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Gary350
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WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I buy my seeds at, Amish garden store, Farm supply store, Walmart, Ebay plus I save many of my own garden seeds every year. I plant in soil in the earth 35'x60' garden not raised beds or pots. I don't put any type toxic poison on, plants, grass, weeds or bugs. I never water my plants if mother nature does not provide rain they all die but they never die. I do not, mulch or do anything to block weeds and grass from growing and I have no weeds or grass after 50 years of gardening I have learned how to not have much weeds and grass my garden is very little work. When I burn wood I save the ash lots of lime and potash in there for the garden. Sometimes i plant beans with corn to provide nitrogen for the corn with no intention of harvesting the beans. I have 14 bird houses birds eat most of the bugs. Powdered table salt works good for bugs also cayenne pepper tea kills bugs too. Sometimes I make my own fertilizer and sometimes I buy it. My yard has lots of birds, 11 squirrels, lots of moles, 1 cat and 1 small dog. I have a garden tiller, and several hand tools. I don't have a compose pile anymore I throw dead plants in the yard to dry out in the sun then mow them with the lawn mower and blow all the tiny pieces into the garden to be tilled into the soil. My whole garden is a compose pile all the organic material I get goes directly into the garden not a compose pile. Organic stuff from the kitchen goes into my garden. My garden soil was once farm land it is ok soil I don't need to do much to improve the soil like I once did where I use to live, no more truck loads of manure and leaves. I stock the kitchen pantry with a 1 year food supply. This is my idea of organic I think this is about as natural and organic as it gets.
Last edited by Gary350 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 12:07 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones defination of Organic?

Organic is a marketing term. There is a definition of strictly organic that is regulated by the National Organic Program. There are strict rules growers have to follow to be certified organic and be able to put an organic label on their products.
Organic usually means you have to use products that basically came from something that was once living. This includes composts that are aerobically made like your garden compost pile. (to be strictly organic, all inputs must be organic, so no synthetic fertilizer in the starter pile.) It can also be naturally made anaerobically like peat moss.

Allowed pesticides and fertilizers are either organically based from plant oils and residues, animal byproducts, or naturally occurring minerals, and elements. This excludes manmade fertilizers like urea, althoug pee is allowed. GMO is manmade, so by definition any GMO cannot be organic.
To be certified organic you have to document that you have used only organic inputs and methods for 3 years to be certified to be able to use the organic label.

At home, you don't need to be certified, but you should be using organic amendments like compost, manures, cover crops, and organic fetilizers that are either plant or animal based. Seeds should be organic. Organic should have a buffer zone between what is organic and what is not. Even crops and plants sold in markets are required to be separated.

There are some synthetics that are allowed in organic culture
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/7/205.601

Some organic compounds have been banned like nicotine and rotenone because even though they are from organic sources, they can be very toxic to humans and animals.

Organic started out as a movement with the intent to protect the environment. Restore balance to depleted soils by supporting the soil web and decreasing dependence on synthetic fertilizers and the havoc that the misuse of synthetic fertilizers and other chemicals have had on the ecosytems of the world. It is not that synthetic fertilizers are inherently bad. Synthetic fertilizers and crop science as well as advances in technology have increased yields so that more food can be grown on less land and require fewer people engaged in agriculture. The negative effect of that has been urban sprawl. Concentrating animals into feed lots means there are more animals per acre and more animal poop to get rid of. Just because manure is organic, a ton of manure concentrated in a small area can still be a pollutant and run off when it rains and contaminate water ways and farms down stream. Homeowners and farmers alike, applied way to much fertilizer because they got great results, and figured more is better, right? Phosphates Tide and other detergents got clothes especially whiter, but the wastewater in many cities is dumped back into the same waterway that becomes someone else's drinking water down stream. The phosphate pollution and nitrogen runoff from high nitrogen fertilizers led to algae blooms in lakes, depleted oxygen and a lot of dead fish.

Phosphate contamination is so high and it takes years to correct, so that some states like Michigan have banned phosphate fertilizers to avoid adding to the problem.

