[Market-farming] gardening 101

Nan Johnson nan at olemiss.edu
Wed May 25 18:17:52 EDT 2005

Having done a number of gardening 101 intro talks, I would also suggest as a 
reference Start with Soil by Grace Gershuny - it is a fantastic intro to 
organic/sustainable soil management for gardeners - the best I have seen in 
13 years of reading.  If out of print, I bet one could find it through 
internet used book stores.

If you are talking to folks who already garden and who want to try organic 
gardening, and it's a short talk, I simply make two points and then lots of 

1) If it is good for the earthworm, it's good for your garden (and the 

2) Gardening with chemical fertilizers is like feeding a human thru an 
intravenous solution; gardening organically is like eating a meal of whole 
foods -which do you want? This gets into feeding the soil food web versus 
using 13-13-13 and no organic matter, etc.   When extension used to say to 
me, "Hey a nitrogen molecule is a nitrogen molecule and the plant doesn't 
know the difference" then I pull out the ole soil food web and say, "But the 
earthworm sure does>"   You know, "Feed the soil, not the plant" mantra.

Oh yes, and a third point, NEVER LEAVE YOUR SOIL BARE - always, always give 
a "blanket" (this brings in cover crops, green maures, mulch, sheet 
composting, even just newspapers, etc. - the whole organic matter thing!

It is a challenge to communicate that organic gardening is NOT just about 
using "organic" pesticides rather than "chemical" pesticides.

'nuff said.......nan at dancing goats farm, n. mississippi, zone 7b
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Pat Meadows" <pat at meadows.pair.com>
To: "Market Farming" <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 3:29 PM
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] gardening 101

> On Wed, 25 May 2005 16:13:21 EDT, you wrote:
>>the importance of farming organically would be a great place to start
> Add to that:  the importance of eating *local* food and a
> little bit about 'food miles', and how they use diminishing
> oil resources plus contribute to global warming.  I'd print
> up the 'Ten Reasons to Eat Local Food' and give each student
> a copy. It's in several places on the web, notably at the
> Growing For Market site.....Eat local food, change the
> world!
> If I were giving a talk to beginners, I would advise them to
> start SMALL.  Better to have success the very first time and
> come back for more then to feel like a failure and give it
> up in disgust.
> I'd also give out a reading list, for the (probably) few who
> would actually read books about it.  I would include Mel
> Bartholomew's 'Square Foot Gardening', and Nancy Bubel's
> 'The New Seed Starter's Handbook'.
> Pat
> -- 
> ContainerSeeds.com - vegetable, herb, fruit, and edible
> flower seeds for successful container growing.
> http://www.containerseeds.com
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