How Important Is Organic Gardening to You?

And does it apply to your lawn?  Americans regard their pristine green lawns as sacred, but at what cost to human and animal health and the environment?

I believe in and practice organic gardening.  This means no chemical pesticides or fungicides (I never use chemical fertilizer) only approved products such as insecticidal soap, neem oil, the natural fungicides available like copper soap shield, baking soda, olive leaf extract and garlic…I mulch with compost, well-rotted manure and hay, encourage earth worms and other beneficial insects to make their home in my garden.  Some of my favorite flowers are naturally seeded wild varieties.  As are my weeds, but a weed is only a misplaced plant.  And I have plenty of those.

An excellent company that sells environmentally responsible products for the lawn and garden is Gardens Alive.  I like what I’ve tried from them and they’re expanding their product line to include seeds and plants.  They’re a bit pricey so watch for sales and special offers.   Making your own compost is FREE.  So are many other organic alternatives.   Worms multiply rapidly under the right conditions and they’re a gardener’s best friend.

My newest thing (and FREE for me) is to mix a little unpasteurized milk with my organic brews and spray or water the plants with it — like giving them a shot of the healthful benefits of yogurt with all the micro-organisms in raw milk.  Most people can’t do this because they don’t have their own cows (goat milk might work too…hmmm…)  Anyway, I’m seeing some amazing results.

Strangely the EPA regards milk as potentially toxic to the soil, while it’s actually beneficial to soil pathogens and plant growth.  If there’s any kind of milk spill the EPA freaks out and treats it like an oil spill.  All the dirt has to be dug out and disposed of.  The EPA is forcing more and more regulations on small family farmers like us, already hard-pressed to survive and in compliance with their environmental restrictions, while doing nothing to check the chemical pesticide, herbicides, and fertilizers that lawn treatment companies spread on countless suburban lawns.  They do nothing to regulate chemlawn and companies like them, even though the chemicals dispersed into the environment are proven hazardous to human and animal life, increasing the risk of cancer and other diseases and disorders.  The run off from all this stuff ends up in rivers and bays.  When you consider how many lawns there are in America, it boggles the mind.  Not to mention all the toxic stuff they dump on golf courses.

Farmers are strictly regulated as to what can be spread on their fields under a government approved nutrient management plan that also includes regulations of natural fertilizers like manure.  Soil samples, etc, are required.  Farmers must take into account under what weather conditions anything is applied or be held responsible for negligence, while lawn companies don’t have to meet any of these requirements.

I remember when a suburban friend called me in a panic because chemlawn had just been to her home to spray the lawn and it was windy that day and the whole place reeked of the herbicide called 2-4-D.   Sickening smell.  The spray had drifted onto her beautiful flower beds.  I looked on in horror and could only suggest she hose everything off, but it didn’t work and she lost plants.  She later developed a nerve related disorder from exposure to one of the chemicals.  Not just from that single incident.  The doctor felt it was the repeated exposure.  She’s gone organic now.

The evils of lawn companies fills pages on Google, so I won’t go into it all but you can see for yourself here.   There are organic alternatives to a healthy lawn. I found a link with helpful info:

Our yard needs frequent mowing despite the lack of any care at all, just encouraging earth worm activity.  However, there are a number of weeds mixed in with the grass, especially after last summer’s drought, and we need to do some reseeding.  But I’m gradually expanding the surrounding flower and herb beds and seeding more wildflowers.   Far more interesting than grass and I love all the butterflies and birds they attract.   I’d also like to put in another water garden.  Lots of fun with fish and frogs, dragon flies and water plants.  Make your yard and garden ALIVE and filled with bird song.  Don’t spread or spray scull and cross bones stuff on it.  Read labels and discover what’s in those bags you use on your grass, and BEWARE of lawn companies.

*Pics of our farm & the valley, except for the first pic & that’s from istock.  On a perfect spring day our farm sometimes reminds me of Green Gables, in Anne of Green Gables.   I think she would not approve of poisoning our earth.

12 responses to “How Important Is Organic Gardening to You?

  1. It’s unbelievable that in this day and age, people don’t understand the cost of the poisons they use on a daily basis. I need to buy organic fruits and vegetables because I’m allergic to the pesticides, hormones and other chemicals they use to poison our food. (I don’t have much of a green thumb, I try every year to grow my own food and I’m not very successful!) If I take one bite out of something non-organic, my throat and mouth swell up and my stomach hurts for several hours. Unfortunately, I’m very limited to what I can buy since not many stores and farms in my area offer a wide variety of organic foods. On my trip to Germany, I found I could eat ANYTHING there, because they DON’T POISON THEIR OWN FOOD! Why can’t we adopt that attitude? If I had the money, I would move there just so I could eat real food and not this chemical by-product that’s sold here in the US. And, did you read about the Amish farm in Pennsylvania that was raided for selling raw milk? Really? There aren’t more important issues our government needs to be facing, they’re going to spend a year going after someone selling raw milk?? How did people for generations and generations drink milk before the 1930’s??? I could go on, I get so disgusted with this issue. But, thanks for addressing it. More people should wise up and think about the consequences of our actions, and what those actions are going to do to our children and their future.


  2. When I was small my mother used to boil the milk every day and wouldn’t used the pasteurized brand, until there was no other one. I don’t know anything about gardening, but as a chemist I’m very suspicious of pesticides I used to analyze in my lab. They are dangerous carcinogens. The MAL (maximum allowable limit) in soil is in PPB (part-per-biliion). Good post, Beth.


    • Thanks Mona. I’ll bet you do know a lot about this as a chemist. Unpasteurized milk is only dangerous if the bacteria level gets too high. Ours is constantly monitored.


  3. Sarah Hansen

    Excellent post. We no longer use chemical fertilizer for our lawn. We compost everything we can, and my little backyard flock of hens provide ample fertilizer. They are also excellent composters themselves! So scary the things the government says are okay for general use.


  4. Great post, Beth. We’re old school too. We compose everything. People don’t realize how much they throw away that could help their soil. I keep a small bucket with lid on my counter next to the sink and I have to empty it every other day, if not more often. And, again, this year my flower beds and garden are growing in size.


  5. As you already know, Pixie pal, I’m squarely in your corner on THIS subject. Excellent, informative post. Not only do the worms love an organic garden, so do the birds, the butterflies…all God’s colorful little rainbows of life.

    Cindy Nord


  6. Pingback: Lawn Chemicals and the Environment don’t mix | Sustainably Verdant

  7. Pingback: Plant Enemies – Keeping them at bay

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