Good Question. Organic gardening is about working with, not against, the natural ecosystems of your garden. The main foundation of that ecosystem is your soil.
Some Basic Ideas of Organic Gardening:
- Building the soil with materials that come from living things and that wont damage, but instead feed, the ecosystem within the soil: leaves, manure, compost made from food scraps and straw, etc.
- Preventing pests, diseases and weeds with methods that have little impact on the ecosystem of the garden. Chemical pesticides can kill beneficial insects that are keeping things in balance in the garden, causing potentially destructive infestations in the long run. Chemical herbicides can harm the soil and desirable plants.
- Fertilizing the plants with materials that come from living things that won’t damage the soil; fish emulsion, manure tea and compost will feed your plants during the growing season along with the nutrients provided by the living things in your healthy soil. Chemical fertilizers are harsh and toxic to the soil and will damage it in the long run.
- Very importantly, chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers can be toxic to humans and pets.
FYI - In 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture defined “organic farming” this way: “A production system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetically compounded fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and live-stock feed additives. To the maximum extent feasible, organic farming systems rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, legumes, green manures, off-farm organic wastes, mechanical cultivation, mineral-bearing rocks, and aspects of biological pest control to maintain soil productivity and tilth, to supply plant nutrients and to control insects, weeds, and other pests.”