Soil organisms and plants don't care where their food comes from. It can be organic or synthetic. Synthetic is ready to use for the plants, which is why crop yields were better and more could be grown on less land than with organic.

Organic is labor intensive requiring hundreds of pounds per acre, but considerably less synthetic for the same NPK.

The problem again is with disturbing the balance. While soil organisms consume the nitrogen from synthetic sources just fine, synthetics are not a balanced diet and the soil organisms need carbon too to remain healthy in the long run.

Whether you use synthetic or organic, it is possible to mess with nature too much and upset the balance. You can add too much manure or compost and that will change the pH or the soil nutrient holding capacity to a point where the soil becomes unhealthy. Like adding lime to everything, or fertilizing because someone said this or that product was good rather than actually looking at the health of the soil and only adding what was needed.

In a forest the soil is actually very poor. The trees are supported because they recyle the nutrients they remove by dropping leaves and fallen trees will decompose and return the nutrients back to the soil. Animals that live in the forest will leave their droppings from the leaves and fruit they ate and that also returns. In a closed system, if it in balance, it stays balanced.

Unfortunately, humans get in the way. They try to make things better for themselves by planting things they like, but that are not native to the area. They add stuff, some organic, some synthetic, often by the seat of their pants and it works for a few years because nature does try to compensate. But after a few years of harvesting the fruits, but not returning anything (first time gardeners who plant seeds without prepping or fertilizing, can usually get a good crop a year or two before the soil is too depleted to grow anything well.)
Some people add manures, leaves, fertilizer, synthetic and/or organic but they plant the same things year after year in the same place. They sometimes go a little longer, but if they have not replaced the nutrients removed in the right proportions or have gone overboard with some nutrients because they don't really check what their soil needs, they start having problems. If they have figured out an equitable formula, they can go on for years.

Monoculture in large farms is taking its toll. Yields are good, but nature is still unbalanced. Wild animals are displaced by houses that move into their neighborhood, and now they are the pests, because people have taken away their food supply, so now they start eating what the people have planted instead. Bees, birds, and other animals are disappearing due to habitat loss and competition/.conflicts with domestic animals for food.

Lastly, organics is supposed to be a method of improving the soil and recycling nutrients in a sustainable way.
1. The soil is not helped at all if you plant in pots, not in the soil
2. If you constantly have to feed a plant in a pot, even with organic fertilizer, it iss not sustainable, since constant inputs are required from outside. It is an open not closed system.
3 Many people believe that organics is healthier but the science says that there is no nutritional difference between an organic or conventionally grown plant. Under the same growing conditions, they will contain the same nutrients and calories. One is not healthier than the other
4. Organics does not use pesticides. Many people believe organic vegetables and fruits are grown without pesticides and taste better. I don't know if they taste better, but organic organizations keep harping on the pesticides used in conventional farming but do nothing to tell the truth about how much pesticides they use.
5. The FDA regulates food sold in markets and said that the food sold is safe, both conventional and organic.
6. Organic produce have no pesticide residues. Well, they shouldn't, the produce is only tested for conventional pesticides. I don't think they are testing them for oganic pesticide residues. I think they should.
7. Organic pesticides are toxic, they have to be, otherwise what good would it be. They just have to be applied more often, organic farmers are limited in what they are allowed to use, and they don't last as long.
8. Organics is sustainable. Well, maybe, maybe not. If you have have to continually add more inputs from outside the system, then it is not truly sustainable. If you are importing leaves, manure, feedstocks, and adding organic fertilizer year after year, the system is not a closed system and not sustainable.
9 Organic seed must be grown organically for a minimum of 3 years.
10 If you are strictly organic, all of our inputs must also be organic.
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applestar
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones defination of Organic?

Haha I guess most of us should be putting "quotes" around the word "organic" when describing our gardens and gardening methods due to limiting factors. As a consumer, I think it's good that there are some kind of baseline definition but as a gardener, I know I can't meet some of those requirements where I live.

I don't use any of the chemical -cides -- fungicides, herbicides, pesticides.... I use some products that I wouldn't mind using on my own skin or clothing or on things I would eat off of, or eating if they were fresh, for those purposes.

