What makes a garden organic?

From the type of seeds and plants, to the soil, amendments, pesticides, fertilizer used, even the material that plant supports are made of will determine if your garden is truly organic or not. Whether you start your plants by growing from seeds or buying plant starts, you will be able to select only organically grown material. Look for seeds or plant starts that are “heirloom” rather than a GMO seed or plant. The term “heirloom” refers to plants that have been grown since early human history, it also refers to plants that are as close to the natural, native form as far as we know. With GMO (Genetically Modified Organism), Scientifically speaking, the genetic structure has been found to be weakened to some degree by genetic modification, when a plant has been hybridized (forced pollination or grafting of two or more different plant varieties), altered chemically through fertilizers and/or insecticides, or lab produced hybrids. In regard to hybridization, naturally, there is an ongoing debate as to the pros and cons of this practice. Plants are said to be hybridized for many different reasons, e.g., to be more resistant to fungal attacks, resistant to certain insects, and plant diseases. Also, a common reason for hybridization is to produce the most beautiful rose or preferred color in a particular flower. Research is ongoing into the benefits and deterrents of this practice.

It is nearly impossible now to achieve a true organic experience due to the fact that the very atmosphere has been altered through pollution, and by pollen from GMO plants nearby in your own neighborhood, also from nearby farms which use toxic pesticides. The further away from the city and toxic farms that your organic garden is, will help with invading GMO effects, although you may not have a choice. Most gardeners find that they only have their city lots to work with. How much better it will be if everyone strove to have organic gardens, then our home-grown produce will have a better chance of being truly “natural” and organic. Also, you may not want to have any or all of your plants to be natural, organic, or heirloom. That is simply your choice.You can continue your gardening efforts with everything organic that you can manage.

Seeds are also genetically modified or heirloom. Most seeds on the market are soaked in a chemical based solution that alters the natural qualities of the seed, before they are packaged. They can also be produced by a GMO plant, from your own backyard, for instance. In this case, the seed is already altered from a “natural” state, since the mother plant is altered. Plants have DNA also, and that DNA is affected by hybridization. Many heirloom seeds can be found now, either in stores or online. You may have to look harder to find the heirloom seeds for the type of vegetable you want to grow, however, it is actually easier to find what you want online.

Soil is everything in an organic garden! A good nursery or landscape supply yard near you will probably have organic soil for sale. Ask for organic sandy loam. This will be good for vegetables, with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Chicken manure pellets are widely considered to be very effective for growing vegetables, as well as many other types of organic materials such as fish excrement, blood and bone meal, kelp, and many other organic products. Many award-winning gardeners add 1 inch of the organic material (compost) to the top of the soil and then organic mulch on top of that. The ratio of compost to soil should be about 50 lbs per 1000 square feet. I have been successful in first, blending the 1 inch of compost into my sandy loam and then adding 1 inch at the top, covered by mulch. Organic cedar mulch is a good choice.

To achieve a truly organic garden, there is another concern which many gardeners don’t realize. Plastics have been found to leach into our foods from plastic ware. With that information, we know that plastics can also leach into our garden soils through baking from the hot sun to watering the substance into the soil. The plastic that is commonly used in gardening comes from plastic structures used to support plants, plastic garden tools, and also plastic pots if you grow veggies in them. For a more “earthy” look and for organic purposes, many gardeners are using only metal, clay, or wood structures and pots.

Pesticides are another very important part of organic gardens. Many organic pesticides are on the market now, although I will not give referrals to any product at this time due to some of the pesticides being unsafe. I had my own very bad reaction to copper sulfate spray. I do suggest using a homemade recipe with essential oils instead. Try using 8 drops of lavender oil, 8 drops of tea tree oil, to one gallon of water (in a garden sprayer). If this recipe does not seem to be effective, increase each oil by two drops with every successive application. I personally, would not use more than 12 drops of each oil. Be sure that there is no commercial pesticide in the sprayer before you put in your own mixture, or the commercial product residue can nullify the effectiveness of your essential oil mixture. Use just a very small pinch of salt to your gallon mixture to disperse the oils evenly. Young Living essential oils are the most organic oils I know of. This is what I recommend for which essential oils to use for your organic garden. It is also important to learn that if you use essential oils for your garden sprays that many essential oils are not made organically. Most essential oil companies like to claim that they are all “pure,” when in fact, many of those same companies have been found to use toxic pesticides, upon inspection. One has to wonder why cancers are becoming so common in these days. What happens when those highly concentrated pesticides in your essential oils are used on your plants, or on yourself, being absorbed into your bloodstream? No doubt, this is the kind of experience that we are trying to avoid. Looking into which companies produce products, including essential oils without the use of toxic pesticides, will bring a healthy organic gardening experience to your life.

Organic fertilizers are abundant now. You can easily find them in almost any place that sells nursery products. There are so many types, from organic blood meal, bone meal, feather meal, all types of manures, and more. It seems that every year there are new organic fertilizers to choose from. I found one I really liked using last summer, “E.B. Stone Organics Tomato & Vegetable Food.” This one includes humic acid and soil microbes, as well as blood, bone, and feather meal, plus some manures in it. This product has the normal requirement for plants, NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium), plus calcium, sulfur, and more. I used this fertilizer on the Blue Hubbard Squash, mentioned on the next page of the blog, a major success in my garden.

You may have decided by now that organic gardening could take some effort on your part, and possibly some research into which practice is best for whatever plants you decide to cultivate. If you do put some effort into maintaining your organic garden, there is a good chance that you will experience great success and will want to show off your beautiful garden with your friends and family. Eating the produce of your organic garden will be the greatest benefit of all!

Climate Zone Maps for Gardening


Here is an excellent site for organically pure essential oils: http://www.myyl.com/ladymargot

4 thoughts on “What makes a garden organic?

  1. I have a lot to learn about organic gardening and landscaping but I’ll start by using lead-free clay pots and I’ll skip the chemicals. Thank you for helping me get started!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this information. I am not wise in the gardening department, so it’s really helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

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