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Council Bluffs, IA
Organic Gardening Guide
You crave a connection to the earth. You're feeling the need to turn
By Lisa James
One of the hot trends of the early seventies (along with way too much polyester) was the great back-to-the-land movement, which saw the children of plasticized suburbia donning overalls, moving to the country and living self-sufficiently off the (low) fat of the land. That’s when the notion of organic gardening—which uses natural methods to enhance soil, control weeds and restrain pests—really took off.
Today, organic growing has gone thoroughly mainstream, and plenty of suburban nine-to-fivers fit a spot of gardening into their busy schedules. You’ve been thinking about grabbing a hoe yourself, but don’t know where and how to begin. Well, with just a little bit of land and the basic information that follows, you’ll develop the proverbial green thumb (and you won’t even need overalls).
Planning Your Peas and Peppers
Eager as you may be to get digging, restrain your enthusiasm for just a moment. The biggest mistake beginners make is planting way more than they can care for—you don’t want the jewel of your April eye turning into a weedy, out-of-control eyesore by August. That’s why a little planning now can save you a lot of headaches later.
Your Green Garden
Living the organic life starts right in your own backyard
For many people, spring doesn’t start until they plant a garden. Some are drawn to the peace they experience with their hands in the soil, while others take pride in a beautifully landscaped yard overflowing with flowers. But for many gardeners it’s all about the vegetables: tender baby carrots, sun-ripened tomatoes, perfectly sweet melons.
Organic cultivation—growing vegetables, flowers and other plants without synthetic herbicides and pesticides—is an increasingly popular option among gardeners.
Going organic goes beyond concerns about personal or environmental health. “Pest control using pesticides tends to poke holes in your garden’s ecosystem by completely removing vast numbers of organisms and upsetting a critical natural balance those organisms create,” says master gardener Edward C. Smith, author of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible (Storey Publishing). “A balanced ecological approach not only works better but it’s also less work.”
If you have always wanted to try organic gardening but wasn’t sure where to start, turn the page for some basic suggestions. ...