I don't use chemical fertilizers. I do save household, kitchen and garden wastes for composting and mulching. For soil prep and enrichment/amendment, I use my own compost and bagged products -- single ingredient or blended -- that are considered or labeled "organic" -- leaning towards OMRI or other organic certification to back up the claim. I used to use natural animal feed but lately have begun to question them due to differences in --greater amount of -- allowed concentration of chemicals and contaminants for animal feed. Same unease with regard to hay and straw, including various-cide use.

I do buy or consider buying "organic" seeds for planting since there have been more regulation put into place, especially when the source company is located in more heavily regulated states. My reason for this is that many seeds are treated as a matter of common practice -- I believe fungicide is the most heavily used. Other chemicals to promote "freshness" and preserve them in storage as well as prevent them from molding and rotting in the ground before sprouting. I believe corn, peas, beans, and squash as well as grains? Are often treated.

Some companies sell "treated" vs. "untreated" seeds. If these options are not available, I may or may not buy the seeds from the company. Decision depends on other factors like price, availability, convenience, etc. How long it takes from seed to harvest and what part is eaten is also a factor. If the chemical is type to persist, they may be accumulated in ovary and embryonic cells (fruits) or stored in tubers and roots.

I try to pay attention to soil food web and local biosphere environment system balance and try to attract and let the predators be my Garden Patrol. I try to encourage the various soil denizens to go about their business and feed my plants without too much human interference. I do have to water with municipal water due to uncooperative Mother Nature and some kind of atmospheric effect in my area that makes the rain clouds avoid us -- even to the point of splitting, skirting around, and re-converging after passing. I considered getting an outside faucet filter, but decided that was not within my scope.

I like the idea of self-sustaining garden and try to put back waste into the garden as compost and mulch. Since I don't/can't have livestock, I try to work with the "micro-herd" -- fungi and microbes -- by increasing their population by fermenting and culturing.

I like the idea of recycling and re-purposing and try to use household throwaways for gardening. Just the other day I wanted to throw out well-used falling apart, emptied containers scattered around the garden and briefly considered taking out a new cinch-close garbage bag we use for the kitchen trash can, then realized that was silly when I have a pile of 2 cu.ft. ("organic") potting mix bags saved for various uses, and diverted one of those for trash duty. I used the still attached top edge of the bag from cutting it open to tie it closed.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

Gary, it seems like you do a little more than this post suggests. Here's some quotes from some of your posts this spring.

"I grow okra here in TN every summer I mix 15/15/15 and Urea 50/50 then give a 20 ft row an empty soup can full of fertilizer. "viewtopic.php?f=4&t=72272&p=407899&hilit=urea#p407899

"Pear tree is no different than, apple, peach, plum, and other fruit trees. Give it lots of nitrogen. Buy a bag of Urea at farm supply store give tree 3/4 cup of [15-15-15] fertilizer and 10 gallons of water 1 time each week." viewtopic.php?f=20&t=72219&p=407567&hilit=urea#p407567

"For years I have used peat moss it is very dense and goes a long way and excellent compost material and pepper plants love it.... I am going to put a whole bag of peat moss in a 30 ft row for bell peppers and squash. ...When I till in the peat moss I till in fertilizer too, Urea for corn, 15/15/15 for the rest of the garden" viewtopic.php?f=4&t=71618&p=404776&hilit=urea#p404776

"When planting in the garden I dig a 10" flower pot size hole for each tomato plant then dump in about 1/4 cup of 15/15/15 fertilizer. Cover the fertilizer with about 2" of soil then plant the tomatoes. I have 4 large 30 gallon black plastic trash cans I guess I will pack trash cans with leaves and 5 cups of wood ash and 1 cup of UREA fertilizer then leave them in full sun in 30 days in 95 degree water it will be finished compost. "
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=71528&p=404171&hilit=urea#p404171

etc etc. This: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=68882&p=391879&hilit=urea#p391879 is a thread from last year where you and I had a discussion about these issues.

