Reduced to its basics, organic gardening is a system of maintaining the soil's fertility by replenishing it, not with chemicals, but with organic materials in the form of humus and compost Organic gardening stays true to the natural life cycle in which soil, water, plants and animal life all work in harmony, one having a part in the nourishment of the others.
When decomposed plant and animal remains are returned to the earth, they help produce healthy soil structure and good aeration. This in turn results in good drainage and water and nutrient retention. Plants thrive in this environment, with the oxygen present in the loose soil structure being used by the microog-anisms therein to burn organic matter, releasing carbon dioxide and nutrients needed by plants.
Organic gardening is almost as old as the earth itself. Our current system, however, was developed early in the twentieth century by Sir Albert Howard, an English agricultural expert working in India. It was not until the 1940s that this system reached the United States, introduced by Jerome I. Rodale. He attracted a loyal group of followers who believed in the importance of good soil.
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