As the world goes green, organic gardening has never been more popular, as it provides complete control over what goes into your garden - from seed to harvest.
However, there are always advantages and disadvantages to take under consideration whenver going completely organic in the home garden:
The pros and cons of organic gardening
place of chemical pesticides,
organic gardeners may employ
insects like the
praying mantis, above.
Pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and weed killers in the garden were developed to make gardening less work intensive and more productive.
That said, the disadvantage to using chemicals mainly centers around the danger of misuse or overuse, which can be harmful not only to your health but to the surrounding environment.
According to the FDA, children in particular may be more sensitive to pesticides in their critical growing years. Pesticides in the food chain also may contribute to a decrease in their aborption of nutrients.
Even in home gardens without threat to young children, run-off of these chemicals to nearby streams, rivers, and local groundwater also threatens long term ill effects to the health of the surrounding neighborhood.
Instead, most organic gardeners use several ancient methods for controlling bugs and pests in the home garden. These may include the incorporation of bug-repelling plants, the use of non-insecticide soaps (and water), or the introduction of predatory birds or beneficial bugs (like the lady bug and praying mantis) to ward off destructive pests.
Meanwhile, organic gardeners find that old-fashioned hand weeding is the safest option to avoid the necessity of chemical weed killers.
A word about composting
Chemical fertilizers vs composting? Purists say that the only way to truly switch to organic is by enriching the soil with natural, organic compost. However, traditional gardeners who have tried composting say it is labor intensive and simply impractical for most small home gardens. In urban areas, compost piles in community gardens also may become a magnet for vermin.
Besides, garden centers are so much more convenient for making purchases of ready-made or chemical fertilizer specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of every type of garden.
In all, organic gardening certainly takes more planning and forethought than simply spraying chemicals to fight off bugs and weeds. Organic gardening also often proves to be more work intensive in some respects.
In short, the choice between organic and traditional gardening is stricltly a personal one. When weighing the pros and cons of organic gardening, it's always best to use common sense. Some organic gardeners swear that all-natural is the way to go. Others experiment by combining different methods that work best for them.
Around the Web, find out more about the all-natural approach to gardening with tried and true ways to keep your garden thriving, without the chemical additives...
Avant-gardening - Clever name - great site. Feature articles, resources, virtual photo tours, and a deep dig into related info, how to's and organic gardening supplies.
Rodale's Organic Life - This is the big, colorful online edition of the print magazine offering feature stories, links and resources, local community events in the U.S. and Canada, message board, membership details and an online store.
garden organic - UK site with feature articles, news and events, an online almanac, guides and factsheets, teacher resources, calender of events and lots more.
Organic Gardening Forum at GardenWeb - Join a busy board where you can post a question or learn more about how others are successfully gardening without chemicals or commercial fertilizers.
The Dirt Doctor - The famous radio show host has tons of information on organic gardening in an A-Z culled from frequently asked questions, plus related links and resources, image gallery, and a very active discussion board.
Organic Gardening Tips - From Marion Owen, expert organic gardener and author, who serves up seed, weeding, composting tips, facts & information, along with recipes, essays and book excerpts.