Nothing 15/15/15 is organic; organic fertilizers are not nearly that concentrated. And Urea is manufactured industrially via the Haber process from petrochemicals with very high energy inputs. It is an extremely concentrated N source which is used in the manufacture of explosives and can easily burn your plants.
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Albert_136
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

My thought is that "organic" in food and food production is quasi-religious. Persons sort of follow a complicated belief system. Some benefits result.

evtubbergh
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

Albert_136 wrote:My thought is that "organic" in food and food production is quasi-religious. Persons sort of follow a complicated belief system. Some benefits result.
Haha, I agree completely!

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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I fertilize my soil with whatever is suggested by my soil testing lab. My soil is quite basic so sulphur is spread every year or every other year in the form of elemental sulphur and Sulphur nitrate. Insecticides are used as little as possible to reduce pollinator damage, but if squash bugs invade I will apply a cide directly. I do have a compost pile and incorporate that into whichever bed needs some compost. For me, a seed is a seed and if it grows, great. I will not go out of my way to purchase "organic" seeds unless there are no regular one available. Likewise, at the grocery store I bypass the "organic" section in favor of the regular.

I refer to myself as a conscientious gardener rather than organic. I guess I am a part time worshipper at the organic alter. As close as I can get but not a full blown organic.
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Gary350
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

rainbowgardener wrote:Gary, it seems like you do a little more than this post suggests. Here's some quotes from some of your posts this spring.

"I grow okra here in TN every summer I mix 15/15/15 and Urea 50/50 then give a 20 ft row an empty soup can full of fertilizer. "viewtopic.php?f=4&t=72272&p=407899&hilit=urea#p407899

So what it takes less than 2 minutes to fertilize 30 plants.

"Pear tree is no different than, apple, peach, plum, and other fruit trees. Give it lots of nitrogen. Buy a bag of Urea at farm supply store give tree 3/4 cup of [15-15-15] fertilizer and 10 gallons of water 1 time each week." viewtopic.php?f=20&t=72219&p=407567&hilit=urea#p407567

So what I worked in an orchard 48 years ago.

"For years I have used peat moss it is very dense and goes a long way and excellent compost material and pepper plants love it.... I am going to put a whole bag of peat moss in a 30 ft row for bell peppers and squash. ...When I till in the peat moss I till in fertilizer too, Urea for corn, 15/15/15 for the rest of the garden" viewtopic.php?f=4&t=71618&p=404776&hilit=urea#p404776

So what 5 minute job to till a bag of pear moss into soil for bell peppers.

"When planting in the garden I dig a 10" flower pot size hole for each tomato plant then dump in about 1/4 cup of 15/15/15 fertilizer. Cover the fertilizer with about 2" of soil then plant the tomatoes. I have 4 large 30 gallon black plastic trash cans I guess I will pack trash cans with leaves and 5 cups of wood ash and 1 cup of UREA fertilizer then leave them in full sun in 30 days in 95 degree water it will be finished compost. "
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=71528&p=404171&hilit=urea#p404171

So what 10 minute job to dig holes for tomatoes after soil has been tilled.

etc etc. This: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=68882&p=391879&hilit=urea#p391879 is a thread from last year where you and I had a discussion about these issues.

Nothing 15/15/15 is organic ; organic fertilizers are not nearly that concentrated. And Urea is manufactured industrially via the Haber process from petrochemicals with very high energy inputs. It is an extremely concentrated N source which is used in the manufacture of explosives and can easily burn your plants.
If I take your low concentrated organic fertilizer and make it more concentrated you claim it is no longer organic. All that really means is you use 99% less concentrated fertilizer in the garden. 1 teaspoon of pure fertilizer equals 5 gallons of your low grade "organic" stuff.

