Organic Soil

Planning aside, the first issue to address in setting up your home organic garden would be the issue of soil. Now, you can simply use the soil in your backyard, improving on it and/or bringing in bags of soil as needed. But that assumes a lot, presuming you’re trying to grow organic vegetables and fruits.

However, this begs the question: if your back lawn or garden has ever been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, those toxins are likely still there to some degree, and you’d be planting organic seeds in an environment in which they could be accessing toxins through water and soil — certainly not an "organic" environment.

Years ago, I had the lucky occasion to speak at length with a certified organic dairy farmer. Curious — you don’t often get an opportunity like this — I asked him what the procedure was for obtaining an organic certification. While this was particular to a dairy farm, it was enlightening. First, he noted that not all inspectors stuck to the same criteria … some were easier and others strict. In his case, the thing that stuck out for me was that the inspector walked the land, approaching the fences bounding his acreage to determine whether pesticides from adjacent farms might be blown across the fence to his land.

So, that gives us some information for our organic gardens. Since plants suck up water, including whatever elements might be in the soil surrounding them (including contaminants), it’s important to ensure that, as far as possible, the soil we use is clean.

For me, the easiest way around this is to purchase organic soil. If you’ve never seen it, it compares to "regular" potting soil in the same way that conventional food compares with organic. And, as they say that the proof is in the pudding, I’ve found that our houseplants do exceedingly well with it — they practically sit up and say, "Hello ma’am"! And they look stronger and more stable.

So, that would be my best recommendation: organic soil. And if you’re going to spread eggshells around, save your organic eggshells for that purpose.

Because, while there’s little in life like locally grown vegetables and fruits, consider what they’d be like if they were actually organic! <grin>

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