How organic?

simonhereSeptember 22, 2010

I am a brand-new gardener with absolutely no experience growing vegetables.

I am grappling with an issue regarding my intended garden in my Oahu backyard.

I have built a 40 square foot raised bed garden with sheet-mulch filler, lots of compost, and a straw cover mulch. Good stuff. No chemical additives. Ready for planting.

I am interested in growing without insecticides or petroleum fertilizers for the good of my soil and the health of my family. I don't care if it meets any offical organic standards.

Given that, how important is it to the health of my soil and the garden itself that my starter seeds and seedlings be strictly organic? I am not seeking any kind of organic certification, and I intend to nurture the plants organically with compost, mulch, etc. Organic is not a religion to me, but it seems to be a common-sense approach to gardening.

Is starting a garden with seeds and seedlings that did not come into this world organically (i.e. seeds from the rack at the hardware store or basil seedlings from Home Depot), going to put my soil or family at risk?

In other words, if a seedling is raised by a nursery to six inches height using Miracle Grow, is the plant forever tainted or can I restore it to wholesome, chemical-free goodness in my garden with compost and care? Does the answer vary whether we are talking about annuals vs. perennials?

Again, I do not care if the vegetables themselves are certifiably organic, but I also do not want my soil to become irreparably tainted.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

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mauirose(11)

i like your common sense approach ; )

As far as i can see the main reason to purchase organically grown seed is to support sustainable, low impact approaches to large scale production-it's more of a global action. Same for non-edible organically grown plants.

Planting something that was fertilized with blue stuff is probably not a big deal. Planting something that was treated with say, Merit, might have more of an effect but still won't hurt your soil, only the beneficial insects that visit your garden.

You are right to look beyond the certification. Just because a product bears the OMRI label doesn't mean it is not a poison.

Feed your soil, invest in row cover. You'll be fine ; )

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:07PM
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johndp8888(Oahu, Hawaii)

You have a thoughtful set of questions and will probably get a wide variety of answers.

There are as many answers to this as there are people out there. The common since approach is to use what you are comfortable with knowing that the plants are the same but may carry residue that you do not want. The problem is whom do you believe and how do you determine what residues do you not want balanced against the yield to be gained.

Do your homework and decide what to believe and do. My opinion is to use the best seeds you can for your area (the University of Hawaii can help), try to find plants that need minimal pesticides green beans and suitable leafy vegs are usually a good bet(organic or not) and good but not too much watering. Excess water makes for plants that are tastier to our insect friends.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 6:47PM
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