Organic Gardening 101
Why organic? By using pesticides and fertilizers on our lawns and gardens, we are responsible for almost 10 percent of our common water pollution. It is possible to have a beautiful garden and/or yard without harm to you, your family, pets, or the environment.
What is organic gardening?
Organic gardening involves growing plants in soil that contains organic, natural substances, uncontaminated by chemically formulated fertilizers or pesticides. Organic gardening emphasizes a holistic approach to cultivation. Ideally, it includes animals, insects, plants and soil to produce a “sustainable” food supply. “Sustainable” means that over time, the resources will be able to replenish themselves and thrive. Pest reduction and soil enhancement strategies can involve attention to soil quality, beneficial insects, and barrier plants.
Why garden organically?
First, the health of the Earth’s habitat is very important.
Pesticides are poisons designed to ward off pests. Unfortunately, pesticides also harm beneficial insects, fish, and birds. Runoff from chemical fertilizers and pesticides soaks into groundwater and washes into streams, lakes, and oceans. This can kill whole lakes and ponds as well as all the wildlife and fish that depend on these water sources.
Bioaccumulation means that pesticides build up across the flood chain. Animals eat other animals, incrementally accumulating pesticides in their systems. If we stop using these toxins, we can mitigate this deadly cycle.
Second, human health is affected by non-organic gardening because pesticides are poisons designed to harm living things; using them allows killing agents to enter your immediate environment. Some research links pesticide use to health problems ranging from mental impairment to cancer to hormonal imbalances and lowered sperm counts.
By Hilary Stamper, Care2.com product manager and director of promotions