by the store for ingredients rather than growing them yourself.
- Less Product: GMO foods produce a much higher yield than organic crops, thus the advantage of obtaining a larger harvest is tempting for some home gardeners.
The first step to creating your own organic home garden is ensure that the soil you are going to use is suitable. Soil is what fuels the growth of the seeds that are planted, as it combines with sunlight and water to produce growth.
Some store-bought soils can contain a number of chemicals and pesticides. It is important to ensure that the soil your garden will be planted in contains a high amount of humus, as well as other organic material, such as compost and/or manure.
If you are unsure as to the quality of your soil, there are many testing options available for a nominal price.
The next step is to decide exactly what it is that you want to grow. Some people set up a garden specifically for producing food, while others may cultivate herbs and other plants for their medicinal and spiritual benefits.
No matter what the intention behind the garden may be, it is very important to be sure that the plants you select to grow are compatible with your geographic location, as the climate and soil composition play a tremendous role in growing a successful crop.
For example, New England is infamous for its rocky soils and cold winters, making root crops such as potatoes, turnips, carrots and beets a viable option for growth, whereas the milder climate of the places such as Southern California and the deep south provide an ample environment for citrus, grapes, dates and palm trees.
Once the plants for the home garden have been selected and planted in the soil, it is important to be sure maintain an ideal environment for maximum growth.
This means ensuring that the garden gets a proper water supply and is protected from any harsh weather as well as insects as well as deer, gophers, rabbits and any other animals who may destroy the crops.
~ by Freelance Writer - Lauren Feldkamp