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I love Gardening, but What do I need for basic Organic Vegetable Gardening?

This had been a question that I had asked myself ever since I returned from my time in the Navy. There was not much organic food on board ship, unless you count frozen vegetables. I always wondered though, because the company that sold the military our food, was the lowest bid with the best “perceived” value.

Have you wondered also what is in the produce at your local grocery store?

I have known many grocers, I was one after I started my own grocery store 10 miles from the Canadian border in 1980. I wanted to ensure that I only sold the best produce, and the best food. After all, I was surrounded by people that usually grew their own food. That is where I started researching “Organic” Farming and Gardening.

I went to the county extension agent, as well as a local college. I also talked to quite a few gardeners and farmers who were doing their best to produce good healthy food.

Organic food: Organic refers to the way agricultural products and foods are grown and processed. Organic production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers.

To maintain the integrity of the final product, organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation.

  • Don’t use synthetic pesticides, herbicides and soil fumigants.
  • Don’t use genetic engineering
  • Don’t use sewage sludge as fertilizer
  • Do improve the quality and fertility of the soil
  • Do protect water quality
  • Do reduce soil erosion
  • Do rely on natural biological systems for pest and weed control
  • Do reduce the impact of agriculture on our environment
  • Do produce high quality, great tasting food

You may find the word “natural” grown foods, but that is not the same.

There has been quite a few changes in the requirements over the years, but to break it down into what you need for a Basic Organic Vegetable Gardening plan is simple. Let me help you with what I learned.

You need land to grow on that is not impacted by other properties or roadways to the point where pesticides,herbicides and soil fumigants have the ability to infiltrate your crops. You should also know the history of the land if possible. You can have your soil tested locally, contact your local County Agriculture Extension Agent. A great resource for great Organic Vegetable Gardening is The University of Florida .  Information is provided by James M Stephens a professor of Horticulture Science Dept. and the Cooperative Extension Service.

Now that you have a safe place and good soil to start your Organic Vegetable Gardening Journey, It is time to Choose your compost. Alpaca manure is a very good source for compost. You will need to learn how to properly prepare your material for compost so that it will be beneficial food for your plants.

Seeds! Yes, I prefer heirloom seeds, which means that they have been gathered and saved for at least 50 years. Which means the fruit of the vine has been proven.

Containers to grow in or the ground to be prepped and readied for your crops!

Good quality water for your plants

 Time and energy to enjoy the process. As well as diligence in selecting many various items that conform to the Organic standards. It is well worth the effort!


So now that I have hopefully not overwhelmed you,
“let me break it down with a short cut list:”

  • Protected growing site.
  • Great Organic soil
  • Great Organic compost
  • Seeds of your choice
  • Good Quality water
  • Time and energy.

I suppose that I could have just given you the short list without all of the facts, but your health and enjoyment of the food you are going to eat yourself, as well as family, friends and even possibly customers is important to me.

Since I have chosen to get back to what I love doing, my passion, being a Caretaker of people and the Land, not only has my life improved tremendously, so has my health. I have been and continue to be blessed by many new friends that have become my Chosen Family!

That is why I am so looking forward to being able to answer your questions and help you build the Life you have always Dreamed of. Having a Great Organic Vegetable Garden is a great way to meet people and make a difference in your community!

If you would like to tell us a story about your experience in Farming or Gardening Organically, I would love to hear it. If you have questions that I can answer those are welcomed also!

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Have a great Growing Year!

Chris Downs

The Caretaker