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The Practical Organic Gardening Guide

The Practical Organic Gardening Guide

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Published by Angie

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Published by: Angie on May 03, 2008
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12/01/2011

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THE PRACTICAL ORGANIC GARDENING GUIDE
“Gardening is any way that humans and nature come together with the intent of creating beauty.”
-
Tina James, 1999IntroductionThe average homeowner may use dozens of potentially harmful chemicals in thegarden to treat pests and diseases and to fertilize plants. However, there is agrowing awareness that many of the chemicals we use in our yards over the longrun may negatively affect the health of our loved ones, pets, and neighbors.Additionally, these chemicals can degrade the environment and generally donothing to contribute to the overall health of our plants.This website is designed as an introduction to organic gardening for the averagehomeowner. We recognize that many gardeners simply don’t have the time,money, or energy to invest in a fully organic garden. Organic gardens can taketime to establish and require a certain amount of dedication.However, you can have big impacts on the environment and the health of your family and neighbors by using even just a few organic gardening techniques athome. We also hope that once you start using organic gardening techniques,you will find that they are actually easier and more effective than you ever imagined.If you do have the time and energy to go organic and stop using chemicals inyour yard, we feel that this is the best way to ensure a healthy yard, a healthyfamily, and a healthy environment. However, if you even take just a few of thesebasic steps to reduce your use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides,you’ll be making a significant impact on your health and on the environment.What’s Wrong with the Way We Garden
 
Unfortunately, most gardeners use chemicals to fertilize plants and to fight pestsand diseases. Many of these chemicals actually contribute to destroying helpfulsoil organisms and can damage a plant’s natural ability to fend off pests anddiseases. Additionally, chemical fertilizers can build up in the soil and eventuallyreduce the overall productivity of the soil. Our plants become weaker andweaker in the process, making more chemical treatments necessary just to keepthem alive.Conventional garden care can alsonegatively affect wildlife, contaminate water sources, create unnecessary solid waste in the form of grass clippings andgarden debris, and can end up utilizing excessive amounts of water. Chemicals,inappropriate plant selection, and over-watering can contribute to an unhealthyyard, including the death of beneficial soil organisms. This means that we applymore and more chemicals to our plants, while not recognizing the fact that theecosystem is basically failing.Organic gardening is an alternative to this common gardening practice. Organicgardening is broadly defined as a way to create a natural balance of healthy soiland healthy plants in your garden. Plants have of course grown naturally in thewild for millions of years without the use of harmful chemicals or help fromhumans. If we simply look to nature for ideas on how to grow healthy plants, wecan utilize more natural processes instead of chemicals to keep our gardenshealthy. Healthy, natural gardens mean cleaner water, cleaner neighborhoods,and a healthier family.So, what exactly happens when we manage our yards using the techniques andchemicals that we’ve become accustomed to using? The following list will giveyou an idea of the severity of the situation and what happens to our health and tothe environment due to the use of chemicals in our yards and gardens.
 
Some studies report that over 50% of people living in urban areas usechemicals on their lawns and gardens. These chemicals can eventuallymake their way into local water sources.
Some scientific studies have actually found higher amounts of pesticidesin urban areas than in agricultural areas.
Epidemiological studies report the possibility of higher numbers of cancer and other health problems reported among families that use chemicalpesticides for lawn care. Children may be especially affected.
Urban runoff contributes to high-levels of phosphorus in rivers, lakes, andstreams. The phosphorus often comes from chemical fertilizers used for yard and garden care.
Excess nutrients from chemical fertilizers cause algae blooms in riversand streams which use up oxygen needed by fish and other aquatic life.
Grass clippings and garden waste overload landfills, and garden debristreated with chemicals are an additional source of pollutants in theenvironment.
Various scientific studies have shown that the use of chemicals in our yards reduces the diversity of beneficial soil organisms such asearthworms.
High use of chemicals can contribute to acidification of the soil and soilcompaction.Sadly, many gardeners resist switching to organic gardening techniques simplybecause they are accustomed to the ease of using chemicals and getting quickresults. This is an unfortunate situation. What we really have to ask ourselves iswhat good is all this convenience doing us? Our environment is increasingly fullof chemicals, and we live daily with unhealthy air and polluted water. Sure,organic gardening does initially require a bit more work on the gardener’s part.But we all know that exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Becauseour lives are so convenient, obesity, cancer, and increased levels of stress arenow considered the norm. Is there another way?

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