Organic Gardening For Beginners – The Benefits and Basics
Environmentally friendly living is more than just a hot trend. It is a changing way of life where people consider the impact of their choices and work toward living harmoniously with nature. Making a conscious choice to live this way has a positive impact on the world around us, and many also believe it increases health and wellness for individuals and promotes longevity.
When it comes to growing a healthy garden, many gardeners are promoting the advantages of organic gardening. This is the practice of using natural remedies to rid plants of pests and disease rather than turning to pesticides, herbicides and other toxic products. Organic gardening also involves thinking of each plant as a small part of Earth’s ecosystem that impacts our soil, water supply, people and wildlife.
If you are not yet on board with growing an organic garden because you think it involves more work than using more traditional pesticides and fertilizers, it might help to understand some of the many benefits of making this choice. The full list is extensive, but here we will take a closer look at a few of the many ways in which you’ll be helping yourself and your family when you garden organically.
One of the most popular reasons for going organic is to reduce or avoid the dangers of pesticides. Many of the most popular conventionally available sprays and liquids for your garden have been linked to cancer and leukemia, infertility, miscarriages and birth defects. Some believe that the rising number of ADHD and Alzheimer’s diagnoses are also related to pesticides, and scientists continue to explore the long term effects of using these products. When you use natural measures to prevent and deter pests in your garden, you protect your family from these potential dangers, reducing their exposure via direct transfer from plants and seepage into ground water that is later used for washing and human consumption.
If your children are interested in helping with the family garden, it’s easier to feel secure about their efforts when chemicals are not used. Many pesticides are labeled with warnings to keep out of the hands of children, and all list that the dangers of consumption. Tiny hands that dig in the dirt and play with plants also land in mouths, and this can mean a toxic substance is delivered directly to your child’s gut. Organic gardening reduces this risk and lets families safely encourage children to develop their own green thumbs.
Another way in which organic gardening has a positive impact on your health is by increasing quantities of vitamins and nutrients found in many fruits or vegetables that you choose to grow. Mounting evidence shows that organic produce contains higher levels of vitamin C, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. These same vegetables were found to have lower levels of nitrates which has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
Organic gardening is also cost effective. Growing plants, bushes, trees and vines organically means spending less on conventionally available pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. This practice starts with healthy plants and involves keeping plants healthy with natural compost, clean water and regular maintenance. If you choose to grow organic produce, you can also save money versus buying these same items in the grocery store.
For those who live in an area with water restrictions or a high priced water supply, organic gardening will also mean less money spent on your monthly bill. Soil that is naturally rich in nutrients and organic compounds holds moisture better. Therefore, you can water less while still maintaining healthy, vibrant plants.
If your gardening hobby includes inviting birds, butterflies and beneficial insects into your garden, increase your chances of seeing these critters by going organic. Pesticides are quite effective at killing unwanted insects like snails, slugs and aphids, but an unwanted side effect is that they can also do damage to caterpillars, butterflies, birds, bees and other pollinators. Gardeners who constantly spray plants with toxins are not likely to enjoy the sights and sounds of these beautiful creatures, and their gardens won’t benefit from cross pollination and increased plant health that many of nature’s creatures provide.
For those that are now convinced to give organic gardening a try, remember that it isn’t necessary to immediately change everything. Start small by implementing one or more of the following tips:
- Begin with healthy, native plants. They are less prone to disease and have an easier time growing in your local soil and without interventions.
- Start with organic soil. You can create your own by keeping a compost bin or purchase bagged organic soil at your local greenhouse.
- Use mulch to discourage weed growth and insects and help you plants to retain more moisture.
- Water regularly, but avoid over watering.
- Keep an eye on your plants and remove dead leaves and blooms regularly.
- Weed your garden by hand instead of resorting to toxic weed killer.
- Avoid pesticides. If you are fighting insects, try more natural methods like soapy water or neem oil instead of chemicals.
Time spent in your garden is peaceful and stress reducing, encouraging a healthy mind and body. The many benefits of gardening are compounded when you make organic choices. When it comes to growing a holistic, sustainable garden, knowledge is key. Learn all you can about the benefits of this practice and ways in which you can simplify your newfound love for a healthier style of gardening.