Please don’t call me an organic gardener

Please don’t call me an organic gardener.  My methods may not fit with what people refer to as organic.  You see our fruits and vegetables are grown without any pesticides.  No sprays.  No dusts.  No chemical application be it insecticide, herbicide, fungicide or miticide.  Yep we don’t use any of it, ever.


Digging into one of 6 compost piles. February 2016

We also don’t buy fertilizer.  We compost all our yard waste and kitchen scraps (with the exception of poison ivy and really thorny things; hey I never claimed to be perfect).  At any given time we may have 6 compost piles going all in various stages of decay.  Everything we grow gets a healthy dose of compost.

Are there times of the year when our tomatoes look a little ragged.  Yep.  Do some of the beans have a bite taken out of them?  Again yes.  Our kale may have a hole or two.  But we get plenty.  Plenty to eat fresh and even more to preserve for another day.

Don’t you ever get tired of labels.  Organic, cage free, local.  What do they really mean?  Usually not what you think.  Once a government agency gets involved and begins defining what something is or isn’t the thing that so many  people valued is often lost.  How many of you think that if something is labeled ” USDA Organic” it’s grown without the use of pesticides.  Well guess what; people who grow “USDA Organic” crops can and often do use pesticides.  They just happen to be on a list that the USDA says is ok for use on Organic Crops.  Many are extremely toxic.



A beautiful day in the garden. February 2016

When we shop for groceries, whenever possible we will buy “USDA Organic”.  Despite the the use of pesticides it’s still better than the alternative. But when it comes to our land we prefer not using any pesticides.  And every year the red clay soils we started with get just a little better.  Every year the land gives us just a little more.

So please don’t label me.  Don’t try to put my way of gardening into any particular box.  I’m just someone who likes getting their hands dirty and finds solace in the garden.

“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”
― Toni Morrison, Beloved




5 thoughts on “Please don’t call me an organic gardener

  1. Great post! Here’s the thing that has long concerned me: not only are pesticides, organic or otherwise, toxic, using them causes a drastic reduction in the nutritional value of fruit and vegetables. (This is why attempts to assess whether “organic” foods are more nutritious have produced such wildly varying results over the years. It depends in large part on whether organic pesticides have been used. Do it for generations and you create a trend toward increasingly less nutritious food.) We have become obsessed with antioxidants and suchlike – because by and large they are good for our health – but we don’t stop to ask why antioxidants tend to be stratospherically higher in wild plants. It’s because antioxidants are produced as part of a plant’s defence system against bugs, fungus, etc etc. Coddle the plant and protect it from bugs and its need to produce antioxidants drops sharply. Like everything else in nature bugs have a purpose that is larger than themselves. It’s to ensure the development and survival of the healthiest plants. If you look at the plants that bugs go for first, it’s always the less healthy ones. If I’ve got an enduring bug problem in my garden then most likely I’ve got a problem with imbalance in the soil or someplace else in the environment.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your insightful comments. There are plants that thrive in the summers of Vermont. Here they would be miserable and die. Plants thrive when grown in an environment that suites them. I don’t want to force something to grow by spraying it with countless chemicals. There are plants that are very happy in areas with hot humid summers and I am happy to give them a home. I’ve chosen to observe, to use some restraint in the garden and to continue learning what works in my unique environment.

      When we place labels on things be they methods or people we unconsciously form an expectation, we place them in a preconceived box and our ability to see, hear, and understand become the less for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Please don’t call me an organic gardener | marias treasures – WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

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