I want to wish everyone who reads this a happy and healthy 4th of July. We are celebrating our democracy and freedom in the midst of uncertain and unprecedented times.
Some of us may be unemployed or underemployed. Some of us may be wary of going into the stores to purchase food. Many of us are nervous about going back and enjoying restaurants.
My life has changed so much, and some of it has been for the better. I have more time to write, cook, exercise, and, much to my surprise, garden! Never before have I thrust my hands into so much soil nor cherished worms and pollinators.
Not only does gardening save me money, but it helps me connect with my husband and the soil beneath my feet.
Planting an organic garden is my path to self-sufficiency, and I’ll tell you why.
Growing organic food is the best way to feed you and your family.
If you are keen to grow your own vegetables, this can be an ideal way to get your kids out of the house and away from their tablet screens.
The Organic Center has a downloadable guide of the Five Most Important Organic Gardening Tips to make your garden successful!
Use Organic Seeds – untreated organic seeds are typically stronger and able to adapt to organic growing practices.
Fertilize with organic compost and manures – non-organic fertilizers like ammonium phosphate and other toxic chemicals can contaminate your soil and water.
Use the “buddy system” – companion planting allows beneficial plants to deter pesky insects and attract pollinators. Corn and beans are natural buddies. The corn stalks provide a trellis, and the beans provided important nitrogen in the soil.
Control weeds naturally – weed killers like glyphosate are likely carcinogens that can harm you, your pets and wildlife. There are many organic options found in the guide that are much more beneficial.
Simply avoid all pesticides – Common home garden products can contain synthetic pesticides that are carcinogenic to humans and are lethal to pollinators.
Have the right equipment.
Organic gardening begins with healthy soil. Organic gardeners put nutrients back into the earth using sustainable methods like crop rotation, cover crops, hand weeding, mulch, manure and compost. Healthy soil grows more nutritious food and can store carbon dioxide, helping combat climate change.
If you are blessed with a larger outside space, you may have the opportunity to create a rotational style cropping plan.
In order to utilize all these organic methods, you will need garden tools and a place to store them. Consider the small farm sheds that you can build to house a ride-on mower, seed, fertilizer and tools.
Greenhouses can be a great addition to your garden.
Some seeds need a head start from frost and cool weather. Others are susceptible to heat and can bolt or turn to butter. A greenhouse can be ideal for salad produce and citrus trees, that appreciate the humidity and warmth.
Cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes also adore greenhouse environments. Lemon and orange trees love the humidity a greenhouse provides. If you are producing food in a greenhouse, be sure to include your organic farming practices to build the soil and combat pests naturally.
Growing and eating organic food can provide measurable health benefits.
A recent review published in the journal Nutrients shows that increased organic food consumption is associated with fewer incidences of infertility, birth defects, pre-eclampsia, allergies, middle ear infections in children, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and metabolic syndrome, which increases a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.
Check it out. The review includes 35 observational and clinical trial studies and is arguably the most comprehensive study to date to assess health outcomes of eating an organic-based diet.
Eat well, be safe and grow your own organic food. It’s the real path to self-sufficiency.
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