Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Organic Gardening - Why You Should Go Organic

Author: Doug Kroeker
Why Go Organic
Twenty five years ago the thought of organic gardening would have been considered a pretty radical idea. Herbicides and pesticides were considered the gardeners best friend. Without herbicides and pesticides how were gardeners expected to control the weeds, bugs, and animals that may threaten a thriving garden?
But the thing is, for years gardeners have been growing things just fine without the use of chemicals. Early settlers of our land did not have any herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers and they got along just fine.
It only makes sense that we should be able to apply the same principles to get the same results as they did today. We should be able to use the same ingredients as the early settlers used rather than franken chemicals born in a chemist's laboratory.
Organic gardening goes way beyond lack of chemicals in our vegetables and fruit and the benefits for us and our families. There has been a great rise in the interest of ecology and concern about the environment that has bred new life to this form of gardening. By using natural materials, such as kitchen and garden scraps a gardener can create compost and fertilize the garden naturally. Taking advantage companion planting and natural predators the home gardener can manage pest control and maintain an organic garden quite easily.
There are many advantages to gardening organically. Vegetables and fruit produced using organic method tastes better, have more vitamins and minerals and have none of the cancer causing chemicals in them. It is simply more nourishing and more healthful.
Organic or Non Organic, What's the Difference
In 2001, the British organization, The Soil Association, reported that a comprehensive review of existing research revealed significant differences between organically and non-organically grown foods. These differences relate to food safety, primary nutrients, secondary nutrients and the health outcomes of the people who eat organically.
Vitamin C and dry matter contents are higher, on average, in organically grown crops then they are in non-organic crops. Mineral contents are also higher, on average, in organically grown crops. Food grown organically contains substantially higher concentrations of antioxidants and other health promoting compounds than crops produced with pesticides.
Most people who decide to start organic gardening report that the enjoyment they receive is paramount to their decision to go the route of no-chemicals in favor of the all-natural route. Many people like to watch the tender new growth come to full maturity and, as a bonus, you get to eat it!
When you start organic gardening, you get extra fresh vegetables. Naturally grown corn on the cob and newly picked green beans are especially noticeable, but nothing compares to vine ripened organically grown tomato. When you take your first bite of an organically grown tomato it's something you won't forget and you will never want a commercially grown tomato again.
This trait extends to all vegetables you grow yourself when you go the organic method. A phenomenon noted by most people when harvesting their very first vegetables from their very first garden is that everyone eats much more of a given vegetable than they would of a similar commercial variety.
Save Money and Make Some Extra Cash
You will not only save money by growing your own fruit and vegetables, but you can even make a little extra cash on the side by selling your own all-natural foods that are so popular in the grocery stores these days. If you know how to can tomatoes you can you can take what extra you have to the farmer's market and sell your organic tomatoes or homemade salsa to others who don't have the advantage of having their own garden.
If you don't know how to can fruit and vegetables don't worry, there are many books covering canning and preserving along with some great canning and preserving recipes.
For a gardener who still isn't convinced about the need to garden organically, here are some statistics that may help change your mind. In March of 2001, the American Cancer Society published a report linking the use of the herbicide glyphosate (commonly sold as Round-up) with a 27% increased likelihood of contracting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
John Hopkins University also revealed that home gardeners use almost 10 times more pesticide per acre than the average farmer and that diseases caused by environmental illness, exposure to chemicals etc., is now the number one cause of death in the U.S. With the EPA's recent phasing out of common pesticides such as Dursban and Diazinon, we are now realizing that many of the chemicals that we thought were "safe" were never actually tested to see what their affect on children, women, and the elderly could be. The time has come to reassess our dependence on herbicides and pesticides.
What Does Growing Organic Mean
You might wonder what exactly organic gardening means. The simple answer to that is organic gardeners don't use pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers on their plants. But gardening organically is much more than what you don't do.
When you garden organically, you should think of your fruit and vegetables as part of a whole system within nature that starts in the soil and includes the water supply, people, wildlife and even insects. An organic gardener strives to work in harmony with natural systems and to minimize and continually replenish any resources the garden consumes.
Basically organic gardening operates on the concept of recycling. You use kitchen scraps, garden waste and animal waste, to mulch and compost. You can use common household items like vinegar, soap and some garlic and hot pepper concoctions to prevent pests and newspaper and mulch to prevent weeds.
Organic growers rely on developing a healthy, fertile soil and growing a mixture of crops. Genetically modified (GM) crops and ingredients are not allowed under organic standards.
Organic gardening is the merging together of plants and soil allowing the Earth to naturally bear what it was made to do. The plants and the soil are one working together to provide food and nourishment not only to humans but to animals and organisms as well.
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About the Author
Doug enjoys gardening and writing. You can view his website at

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Well that didn't turn out well (pun intended)

We planned our annual trip to Lehmans this weekend. We like to go once a year, usually for our anniversary or Tanya's birthday. I have been planning since I moved back to this old farm to replace the leathers in the old hand pump out in front of the house.

The pump worked when I was a kid and I miss the old days of drinking the cold black sulfur water. I also wanted another backup water supply. My dad said he remembered changing them out when he was young. They used a rope on a tripod and another rope wrapped around the pipe to keep it from falling back into the well casing. I called him and asked if he would help after work on Friday. And I had planned on taking pics to put on here. But he came over early and he was working on it already with my mom and Tanya.

When I got here they had the old ford tractor backed up to the pump and they were using the 3pt lift to raise the pump and then wrapping a chain around the pipe to stop it from falling back down the well. They had just broken the pipe at a junction about 3 feet below the pump when I pulled up. We decided to continue since the cylinder was "only 10 or so feet down".

After the pipe broke we unhooked the pump rod and lifted the heavy pump up and off the rod. (that was an adventure in itself) Then we started pull up the pipe with the lift on the tractor. we'd get about 3 feet every lift and then rewrap the chain to keep it up. after several times we had about 20 feet of pipe sticking up in the air and no cylinder in sight. A few more lifts and there was the cylinder right at the top of the casing. we rewrapped the pipe and started to lift and...shhhhhhhhhhhsplash... the cylinder broke off at the threads and the 30 foot pump rod still hooked to the cylinder dropped to the bottom of the well. BUMMER...

Well at least I got a 30 foot section of rusty pipe out of the deal. I dropped a fishing line with a sinker down to see how deep it is and the nearest I can figure is that the rod is a good 6 feet below the top of the casing.

 We ended up going to Lehmans anyway. If you go they have move their close out section into an outlet store across the parking lot. Be sure to hit it first so you can save some $$$ if they happen to have what you are looking for there. Then we ate at a Chinese Buffet in Wooster since Tanya was craving lo mien.(it was eh...)

Still clinging to my God and my guns, Randy