Return to Horticulture Update Table of Contents(Reprinted from Organic Gardening Magazine, January/February 2001. Submitted by Lynette Sierer in The Guadalupe Gardener, Guadalupe County Master Gardeners).
Five Reasons To Go Organicearly 4 out of 10 Organic Gardening Magazine subscribers recently polled use both organic and chemical gardening methods. A similar number use “primarily organic” and fewer than 2 in 20 use “exclusively organic” techniques.
Maria Rodale, editor of the magazine, hopes more gardeners will learn and implement organic gardening methods. She offers the following reasons for organic gardening.
FOR YOUR HEALTH. Study after study has linked common chemical pesticides and fertilizers to cancer, reproductive damage and neurological damage.Action: Stop using chemicals NOW. Her hunch is that we won’t even miss them. FOR THE SOIL. Chemicals kill the soil, making it inert and unable to stay in place, causing erosion and pollution of our water. Healthy soil creates life, nutrition, and a clean environment. It can even help prevent global warming by holding carbon in the soil rather than releasing it into the air.Action: Just add compost! Compost builds fertility, nurtures soil life and combats pests and diseases. FOR THE BIRDS. A recent study showed that the presence of songbirds is a powerful sign of a healthy environment. Birds are happiest in a diverse, clean landscape filled with good things to eat - including all those creatures that are “bugging” your plants. By spraying pesticides, you not only remove their food source but also can poison the birds themselves.Action: Plant a diverse array of trees, bushes, flowers and vegetables - organically, of course, to give those birds a food source and a home. FOR FUN. According to the subscriber survey, most of the gardening is for fun. What is fun about using dangerous chemicals? It’s much more exciting to beat a bug problem, or grow fabulous roses, by using nature’s own secrets rather than by pouring something out of a bottle while wearing a protective mask and clothing.Action: Experiment! Relax! Try a companion planting of garlic with your roses and use homemade compost and nitrogen-rich grass clippings to feed them. Quit worrying about a weed-free lawn. Remember that the grass itself is a weed. FOR THE FUTURE. By gardening organically, you really can make a world of difference right in your own backyard. Do it, if not for yourself, then for your children and future generations.Action: Show by example that we can change the world one garden at a time. You won’t regret it.
This article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Horticulture Update, edited by Dr. William C. Welch, and produced by Extension Horticulture, Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System, College Station, Texas 77843.