Do you wonder if Organic is going to be more work that the end result is worth?
- Supplies have to be sorted to maintain the organic purity
- Non-organic neighbors have to be blocked by buffer zones, especially for commercial projects.
- Super alert for contaminants from outside sources.
- Sometimes people still get sick from contaminated ‘organic’ produce
- SWEAT! Hands-on, dirty, sweaty methods
- Why bother?
Purity — Protect From Non-Organic
Maintaining organic purity for the end product is essential. After all, ‘organic purity’ is the mission.
50 Feet?!? That’s going to be fun!
59 foot buffer zones are recommended (in some cases required), to protect crops. Since the organic mission is yours, you will be moving crops back behind a buffer strip on your own land.
That buffer strip can be used to plant crops that benefit pollinators such as bees. Quick and repetitive bloomers such as buckwheat would work. Clovers would improve the quality of your buffer strip and have some non-organic hay potential.
What about Sickness from Dirty Produce?
Organic growers with integrity will be doing all they can to avoid food-born contaminants that can sicken or kill. Yet some produce will come to market with risky material on it. The end user — server before eater — bears responsibility to clean the produce. And cook it when appropriate.
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I wash produce in a mild vinegar and/or sale water before serving fresh.
STOP! Don’t Spray!
If the non-organic neighbors spray, will they be worried about drift onto crops, destroying organic status. Chemical insecticides and herbicides are going to be problems. Other pesticides claim to be safe and organic, may be more dangerous to wildlife, livestock and PEOPLE than the in-organic chemical products.
SWEAT! Don’t Forget the Sweat!
Everything is done using special hands-on, dirty, sweaty methods. Oh, come on! Organic doesn’t have a claim on sweat! All agriculture is labor intensive. Labor translates to EXERCISE which is good for us. Agriculture is about growing, so, yes, there will be dirt!
The hands-on piece is the best part with the accompanying issues.
- ruined nails
The ;work’ part of agriculture is high on the list of “Why do we do this?” Yes, the ‘work’ is good for us. Sweat and all!
More about the big Organic “why?”
If you are committed to function at a certified organic level in your garden, you need information. Balance Small Business blog has several posts about how producers can obtain certification. Personal gardeners won’t need the actual certification. The guidelines can help you in planning gardening processes.
Choose some organic processes when beginning your garden can be the easiest way. Using organic practices in the beginning is less costly and easier than retro-fitting for organic later. All options have costs in terms of money, work, time and small management. Some of those costs fulfill the desires that are at the root of our garden choices. Being outdoors, getting fresh air with exercise while building up a sweat pulling weeds is one of those desires.
Keeping a close relationship with my plants, searching for plant predator bugs is one of the reasons I love my gardens.
There will be situations where serious commercial solutions are required to get quicker results for your garden. While some consider insecticides less dangerous than herbicides, it is important to pay attention to that ‘CIDE’ part as it means KILL.
Even organic products kill…this goes against the convictions of some people.
At this Garden, we would qualify as partially organic. I like to do things in a mad scientist manner. Purchasing the ‘easy-way-out’ isn’t my way. I’m also frugal — oh, be honest and make that CHEAP. I will do things by hand before purchasing the ready-made. I understand the value of living things, including plants, in our environment. Pests keep us humble if they don’t contribute much more.
I walk around spider webs, especially the big scary orb spiders, when I see them in time, encouraging the little hunters. I like to photograph them at night as shown on my Pinterest pin!
We have several pollinator areas on our place. A deep dark woods where ‘pests’ can dwell. Poison Ivy, snakes, spiders, possums, rats can all live there without any pressure from me. A patch of buckwheat for insect friends, plus patches of hay with clover and other blooms.
I said I was CHEAP. I insist on making hay for our horses on much of the open space instead of huge mowing projects!
You know there is going to be a ‘BUT” and you are right. I will occasionally be aggressive with plants or insects or critters who won’t stay in their space. I will use some Round-up on invasive poison ivy and wild briers, including green and blackberry to convince them to stay away.
I will use some sprays on the invasion of bag worms defoliating and killing trees with their little ‘cone cocoons’. I will drive the hornworms and squash bugs off of my tomato plants. I will evict masses of clematis blister beetles devouring the autumn clematis. They can find one in the wild, but stay off the house. I will use homemade sprays and tough stuff like Sevin if necessary.
