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Grow Organic!

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Welcome to the first article in our new column, Organic Gardening with Jeanne!  I hope these articles inspire you to "grow organic."

Organic gardening sounds daunting, but in reality, it is fairly simple and straightforward. Whether you have a big garden or a few pots of vegetables on a city balcony or kitchen windowsill, you can grow organic and harvest wonderful herbs and fresh vegetables.


Please let me know if you would like more information on any aspect of organic gardening.  You can contact me directly at jeannegrunert@dishmail.net Please include "Organic Gardening with Jeanne" as the subject line so I know it's in reference to Raw People.

Now onwards ‚Äď let's get started growing organic food!


The Basics of Organic Gardening


Organic gardening means different things to different people, but the basics include:

1.    Using NO artificial fertilizers, pesticides, or chemicals on the soil or crops.

2.    Carefully replenishing and enhancing the soil so that vital nutrients are abundant. This means healthier food crops filled with vitamins and minerals.

3.    Working in cooperation with nature.


Many people wonder how you can grow vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers without manmade fertilizer or pesticide. Good organic gardening practices incorporate one or more of the following for healthy plants.  Don't worry if you don't know a lot about any of them. I'll be sharing more information on each topic in the weeks to come.


Organic gardening practices include:


‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Improving soil through the use of compost, natural fertilizers such as manures, and planting cover crops.¬† Compost consists of decomposed plant material such as grass clippings, leaves and scraps from the kitchen.¬† Manures include aged cow manure, horse manure, and manures from other herbivores such as goats or chickens.¬† Cover crops are grasses, legumes and other plants sown into garden beds for the purpose of replenishing the soil; crops mature and are turned under, or buried in the earth, to nurture the soil.¬† Each of these methods puts nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash (NPK, the three numbers you see on chemical fertilizers) plus trace elements back into the soil without the use of chemicals.

‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Natural methods to repel pests. This may include barriers such as row covers to protect plants from insects, organic sprays such as Neem (plant oil) based sprays that repel insects without manmade chemicals, and companion plants, whose natural odor repels various insects.¬†

‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Planting a diverse array of crops to encourage a healthy ecosystem.

‚Äʬ†¬† ¬†Mulching to naturally suppress weeds and decrease evaporation.

What can you grow organically in your garden? Just about anything!  Vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruit trees, even lawn care can be accomplished using good organic gardening practices.

Next week, we'll talk about the ideal place for your organic garden. Whether you live in a tiny apartment or a suburban house, we'll find a spot where you can grow something good.


This week's key takeaways:


‚Äʬ†¬†¬† Organic gardening works with nature to grow plants.

‚Äʬ†¬†¬† Organic gardeners improve the soil using compost, manure and cover crops rather than chemical-based fertilizers.

‚Äʬ†¬†¬† Natural methods of pest control include barriers, companion planting, and natural products and remedies.



About Jeanne Grunert


After a successful 20 year career as a marketing executive, Jeanne Grunert traded in the glamour of New York City and perks like a Starbucks on every corner for a 17 acre organic farm in Virginia.¬† She's a writer, hobby farmer, marketing consultant and entrepreneur, and a frequent contributor to RawPeople. For more gardening tips and a glimpse into life at Seven Oaks, the Grunert's farm, visit her blog at http://sevenoaks-jeanne.blogspot.com/¬†¬† Her gardening book, Get Your Hands Dirty ‚Äď a Beginner's Guide to Gardening, may be purchased from Blurb Press: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/762133

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These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.


Written by:  Jeanne Grunert
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