Organic is a matter of opinion, chemistry is a FACT. You can not change the Laws of Physics. 100 ounces of your organic fertilizer equals 1 ounce of factory made fertilizer. Do the Math 100 ounces = 6 lbs 4 ounces. If I have 1 ounce of pure factory made NH2CONH2 Urea Fertilizer and 100 ounces of organic Urea fertilizer that contains 1 ounce of pure NHCONH2 mixed with 6 lbs 3 ounces of inert filler they are both chemically identical. It is not possible to have any low grade fertilizer in any other form than pure 100% fertilizer containing FILLER. The chemical formula for Urea is NHCONH2 if you change that in any way it is no longer UREA. Same for all other chemicals. It makes NO difference what chemical you use for fertilizer if you change the chemical formula it is not the same chemical. If I mix, urine, wood ask, organic material, I get KNO3 which is a very good high nitrogen fertilizer including a LOT of FILLER. If I remove the FILLER I get pure 100% Potassium Nitrate. GUESS WHAT, they make, Black Power, fireworks, and explosives with Potassium Nitrate. SO WHAT. I took chemistry in college I understand this, most radical right wing extreamist organic people don't. There is nothing wrong with factory made fertilizer it is Organic in concentrated form. To make it very easy to understand, it is not possible to have a glass of water that does not contain water.
Last edited by Gary350 on Thu Jul 13, 2017 12:02 am, edited 2 times in total.

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applestar
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

It's true that idea of organic can be a sensitive topic and difficult to maintain calm.

Let's just post our IDEA of Organic and let's not challenge each other about the concept. That way this thread can stay alive. :wink:
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

Organic means living!
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I do incorporate organic principles but I am not a believer that anything not organic is poison. I also know from experience that there are unscrupulous people out there more than willing to make an extra buck by calling something organic and charging more.

I do believe that the soil needs to be fed. I add compost, but I like the results I get with synthetic fertilizer better. I use a lot less since I get my soil tested and only add what is needed. Synthetic fertilizer are less labor intensive to apply and I don't have to worry about pathogens in them. I don't like to use animal byproducts as a matter of preference, so that does limit the organic types of fertilizers available to me. I also can't see paying more for less.

I do support a diverse landscape and have an active garden patrol. I use very few pesticides and mostly on plants that are regularly attacked and I just don't have good predators for some of the pests. My other choice would be to get rid of the plants, and I don't really want to do that. The garden patrol does such a good job that I have hardly seen an aphid in years. I end up spending a lot of $ on slug bait, and I am not doing that great a job. The birds eat the sluggo and come back for more and I am still over run with slugs and snails. I don't have a chicken or a toad, and if I had them, they would be doing a much better job.

I plant a lot of things in pots, but they are not organic. I tried compost and manure in pots and it either killed off plants or seeds failed to germinate. Only vermicast worked in pots. Potting soil is very different from the soil in the ground and there is not a large colony of microbes in them, certainly not enough to support a full sized producing plant. In pots, I do use synthetic fertilizer regularly. I do have some fish emusion, but the neighbor complains about the smell, so I only use it sparingly. I do not reuse potting soil, but I do recycle potting mix in the yard or at the garden. Besides, there are not as many choices with organic seed. Most of the Asian vegetables and cucumbers I grow don't have organic seeds.

I think organic should mean working in balance with nature. Protecting and encouraging natural predators instead of relying on pesticides and selecting plants that suit the environment. Organic seeds and plants I don't care or want necessarily if they don't do as well. I grow GMO papaya because there is nothing wrong with them and the disease is so widespread that a non GMO papaya does not live very long. I wish there was a GMO sweet basil because, downy mildew is not likely to go away in this climate. Traditional breeding is taking way too long and the basil's flavor is not the same.

I also don't like the lies the organic groups tell to push their agenda. Skewing data by only quoting the parts of studies that suit them and saying that organic produce is more productive than conventional, when it is not. Saying organic produce is more nutritious and tastes better when the science says that there is no difference in nutrition and if the plants are of the same variety grown under similar conditions. Organic produce is probably smaller, has more bug eaten leaves and a little extra protein in them from the bugs. Finally, giving people the impression and not exactly telling the truth about the fact that organic production still uses pesticides, they are just limited to what they can use and they have to spray more often. They condemn the use of non organic pesticides and round up, and say their produce is better because it is pesticide free (giving the impression they don't use pesticides.) They may not use synthetic pesticides, but they do use pesticides. The FDA monitors the food supply and the conventional produce is still safe to eat and pesticide residues are usually well below the allowed limits when farms adhere to the days to harvest rules. The FDA does not test produce for botanical oils or organic pesticides, because they are short acting, so is it a surprise that organic produce tests lower in pesticide residues. I mean shouldn't they be tested for what they are using? Some do test positive apparently since they don't claim it is zero. Organic farms claim that is because of drift, or is it because of something else?


