Growing your own food is important, however, it can also be a bit challenging. Learning how to grow ORGANIC food is even more tricky. However, there are numerous benefits to starting an organic garden in your own back yard. Why is organic gardening better? Keep reading for just a few reasons to plant some homegrown fruits and vegetables and skip the pesticides this spring.
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Why is organic gardening better?
Organic food is not cheap. Unfortunately, many people are discouraged when they go to the grocery store and see the price tag on organic food and end up buying something else. Gardening organically is an enjoyable way for me to provide my family with organic food without going broke. Is organic gardening easy? Nope, not in the least!
I spend a lot of my summer sweaty, dirty, and picking bugs off of my plants by hand. I guess I must be slightly nuts but I really do find this enjoyable! If you are depressed over the prices of organic food but really want to reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals, learning how to grow organic food at home is a good idea.
What is used to grow organic food?
Ok, so, first things first. What products can you use on an organic garden and still call your food organically grown? It’s more than just cow poop, I promise! The national standard on what constitutes organic says that organic food must be produced without the use of conventional pesticides, petroleum-based fertilizers, sewage-sludge-based fertilizers, herbicides, genetic engineering (biotechnology), antibiotics, growth hormones, or irradiation.That leaves a TON of other options for growing food organically.
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Organic gardening allows for all sorts of garden supplements and products. Compost (backyard compost, mushroom compost, etc), cow manure, bone meal, fish meal, bat guano fertilizer, worm castings, and the list goes on and on. Yes, you need to shop more carefully and be a bit more diligent in your gardening style, however, it can be done. If you are hesitant to ditch the conventional sprays and chemicals, here are a few posts you might like to read:
How to grow food organically and still have food to eat:
- Tips for Using Diatomaceous Earth in the Garden Diatomaceous earth is a very effective natural pest control method to help grow organic food. Here are some tips for how to use it safely.
- DIY Earwig Trap Gets Rid Of Earwigs Naturally My least favorite garden pest is the earwig and having this DIY earwig trap out by my plants is an absolute must. You don’t always need chemicals to get rid of garden pests.
- How to Attract Toads to the Garden and Why You Want Them There! Learn how to attract toads and you will have significantly fewer garden pests! Let Mother Nature do your pest control for you.
Benefits of Organic Food Gardening
So what exactly are the benefits of growing an organic garden? Relying on environmentally friendly gardening methods benefits both you AND the environment. You get delicious, safe food, and Mother Nature stays as healthy as she needs to be to sustain us for generations to come. Here are a few reasons why you need to jump on the organic gardening train:
Get a boost in nutrition:
Is it healthier to eat organic? Many studies have shown that organic food is actually higher in nutrients than conventionally raised foods. There is some debate about this, depending on how food is handled, shipping distances, growing conditions, and several other factors. Check out this article on Healthline for more details. But, the summary suggests that organic food may be more nutritious than conventionally raised food.
Grow organic food and save money:
Even after you buy the manure, plants, and garden soil you will still be saving money on organic food as compared to if you bought it at the grocery store. Organic food at the grocery store is pricey, however, check out my post on how to save money on organic food for budget friendly tips.
Reduce your carbon footprint:
Every time you choose to use organic gardening methods, you reduce your carbon footprint. Using cow manure and fish meal rather than chemical fertilizers and pesticides will help protect our planet for future generations. Our food system is in dire straights. While we need massive legislative changes to occur, doing your part to be gentle to the earth really matters. Vote with your dollar. Buy organic. Plant organic.
Reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides:
Traditionally raised fruits and vegetables are sprayed with a wide array of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that may have questionable effects on our health. Choosing organic farming methods will reduce your family’s exposure to harmful chemicals. Farm workers are required to wear protective gear (face masks, gloves, etc) when spraying these chemicals on our food. Why would we want to EAT those chemicals along with our produce?
Protect soil quality and biodiversity:
Soil that is treated with chemicals is nowhere near as healthy as soil that is treated only with organic material. When you grow organic food, soil gets healthier. Healthier soil is less likely to suffer from erosion and will provide more nutrients for your food. You can improve your soil quality by learning how to compost your food scraps.
Reduce your dinner’s food miles:
Eating food that is grown as close to home as possible is a great way to go green. You can’t get any closer than your own back yard! The longer food travels, the less nutritious it is and the greater the carbon footprint. Making an organic salad from your backyard is about as green as you can get.
Promote plant diversity:
One of the biggest problems with conventionally grown plants from large agribusinesses is that the same species of plants are used for almost all of that crop. Hundreds of old time, heirloom species of plants are being lost because no one is growing them any more. Ever see purple carrots? Or orange tomatoes? Not if you are buying conventionally raised produce! Check out my post about crop biodiversity and learn more about why this is so crucial.
Get exercise in your own back yard!
Grow organic food and take off a few pound at the same time. Growing organic food is a great way to burn calories at home! Build muscles lifting bags of manure and get a cardio workout pushing the wheelbarrow around your yard. Getting out in the yard and digging in the dirt can be fun but it is also good for our health! Not only will you burn calories as you grow your own organic food, gardening is also good for mental health as well.
Eat more fruits and veggies:
Your family is more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they are growing in your own back yard. No need to go to the grocery store for blackberries to put on your cereal. That pile of peppers on your counter may inspire you to find a new recipe to serve your family for dinner.Want some creative recipes using your organic produce? Try these:
- Simple Carrot Top Pesto Recipe With loads of carrot greens and a handful of fresh basil, this homemade pesto has a fresh flavor and takes only minutes to make.
- Easy Zucchini Carrot Slaw Recipe This easy coleslaw recipe is made with zucchini and carrots. It’s a great way to use up too many zucchini.
- Green Tomato Toast Recipe with Goat Cheese Make this goat cheese toast with plump green tomatoes, plenty of fresh herbs, and some slivered red onion.
Grow organic food and stop worrying about food safety:
With the number of recalls every year on foods that have been contaminated with bacteria it is nice to know that the organic food from my own back yard is safe! Pretty sure no one will recall your organic tomatoes from the backyard!
Organic gardening at home isn’t always easy. In fact, it is usually messy, dirty, sweaty, and sometimes a bit frustrating. However, it has it’s rewards as well! Tackling an organic gardening project will bring you joy like you have never known before. When you bite into that fresh organic cucumber from the back yard, you will see what I mean! If you have any organic gardening tips to share, please leave me a comment! Even after years of doing this, I still need all the help I can get!
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.