Organic gardening - more practical for small areas?

paulsiu(5a)May 16, 2011

Recently, I attempt to find ways of adding iron. One idea was greensand, but application of my suburban lawn would cost like $500. I was wondering if more people in the city practice organic gardening because the areas is smaller and the increase cost and material doesn't matter as much?

Paul

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Iron is a micro nutrient that is seldom deficient in soils although it may not be available to plants because of other soil problems, ie. soil pH. What makes you think it necessary to add that much Greensand to your soil?
Many of us got into organic gardening because we found that we could make good, healthy soils without spending much of our limitied cash by utilizing readily available materials already on hand, materials many others consider waste and throw away.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 6:20AM
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paulsiu(5a)

The soil test result said to add iron and some of the plants have green veins with yellow leaves, but that's not the point of the post. I was in the garden store in Evanston and notice that it was a lot easier to find stuff on organic gardening and native plant. In the mean time, most of my suburban neighbors (except for one) have lawn services who probably spray everything.

I am curious if there are a lot of more organic people in the city than in the suburbs. It's a lot easier to spray a bit of chemical on a larger lawn than spreading several cubic yard of compost.

Paul

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:03AM
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gardengal48

I lived many years in a very urban environment and recently moved to a rather rural area. I don't find the difference in attitudes between organic versus non-organic gardening practices very significant with the two locations. If anything, my new rural neighbors are perhaps more focused towards organic gardening because a) they grow a lot more edibles than the city folks, and b) they tend to be a lot more hands-on with their garden. My urban clients - usually with more disposable income - often hired out all landscape work, including even routine lawn maintenance. And the companies that provide these services seem to be behind the times AFA organic practices are concerned, likely cuz it's faster and cheaper to spray and go and volume is how they make money.

9 out of 10 clients who consult with me re: their gardens ask for organic solutions. In an area that is much more blue collar than my former location and with very likely less of a formal education behind them, I find that to be very encouraging.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 8:52AM
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jolj(7b/8a)

gardengal48, help me understand this.
I know that fertilizers that are synthetic, can add salts to your kitchen garden, not that you would have a big build up , but some.
With micro nutrients like iron, sulfur & copper, they are organic chemicals?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 7:06PM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

I know many organic farmers, larger acreage, that started organic farming because they felt the use of the synthetic fertilizers and insect and disease controls were not only harmful to the environment but to them as well and they have found that, except for labor costs, most everything can cost less then comparable synthetics.
There are synthetic forms of those micronutritents available as well as natural which would be what an organic gardener/farmer would look for.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 7:16AM
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gardengal48

jolj - it depends on how literally you define organic :-)

Iron, copper and sulfur are minerals, so to be extremely literal, they are NOT organic or from carbon based sources. But they ARE naturally occurring. And they are certainly acceptable products or soil additives for a organic gardener as long as they are provided for via a natural or non-manufactured/synthesized source.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:38AM
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candogal(5b)

I don't think it's about large vs. small properties, I think it's part of landscape design concepts. I live in a small NE town that's rural and very wooded, but in the 11 years I've lived here, it's becoming more suburbanized. As houses sell, forest often gets cut down and lawns get put in.

Seems like folks want a certain "look" - large areas of grass. They don't seem to spend as much time on shrubs and perennials, and there's almost never a veggie garden. And foundation plantings are often way too close to the house - I wince when I think what it's going to look like 5-10+ years later. I've read a book or two about the history of landscape design, and it's interesting to me that this look very much goes along with the rise in the US of the suburb. It's what most folks expect to see in the suburbs.

And "everyone knows" how to take care of grass (conventionally) - you de-thatch it, fertilize it and all that stuff. Most people like to just keep doing what they know - that's human nature. OG practices also take some knowledge. You can't go to a big box store, buy a bag, and dump it on. (Well, you could, but then it's expensive, like you said.) You can be much cheaper if you have some knowledge.

When I lived in a huge city, the focus wasn't on the lawn, maybe because they were pretty small. The way to make your property stand out wasn't a huge swath of green, it was attractive plantings. It's always seemed to me that it's not as big a mental shift to go from conventional to OG for shrubs and perennials.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:21PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

Is organic gardening more practical in small areas?...rather than large areas.

Well, I believe it is easier in small areas rather than large acreages. Healthy organic gardening requires a lot of manual inputs.....composts, mulches, organic fertilizer, hand weeding, insect plucking, cover crops, green crops, and cultivation perhaps.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:14PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day paul,

organic gadening/farmig is how you grow your plants and is not governed by size of growing area. trace elements not always easy to replace that is why we do some rotational plantings, and in our case we feed the medium with kitchen scraps and an ever recycling program of green mulching, which adds as it breaks down.

for us organic is not using man made or chemical fertilisers or spray applications. in some instances we might use some natural pyrethrum.

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:29PM
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