Organic food products are the trend these days after studies have shown that the age old practice of using fertilizers and pesticides happen to be harmful to our health. This means that we have to change our approach and try something else.
The concept of organic vegetable farming is not new given that ancient civilizations have been doing it for years. We somehow forgot that thinking that modern science could help us produce better crops.
But if we go back to the basics, we realize that the resources need to make this work is right before our eyes.
First is the soil. Although 2/3 of the Earth is made up of water, the remainder is what we use for infrastructure while a certain percentage of that is devoted to agriculture.
The second thing you need is water. The ancients used an efficient irrigation system so that water from the rivers would go to the land they planted on. These days, we have the technology to divert water to these areas using pipes. When it has not rained for a long time, we are able to make artificial rain.
Third is sunlight. We may not control its movement but if we are able to plant our crops in an area that has sufficient exposure to the sun, whatever we plant will grow.
But between the period of putting the seeds in the ground and before these are harvested, farmers have to be on their guard. The crops are threatened by insects. This is why people are advised to use other insects, birds and toads.
Organically made fertilizers also come to play here and some examples of them include the application of compost, manure and cover cropping.
The soil where the vegetables were grown and harvested may not be ready to plant the same crops so maintain its fertility, farmers are also encouraged to rotate their crops.
To make sure that farmers who practice organic vegetable gardening are doing it right, the Department of Agriculture together with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture or IFOAM that has been in operation since 1972 sees to it that certain standards are in place.
Some people will argue that organic farming is not able to produce the same amount of yields as compared to those who use fertilizers and pesticides. This is true however, in times of drought, these crops are still able to survive because there is still enough water underground. This means farmers will still be able to harvest and there is a steady supply of goods in the market.
It is expected that the demand for organic vegetables will grow in the future. This is as more people become of food safety issues and how this affects the environment.
You can do your share by trying organic vegetable gardening in your backyard. The things you need are very affordable. You just need to practice what farmers do in the fields.
In fact, such information can now be found in books and online so do some research and put this into practice. It is fun and rewarding to see that what you worked on for weeks is now being served on your dinner table.
Back then, you have to remember that there were only a few skilled jobs and one of them was being a farmer.
Have you noticed that the “organic” section of your grocery store has grown exponentially in the last few years? This type of food, as it clearly seems, has ceased to be a fad of hippies and environmental nuts. Organic foods are everywhere and you can find them alongside other vegetables and fruits in your local stores and markets.
So how about the vegetables and fruits you grow at home?
Have you made the leap to this source of healthy food yet or do you still have a lot of pesticides on your garden shelf? Let’s take a look at how you can transform your regular garden into a delight of organic vegetables. It doesn’t take much and you won’t have as many problems with insects or poor soil as you thought.
Organic gardens are different from regular gardens in the way that the plants are fertilized and in the way that pests are controlled in the garden. True professionals use only natural products and materials and shy away from any synthetic materials that could be harmful to the environment or to those who consume the produce.
Just like conventional gardens, and perhaps a bit more so, organic gardens take a great deal of work. You may need to plan for a few healthy meals when the vegetable or fruit is in season and leave it at that. On the other hand, an organic farmer may decide to can their vegetables or otherwise store them for when they are longer in season. Clearly, a bigger garden is in store in that situation. Make sure your garden has a steady water supply and that the soil drains well into the ground.
Remember that organic fertilizers and conditioners work more slowly than the synthetic variety so mix up the soil with your fertilizer at least three weeks before you actually plant. Make sure you remove any organic materials that haven’t rotted yet and any weeds or unwanted plants. Fertilizers usually mean using animal manures, plant manures, compost or a mixture of different types of organic fertilizers. Some parts of the world rely on human waste but,
generally, that’s not recommended.
Your organic fertilizer will remove the hardness of the soil and improve its overall condition. The soil will be able to hold both water and nutrients much better after fertilizing it. In addition, organic fertilizer buffers the soil so it is more stable to extremes of acidity or alkalinity. In many cases, the microbiology of the soil improves and the added nutrients will gradually release themselves as the plants grow.
Organic plant fertilizer will add healthy nitrogen to the soil in a process called “nitrification”. Nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for the growth of most gardens—even conventional ones. Compost piles help organic gardens by improving the usable nitrogen component of the soil.
Animal manures make for the best type of fertilizer for the average organic garden. It needs to have been aged for at least 30 days to make the nitrogen more usable. The manure varies depending on the type of the animal, the way the animal was fed and even the condition of the animal. After letting the soil rest with the animal manure, you’re ready to plant and grow the healthiest garden possible.
Most people are sensitive to the fact that their daily living, in some way, contributes to the pollution of the environment.
We take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) and emissions from factories, cars, and mining operations are but a few of the sources of CO2.
The CO2 gases get trapped in the earth’s atmosphere, causing unhealthy air that simply has no where to go. The effect that each of us has on the environment is called our Carbon Footprint.
Many factors contribute to our individual carbon footprint, including where we live, the size of our home, how old our appliances are, what we drive and how much air travel we do.
While there is no way to eliminate our carbon footprint to slow climate change; there are things we can do to reduce the size of our “shoe”.
In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we must first know what size we are. There are carbon calculators online (www.carboncounter.org) that are simple to use and will quickly show you how much your carbon burden is.
By knowing what our personal impact is, we can then work on reducing it. There are many organizations that continually endeavor to offset and mitigate the damages by CO2 emissions, including wind power, reforestation projects and solar power projects, including Conservation International, Nature.org and Carbon Counter.org
Working together to individually reduce our personal carbon footprint can only be good for our planet, our future and the future of generations to come.