To organic foods enthusiasts, organic gardening means producing food plants without synthetic fertilizers, supplementary mineral elements, pesticides or herbicides. You supply soils with high levels of organic matter from animal manures, crop residues, and compost or green manure crops. You do not use supplementary mineral elements except those from natural mineral fertilizers obtained from naturally occurring deposits.
To control diseases, insects and nematodes, you use resistant cultivars, cultural practices or naturally occurring plant pesticides. Weeds are controlled through cultural practices including mulching.
This method of gardening has its strengths and weaknesses. Research shows that mineral elements used by plants enter the plant through the roots in water solution. Thus, regardless of their origin—natural or syn-
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