Unless you have been living under a rock, you are no doubt familiar with the benefits of organic gardening. Environmentally friendly and healthy to boot...how is it we haven’t all jumped on this bandwagon?! Well, to begin with, traditional gardens take space. Prime dirt space which may not be an option for folks living in apartments or certain types of rental properties. Another thing is a lot of people think it’s like, work or something to have a garden. And, (surprise!) the main thing keeping people from starting their own organic garden is--you guessed it--they think it is too costly. They could not be further from the truth. You can begin your organic garden for practically the same start-up cost as a regular garden. Seriously.
Walk into your local grocery store and the first thing you see is the produce section. It is always front and center. Why? Because even stuffy corporate types know that everyone WANTS to be healthy. The rub is a lot of people consider being healthy a luxury. Something only those with “expendable income” get to enjoy. Especially the organic foods. Everyone knows they come at a premium. It’s not entirely clear (to me, at least) why. They are only growing fruits and veggies the way our ancestors did. It should be cheaper to get organic stuff...but, but, grrrrr. You can’t see it, but I’m ranting, just not on paper...or computer...whatever. I think if you grow something without the betterment of anything else it shouldn’t cost as much. But that’s just me. Oh, well. Things are the way they are. It does cost more. That’s the very reason why too many people grab their carts and stroll right past the only healthy section of the store without a second glance. I’ve been guilty of that myself. Too many times more than I’d like to admit.
So, what would it take to get off the dependence of grocery stores and start your own organic garden? Well, first thing we need to look at is what kind of space you have. That will determine what and how much you will be able to grow for yourself. Let’s start with those of you in urban areas with little or no outdoor space. While you may not be able to grow the same things as someone with a full yard, you can still grow plenty of things on your own. You can grow items such as herbs and some smaller veggies and you can still save some pennies. Check out this site for some great ideas and tips on organic windowsill herbs. With a small balcony or patio you could even have a little something extra. Fresh organic herbs can be some of the priciest items out there, so even if this is all you do, you will be saving yourself a bundle in the long run. And if you have space for for a larger garden your options open up significantly. In addition to an organic windowsill herb garden, you can cultivate larger vegetables throughout the year.
One thing we should stop and talk about it this whole organic labeling. Even if you only do a windowsill unit, to be “officially organic” you need to meet certain criteria. Whether you are doing a small herb garden outside your kitchen window or a large ten plant garden in your backyard, you need the right ingredients. A main component comprising the right ingredients is organic soil. You may think that it is more expensive than regular gardening soil, but the price is very comparable. Take one of the more popular brands, Miracle Gro. Their organic option is not only a good value because of its similar price to the regular formula, but it also acts as an organic fertilizer. And as you can see, prices for organic seeds are not much more than their (possibly) chemical-laden cousins. Once your organic seedlings begin to sprout, your going to want them to grow without incident. That’s where your organic pest control devices come into play.
For many of you, ladybugs will be a sufficient pest deterrent. They love aphids and many other insects. Who would’ve thought those cute little things were so brutal? Ladybugs (which are really beetles) got their name during the Middle Ages when they would eat the bugs that were devouring crops and were referred to by farmers as “The beetles of Our Lady”. That was eventually shortened to ladybug, and hence Francis was born. I’ll never watch A Bug’s Life the same way again. For those of you who have a larger garden or who just want more than a bouncer the size of, well, a bug, you may want to consider a chicken or duck. They love insects and slugs and are a perfect addition to an authentic organic garden environment. They can also be purchased for a minimum price and, as an added bonus, are personable enough for many to consider them pets! Imagine that! Doing good for the environment, your health and your well being. **Not to mention giving a good home to a cute chick
Wow. I never ever got to my second point, which honestly is the least defensible. Having no time for a garden is like saying you have no time to cook a meal. Once the initial setup is finished, the upkeep is minimal. Theoretically, you only need to check on it once every few days to make sure everything is okay. In reality, you will baby it more than you thought possible--and that’s a good thing. It is. Enjoy the fresh air. A few hours away from Facebook (if you’re into that) will do you some good. And before any of you comment that I’m just a tree-hugger, I’m not. At all. I just remember the joys of being outdoors before we got sucked into the greatest bane of our time--the internet (yes, I know I’m on it now...Don’t judge me!!). I also know when a good bargain can be rolled over into a useful hobby when I see one. Happy Organic Gardening.