To the people who say that organic farmers use pesticides as a last resort, have not spent much time on an organic farm. If you mono crop or grow a few crops over and over again in the same area, you are going to get increased problems managing pests. They spray pesticides on a schedule and they don't rotate their pesticides as often. Hand picking and hand weeding is labor intensive and while farmers pay their workers the minimum wage, labor is the one of the highest costs. Land is likewise very expensive and farmers don't really want to keep land out of production for very long, cover crops take up resources and space. Insectaries, even small ones also take up resources and space. On a small farm with very expensive land, every inch counts. The truth is that while everyone has to eat, most people don't want to give up a significant portion of their income to pay a higher price for food. That pretty much means a farmer and farm workers end up working very hard for very little money.
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ID jit
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I lost +2 hours of typing and tactfully editing and rewriting last night. By the time I hit the "submit" button I had be auto-logged-off, and when I re-logged-in my post had disappeared. This is probably a good thing over all, because I can log in again today.

"Organic" = First world luxury fell good fix to a first world luxury problem.

It's along the lines of Nuclear fission reactors being labeledd as "green" energy because the do not produce a measurable "carbon foot print" and the notion that hybrid and electric vehicles are better for the environment for presumed smaller (more accurately, displaced) carbon foot print, Why don't we just ignore the idea that the average hybrid or electric vehicle is going to take a 3,000 to 5,000 lbs. dump of toxic lithium 7 to 10 years after production. It is not as though that lithium can be recycled or made non toxic or made hyper reactive with anything containing small amounts of water, Sad truth of the matter, those soon to be showing up batteries are just slightly less bothersome than the waste from that "green" nuclear fission reactor.

Does demanding, expecting or only purchasing "Organic" produce do anything about the plight of the migrant farm workers who keep food cost down for the rest of us?

Does demanding, expecting or only purchasing "Organic" produce do anything about about the kid who just died of malnutrition in some third world country while you were reading this?

"Holism" or "Wholeism" I get, but "Organic" is a feel good fix or feel good distraction form some very disturbing and complex problems.

Yes, I am a cynic. On my very good days I might scratch by as a misanthrope; unfortunately I don't have too many of those very good days.

The Organic Movement is about the same as sitting on the couch watching TV while the house is burning down around you.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I agree that organic in the sense we use it in organic gardening means coming from life. The fact that the same chemicals may be present in an organic fertilizer and a synthetic one does not make them the same substance or with the same environmental impact. The organic fertilizer will have different texture, different moisture holding qualities, and other elements beyond the NPK in the synthetic. Lots of trace minerals etc. Different impact on your garden to add concentrated dose of NPK all at once. And manufacturing a synthetic fertilizer in a factory from petroleum based chemicals has a whole different environmental impact than me producing compost in my backyard from my own garden and kitchen wastes (and chicken poop! :) )

I make a distinction between "organic" gardening and what I am calling natural gardening. Here's something I wrote about it awhile back:
I think that we are really talking about three different models of gardening farming, not two (organic or not):

What we tend to call conventional/ traditional, but has only become "traditional" in my lifetime, since WWII. I call it chemical gardening: Gardening in monocultures ( a field that is all one crop, e.g. corn), plowing/tilling, synthetic fertilizers, chemical herbicides and pesticides.

Organic gardening (especially commercial organic farming)- Probably still monocultures, probably still plowed/ tilled, uses things like compost / manure/ compost tea instead of synthetic fertilizers, uses hand weeding or things like vinegar, citrus for herbicide, Bt and things like garlic-pepper spray for pesticides, no synthetic herbicides and pesticides.

