What is organic growing

Organic gardening means growing high quality, delicious and nutritious food in an ecologically balanced way. Organic gardeners respect the Earth and work within the cycle of Nature. Organic gardening and farming improves the 'living soil' with its myriad of microbes and earthworms, rather than degrading the soil by saturating it with artificial and toxic chemicals.

When we begin to understand Nature we see that there is a balance and harmony between living things. Insects, plants, trees and even small animals balance each other. Sick plants are attacked by pests, healthy plants live and thrive. To grow organically we will work in a similar way. With Nature, not against her. The soil will be viewed as a living organism — not the sum of a few unrelated and separate parts. We will learn to respect and understand insects and pests so that we can even avoid the use of naturally-occurring biodegradable insecticides.

When we look closely at a forest, we see the natural mulch that has formed on the forest floor. This provides, food, shelter, and an even temperature for the insects, fungi and plants that live there. This mulch slowly breaks down with the addition of bird and animal droppings, fertilising the soil and feeding the plants and trees.

When plants are grown conventionally, petro-chemical fertilisers are used to feed the plant directly, which can result in excessive growth and poor cell structure, which in turn can increase attacks by insects.

With organic growing, organic matter and natural minerals in the soil feed the soil micro-flora and worms which in turn feed the plants by releasing the essential nutrients that the plants need. This gives sustained, regulated growth and strong cell structure.

The most important tool for the organic gardener is patience. It will take time for soil fertility to build up and a balanced ecology to develop. It will take time before the damage caused by insects becomes minimal. So be prepared for a few failures in the early stages.

We are only caretakers of our land and to pass this land onto future generations fertile, productive and 'clean' would be the greatest gift of all.

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