Take away on any type of organic
Learn about the various methods for agriculture. Being informed will help you make choices that fit your philosophy, intentions and needs. Don’t let things just ‘happen’ for you and your garden. For The Legacy Gardens, the ‘Partially Organic’ style is the best fit. We do many D-I-Y processes which do not involve outside, chemical or in-organic materials. We use everything in ‘scrimping moderation.’
So, just what is Organic?
I see Organic as having intent to use fertilizers and pesticides that are derived from a ‘natural’ resource. Wise use can eliminate many problems when feeding crops of fighting pests.
Many in-organic sources have proven failure built-in. More species than the target pest (weed or bug) are harmed. The soil almost suffocates from over-use of some in-organic fertilizers.
Soils are harmed by OVER USE of fertilizers.
Typical organic fertilizer, MANURE doesn’t make nutrients immediately available. Over-fertilizing is difficult if not impossible.. Spreading POOP from livestock (not people), is the good, old-fashioned way to get more nutrients into soil. The manure is made up of digestible stuff…organic stuff which will decompose and become part of the soil. This is the foundation plan for doing things ORGANICALLY.
One of my favorite manures comes from WORMS. As they digest the microbes of rotting kitchen scraps, they poop out amazing black dirt.
A little goes a long way
Most manure is strong fertilizer. Used in large amounts it can bring several problems to the garden. Why buy and spread more than you need?
If you don’t notice the unpleasant smell from excess amounts of fresh manure in one little garden plot, your neighbors will. Be a good neighbor when using this natural and organic material.
Organic Garden Pest Control
Commercial Organic Weed Control and other solutions:
We use products from Gardens Alive. (Not an affiliate link). Gardens Alive products can be ordered online, by mail or through distributors. I could not find them on Amazon.
DR EARTH organic products are popular on Amazon. The link to Dr. Earth products on Amazon will lead to others from that company.
Organic practices include battling the weeds.
Physical weed removal by pulling, tilling and hoeing are excellent methods of removing weeds.
Smothering weeds with mulch will discourage them. Bullet: Last years’s leaves, bagged mulch from garden center, old newspaper (not color ink) For an added bonus, smothering processes help conserve moisture.
Got something really nasty that requires greater effort? A simple recipe of 2% acidity vinegar, pickling salt and Dawn Dish soap works well for me. Using a small, in-expensive personal spray bottle (less than a quart), I can direct the spray onto specific pest weeds such as poison ivy.
I’m testing the use of buttermilk on stumps. At present, a test on a noxious multi-flora rose busy is successful. Gets rid of a nuisance bush and old buttermilk at the same time. The day I poured it on the stumps, a cat found my work and sampled the buttermilk. No cats were harmed in this test.
Physical removal again is probably the most holistically organic management method. Japanese beetles, squash bugs, horned tomato worms can nearly destroy a veggie garden. At The Legacy Gardens, we try to avoid huge invasions through deterrents. We also try to maintain healthy plants which can survive some ‘bug work.’
I keep sprayers set up with dishwashing detergent and hot pepper sauce to spray on plants to discourage insects. Through this simple practice, the bugs survive to go work on a non-garden resource. We maintain a sizable wild area on our property that can shelter pests! And have a buckwheat patch exclusively for bees and other pollinators.
Products using manufactured ingredients such as ammonium phosphate or ammonium sulfate in a formula imitating minerals which occur in nature. Not all of the chemicals are synthetic, some are natural minerals or materials. The preparation processes can change them, creating the toxic brew.
in-organic garden pest control
Chemical in-organic weed killers or herbicides are considered dangerous and toxic to humans, animals and of course the pests. They are killers. Some are not effective for the target pest.
Controlling problem bugs with in-organic sprays, dust and other products is effective. There are times when heavy infestations call for drastic measures to preserve a crop or a plant. When making the choice about insecticide, practice careful application and safety measures.
good neighbors — organic or in-organic
We’re all in this together.
Whether you go all in for organic or in-organic, be good neighbors. Spray when the wind isn’t blowing. Inform neighbors and offer to help cover some crops that could suffer from spray drift. When you use no-till and no-kill practices, keep your pet pests within the boundaries of your property. And be tolerant of the control methods other people use.
I would like to hear from you about your choices for agriculture. What are your practices to protect your gardens/fields and those of your neighbors. What are your practices to protect living animals and ‘good’ beneficial bugs?
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