User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 4979
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

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.

Posts: 11269
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

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.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Cool Member
Posts: 89
Joined: Sun Jun 25, 2017 3:57 pm

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

Return to “Organic Gardening Forum”