What Are The Benefits Of Organic Vegetable Gardening?

What are the benefits of organic vegetable gardening? An organic vegetable garden is not only free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, but also yields fruit and vegetables with higher nutritional content. Organic gardening simply makes food taste better.

The biggest thing is the upfront health issue. Obviously, when you are using chemical pesticides that were designed to kill bugs and you are putting them on your food crops, there is a pretty good chance that you will ingest those chemicals. We really don't have any idea what that does to our bodies -- no information to say that these are actually safe to ingest. There is a lot of controversy about that. So the first thing I tell people is if you are eating something, you obviously don't want to spray it with anything and most people are going to agree with that. The other benefits are taste and quality of the fruits and vegetables, and also the nutrition level is going to be higher. The biggest thing that people care about is taste. They don't really care about the pesticides. They figure they can wash them off. They are not really seeing the higher nutritional level, but they do notice the taste. I always ask people, "Aren't your grandma's tomatoes better than what you bought at the grocery store?" And the answer is always yes. In fact, they get kind of defensive. Well, exactly my point. Those conventionally grown, mass-produced tomatoes taste kind of like water compared to home grown tomatoes. So one benefit is the health issue. Another is that the taste is going to be better. If you look at studies that the organic trade association presents, they show how organically grown food contains more vitamin C, more trace minerals and higher nutritional content. You are getting a little bit more bang for your buck when you are eating your vegetables because you are taking in more nutrients. It kind of brings on a whole new re-introduction to nature a little bit when you are doing organic gardening because chemical pesticides keep away all the bugs, so you don't actually get the benefit of seeing the praying mantises and the ladybugs and the lacewings doing their thing. There is a huge enjoyment that I get out of that because I am a naturalist, so I like to watch that sort of thing. When I have customers who have kids and they are doing organic gardening, they would normally would spray and kill a caterpillar if they saw one. But now they have kind of learned that yes, the caterpillar is eating my plant and it is not making it look as aesthetically pleasing, but I am still getting a good crop out of it. And the kids get to see the transition from caterpillar to butterfly or moth and they get to see nature going on a little bit. So organic gardening can get people re-exposed to nature and all the other little tiny worlds that occur in the garden.

I also have customers who really want to spray and kill everything, but they have a butterfly garden too. So if you have a butterfly garden and you are going through all of the trouble to enjoy what's going in your butterfly garden, why can't you do the same thing in your vegetable garden? They do come in and say, "I need to kill this stuff that's on my plants." And my reply is always, "Well, how is your plant working? Is it showing any growth?" And they say, "Oh, yes, it's growing great!" So then I ask, "So why do you need a spray again?"

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