What? More On Organic?
By Don Trotter
Hello fellow Earthlings, and welcome to another installment of "As The Produce Turns." As I look out on the garden and witness the awesome beauty of ripening tomatoes, eggplant, and yes, a few "adult" doctored watermelons, I'm reminded of the immortal words of Dorothy Draper, the famous "inferior desecrator," as Frank Lloyd Wright once remarked. She said, "If it looks right, it is right." She ought to know, they named draperies after her. But then again, she is also known for saying "Give your man room and make him comfortable. It's all very well to feed the brute, but if you want him to stick around the house after dinner, think of him when you plan your living room."
Coming from the obvious point of view of "the brute," I have to say from first-hand experience that lovely white Egyptian cotton sofas and eggplant Parmesan don't mix. It looks right in my garden these days. The roses and dozens of flower species are blooming their hearts out. The vegetable farm is at the height of productivity with hundreds of pounds of squash, cucumbers and other delectable herbs and veggies. And not one pesticide has been applied. My wildflower garden that was only fed worm castings and some fossilized kelp (Kelzyme) is so colorful that passersby are awestruck by the beauty in front of "I Can't Hear You Farms," here in Cardiff by the Sea, California. The moral of the story is those individuals who would have you believe the only way to a beautiful garden is through chemistry are dead wrong, and my garden is proof.
When we think of gardening, it is much like dressing up. We know we look fabulous, but having someone validate our magnificence is the height of timely affirmation. In my classes here in the garden and the look on the faces of visitors to this little hunk of paradoxuhparadise is truly an unexpected reward when they marvel at the fact that "everything is so healthy." I solemnly agree, and when they hear that no pesticides, weed killers, or chemical fertilizers are used, they are then entranced by the true meaning of the term natural beauty.
They often ask if they can return with their children to see and touch the garden. I love seeing kids romp around pulling carrots out of the rich, composted soil, rinse the chunks of dirt off and start munching out. Then come the questions, and the ones from children are always so insightful. It really is all about the "why" of organic gardening and farming. And as Art Linkletter said, "Kids say the darndest things." The truth of it is that they are often right because it's obvious to them; it makes such simple sense to refrain from pouring poisons onto one's food. Out of the mouths of babes.
It should make such elementary sense to us as well, however kids don't pay attention to the bombardment of advertising by the manufacturers of potentially harmful and certainly toxic garden chemicals, nor are they persuaded by the compelling images of lush, productive garden spaces these commercials provide. And these chemical products most certainly do produce results. It does bear mentioning, however, once your garden is on the chemical roller coaster, it is difficult to wean it off the high-powered synthetics. It's exactly like some weird chemical addiction for the garden that is positively unsustainable.
There is no way I'm going to feed my entire ornamental gardens and the vegetable farm every two weeks in order to make some feeble attempt at supporting plant growth with this type of regimen. I live in an area with a 52-week growing season and a minimum of 26 fertilizations per year is neither cost effective nor labor wise. And the idea of having to feed the gardens often brings up images of work, and I garden to enjoy the plants I grow. I do not garden in order to stick to some rigid rules on a box, bag or bottle of modern chemistry complete with disclaimers that the manufacturer is not responsible for results if these edicts on the label are not followed.
Gardening is a passion as well as a vocation for me. I like to spend as much time playing in it as toiling, so for the sake of laziness and a narrow wallet, I don't partake in the chemicals. They don't supply me with the leisure time I crave in the garden. Additionally, they are cheap to buy once, but to keep up the facade of plant vigor, they need to be applied too often and are too expensive in the long run. Plus, they do little or nothing to support the healthy soil environment or biology that is far better equipped to deal with plant nutrition than some blue liquid or colored pellet that shoots out the back end of a smoke- billowing factory or oil refinery. That's right, the big players in the chemical fertilizer business and the synthetic pesticide industry are oil companies. It's because they have so much access to toxins and an abundance of surplus waste that your garden is supposed to benefit from.
I do it with long-lasting products of natural origin or organics. This satisfies my desire to feed the garden much less often and to spend more time smelling my roses and eating my tomatoes. So listen to your kids more often when it comes to gardening logic and I'll see you in the Garden!
Got questions? E-mail the Doc at Curly@mill.net Trotter’s natural gardening columns appear nationally in environmentally-sensitive publications. Check out Don’s books “Natural Gardening A-Z” and “The Complete Natural Gardener” for more helpful hints on growing a healthy garden without chemicals. Both are available from Hay House Publishing at www.hayhouse.com
Return to the November/December Index page