What I call ecological/ natural gardening, related to things like permaculture and biodynamic gardening: No monocultures, very diverse plantings, no tilling, composting in the field, mainly using only what comes from the field and mulch and cover crops, companion planting, trap crops, interplanting, relying on beneficial insects, use of birds, toads, ducks etc to control pest populations, chicken tractors for fertilization...

So the chemical gardener sees the pest and reaches for some kind of poison spray. The organic gardener sees the pest and reaches for something like Bt spray. The ecological gardener sees the pest and tries to figure out how to adapt the garden ecology to keep everything in balance, and probably doesn't spray anything except water.

Of course most of us exist somewhere along this continuum and are not perfectly any one 100% of the time!
So I am certainly not perfect, but I strive for natural/ ecological gardening. Allowing pests in my garden so that their predators will be attracted. Working to plant flowers that will attract beneficial insects. Feeding the bugs to the chickens and the chicken poop to the compost pile. Keeping bird houses and bird feeders and baths. Making spaces for the toads and lizards to be comfortable in my garden. I strive towards closed loop gardening - nothing* added from outside, nothing wasted.

*Or as little as possible. Since the chickens are now part of the loop, the basis of their diet is purchased chicken feed. I'm not sure enough of myself just to feed them from the garden, though they do eat a lot of garden greens and kitchen scraps along with their commercial feed.
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

rainbowgardener wrote:I

So I am certainly not perfect, but I strive for natural/ ecological gardening. Allowing pests in my garden so that their predators will be attracted. Working to plant flowers that will attract beneficial insects. Feeding the bugs to the chickens and the chicken poop to the compost pile. Keeping bird houses and bird feeders and baths. Making spaces for the toads and lizards to be comfortable in my garden. I strive towards closed loop gardening - nothing* added from outside, nothing wasted.

*Or as little as possible. Since the chickens are now part of the loop, the basis of their diet is purchased chicken feed. I'm not sure enough of myself just to feed them from the garden, though they do eat a lot of garden greens and kitchen scraps along with their commercial feed.
Certainly, a worthy goal. I am not a purist, but know we must adapt and adopt methods to SAVE the BEES!
Nutin as good as a kitchen sink mater sammich

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rainbowgardener
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

This style of gardening Ruth Stout called No-Work Gardening. Heavy mulching suppresses weeds, cuts down on watering, and feeds the soil. I let many things (like lettuce, spinach, chard, herbs, flowers, etc) go to seed, so that they will re-seed themselves and come back on their own. I hardly ever spray anything or fertilize. So it is very low maintenance. The permaculture ideal is a garden that takes care of itself and you just go out and pick what you need. I'm not there yet! :) But my main garden chores are getting ground ready and planting. Planting is pretty continuous. I just cleared a bed that had potatoes and broccoli in it and am putting the third planting of corn there.
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Gary350
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

Concentrated factory made fertilizer was invented for the millions of farmers in this country that farm millions of acres of land every year. It would not be possible for a farmer to compose 2000 acres of land, compose would need to come in 100 train car loads day after day for weeks. Where would all that compose come from for a 1,000,000. different farmers to have enough for their 2000 acre fields? If it was not for factory made fertilizer there would be 95% less food in the grocery stores at a much higher price. People complain fertilizers are made from petroleum products, maybe some are but i know some fertilizer is mined and some are made from the chemicals in the air. Air we breath is about 70% nitrogen. If factories turn air into a produce that plants can use I see nothing wrong with that. If farmers plant crops year after year, with no fertilizer crops will become much small each year and become smaller and smaller year after year as the land is turned in to waste land that will not grow much. Farmers that plant corn the 1st year will plant beans the 2nd year to put nitrogen back into the soil so they can plant corn again the 3rd year then beans again the 4th year and so on. I should do that in my garden corn one year then beans and so on. A corn picker harvests 2000 acres of corn, chops the stalks and cobs into tiny pieces and spreads it all over the field that basically turns the whole 2000 acre field into one big compose. Combine that harvests 2000 acres of beans chops the plants and pods into tiny pieces then blows them out the back to compose the whole 2000 acre field. I do the same thing in my garden I just harvested all my corn the stalks are laying in full sun drying out, next week I will mow them with the lawn mower when I mow the grass and blow all the chopped pieces into the garden then till them in. That makes my garden the compose pile there is no compose bin in the corner of the yard that is just extra work.

