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Organic gardening is too expensive?

Posted Friday, January 30, 2009, at 8:47 PM

I have heard this complaint for about as long as I have been aware what organic gardening meant. What always amazed me is that when I was growing up, we were organic out of necessity. We could not afford to buy the chemicals that were coming on the market. Sooo, why is it more expensive now?

My belief is that we make it more expensive than it should be because we became accustomed to the 'magic pill' or instant results and therefore have to buy all the trendy things that are on the market. While I might some day open an organic supply shop, the fact is that if you learn true organic methods, you will eventually NEED very little of what I would have to offer.

Organic and sustainable are often used interchangeably. That is because most organic methods can be sustained through natural processes. Short term synthetic fertilizers are trying to feed the plant, but long-term organic approaches seek to feed the soil. Healthy soil feeds healthy plants, which in turn should feed healthy people.

Growing organic takes learning and you can't learn overnight, so have patience. Don't look for the 'silver bullet' and accept that sometimes the dark side wins.

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I know on my part "organic" has come to mean more expensive in the grocery store isle. I love the ideas of eating foods with less chemical, and hopefully will be able to plant a garden this summer if time and the rain cooperates.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 5:52 PM

Does spraying Sevin occasionally on hard hit plants mean it's non-organic?

I don't recall ever using chemicals besides that.

-- Posted by espoontoon on Sun, Feb 1, 2009, at 7:08 AM

Sorry about not answering last night. I was online, but the words were not coming out right.

ANYWAY, Probably the best way to get organic or naturally produce veggies is to find a local farmer. There are a few in the area. Get to know them and how they grow. They may use terms like sustainable and biodynamic as well.

The President of our TLSA group which certified organic farms, stopped using the term organic when the U.S. Government took over the program. He chose to just tell his customers how he grew sustainably and what was important to him.

Prices should compare with most vegetables and they should be fresher as well. Eating fresh organic also means eating in season. If you want something that has to be grown in the subtropics or in another hemisphere, the transportation and extra handling will cost.

If it is grown out of our country, the chances are high that it will not really be organic. I had a farmer from another world tell me that he grew organic, but when we got into details, he used the same synthetic insecticide that he used on his tobacco. We obviously did not share the same understanding of organic.

Sevin would not be in the organic program. I had a apple grower that had to step out of the program for a few years to save his orchard, so sometimes you gotta do whatchya gotta do. We did not have an organic solution and he was going to lose his trees.

I would prefer not to eat anything that has been treated with Sevin, at least not that growing season. For ornaments it is not as critical, but it is a non selective insecticide that will kill beneficial as well as bad.

If I had to use a non-selective, natural insecticide, I would try to use one that breaks down quickly (24 hours) and apply it when I think the least beneficial insects will be buzzing around. (like after the honey bees have gone home for the night)

I know this may sound extreme, but believe me, there are more extreme folks out there. Some will not kill anything and somehow they survive and produce. I prefer to use nature against nature when at all possible.

My biggest temptation to use non natural methods is for poison ivy and grasses that spread by roots underground. Tilling them does nothing more than propagate them digging up every little root wears me out. I have tried solarizing the beds and heavy mulch just seems to give them a playground to grow, so..........? Anyone have a solution?

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 2, 2009, at 8:55 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.