When we think of eating healthy, what may come to mind, is the thought of eating organic produce or fresh home-grown organically grown vegetables. Mainly because we may prefer to know where our food comes from and that it has not been sprayed with chemicals. But this notion of organic gardening does not fully encompass the full scope of what organic vegetable gardening truly means.
Organic definition: 1a) relating to or derived from organic matter. 1b) relating to food produced with the use of fertilizer of plant or animal origin without chemically formulated fertilizers or pesticides.
Plants that have not been sprayed with chemicals is an important piece of the equation. But the other half of the organic equation is how the plants have been fertilized. That would be, from a fertilizer that is animal or plant based. Let’s look at what this means.
Organic Soil & soil components
When gardening in a ground bed, whether it may be flowers or vegetables, we recommend the addition of organic matter to improve soil aeration and water retention. Compost, peat moss and bark mulch are all plant derived organic sources of soil amendments to help improve root growth and performance. Cow, sheep or poultry & peat would be examples of blend of animal and plant derived organic sources to improve you soil.
Plant fertilizers derived from a plant or animal source are organic. Common organic sources from animals would include blood, bone meal and feather meal and fish emulsion. Common organic sources from plants would include cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal and seaweed kelp.
Commercial organic fertilizers will combine these ingredients to produce a well-balanced fertilizer for growing plants. Fox Farm Organic-based fertilizer is an example of a dry fertilizer that would be incorporated into the soil to nourish plants. Age Old Organics and fish emulsion would be examples of a liquid organic fertilizer that would be mixed with water and applied at watering time to nourish the plants.
Organic Plants and seeds
Organic starter plants or seeds will have been grown organically. They were nourished using organic fertilizers and no chemical applications to the plants.
Organic Pest Control
No chemical pesticides will be used for organic pest control. General purpose organic controls would include a blast of water from the end of a hose to knock down soft-bodied pests like aphids, insecticidal soaps, neem oil, Dr. Deadbug spinosad and natural pyrethrins such as Fertilome Triple Action.
Sometimes using a combination of organic fertilizers and pest control applications along with conventional fertilizers and the safest pest control products that are effective is a great compromise.