I was reading online where it said, 96% of the people in this country grew a garden before World War 2 that number dropped to about 2% over the years.
Last edited by Gary350 on Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:20 am, edited 2 times in total.

imafan26
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I like the permaculture ideals. Permaculture is more than just about gardening. It is a philosophy about how all life, plant, animal, and people (communities) need to nurished. Permaculture talks mostly about creating a more global ecosytem that is in balance.

It is hard to do one yard at a time. People who have the space and zoning to keep animals and are able sustain the garden with very little external outputs have an almost ideal situation. Most of us live in residential neighborhoods on small lots and some of us have to deal with HOA that don't want vegetables in the front yard and limits what animals we can keep, or even where you can park your boat.

Still organic gardens do fit in with these principles in that it encourages recycling and nurturing the soil. Yes, many synthetic fertilizers are made using a lot of natural resources and many are mined in a way that is harmful to the environment. So, if you don't like to use synthetic fertilizers for that reason, that is a good one. I don't like to use animal byproducts because they are not always pathogen free and they aren't as easy to use in my garden where I only need nitrogen or nitrogen and sulfur and nothing else. Most organic fertilizers contain a lot of something else I don't need. I would have to use so much of it to get the nitrogen I need that I would have way too much of everything else. The Haber process does take a lot of energy and that is why most of those plants are located near a natural gas source. It is a relative clean process since the byproduct is water. Synthetic fertilizer made life today possible for more food to be grown on less land. Organic farming is what existed before WWII and the invention of synthetic nitrogen. More land and people were engaged in farming then, because huge resources were required to feed all the people and their animals using organic inputs. The yields were just not as good. Crop science has improved crop yields, but it probably will not be as good if only organic is used, since high yields require high fertilization rates. Most of the corn and grain grown today are grown for animal feed, not for people's tables. The methane produced by the millions of cattle a year is where a lot of carbon comes from. The animals are not raised so much on large areas of land anymore but in the confines of a feedlot. The old way took a lot more land and time to put weight on. Most of the land has been converted to homes, and homes are invading wild habitats putting more pressure on wild ecosystems and coming into conflict with human interests.

I do plant a diverse yard with ornamentals, a few shrubs and a couple of trees. I have a healthy garden patrol of tree frogs that were accidentally introduced by some plants I brought home and lizards and skinks which eat most of the bugs. The birds come mostly to eat the fruits and seeds so except for the cattle egret, they cause more trouble than help. Even the stray cat that comes in my yard catches mice and rats. I have something blooming all the time so I have bees, wasps, ladybugs, spiders and other beneficial insects keeping most of the pests in line. I do have problems with some of the alien pests like erineum mites, fruit flies, peach scale, and greenhouse white flies and slugs and snails which I don't have good predators for, so I do resort to chemicals when they get bad, but I do try other things first.

As to nurturing communities and people. I do share the fruits of my garden when I have too many with friends and relatives and even trade some with other people. Sometimes, I have so much, I don't have any takers. I get other produce I don't have in return.

As to carbon footprints, I agree we should not add to it where we can, but I am not willing to give up my car just yet. Cars and industry are the biggest problems. As long as the oil industry and politicians don't move forward to fund technologies to replace the internal combustion engine we will continue to destroy our fragile environment. It may not be a meteor that wipes out all life on earth this time, it may just be us.
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Ksk
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Re: WHAT exactly is everyones idea of Organic?

I make a distinction between organic gardening and using organic methods. Most people I know use organic methods and could not be certified "organic" based upon the commercial definition.

I am pretty happy using the highest number of organic methods possible and increase that number every year. I will have to be satisfied with that. If I waited for perfection I would not do anything :D

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