Organic Food, Grow Your Own
So you want to grow your own organic food? In this brief video clip, Patrick Holden, Director of the Soil Association, gives some valuable advice on how to start.
Mr Holden recommends that for anyone interested in organic food generally, one of the most important steps is to start growing organic food in your own garden. There is a surprising range of staple vegetable crops from potatoes to spinach, broccoli to courgettes, that can be grown in rotation within a small plot, even container pots and window boxes. There are several courses available for those wanting help on how to start growing organic food, including ones run by the Soil Association.
An important consideration is where can you buy organic seeds. There is now a good range of organic seed suppliers or alternatively Garden Organic has a special project on ‘Heritage Seeds’ where those interested can buy or swap seeds that are derived from fruit and vegetables originating from the Victorian era.
The commonly asked question, ‘How do I get rid of Pests from my Garden’, is also covered. Mr Holden acknowledges that ridding the garden of pests is challenging, but through rotating crops, vigilance and good management it can be achieved through simple means. He uses the examples of snails and slugs (prevalent pests in this country). An early morning or evening visit to the garden will enable the gardener to simply pick them off. Alternatively creating a ‘bran trap’ under a stone will attract the pests to one area where they can be disposed of in whatever way the gardener sees fit.
For more specific information on pest and disease control, Mr Holden recommends Garden Organic (a national charity promoting Organic Growing) which provides advice as well as supplies products to target specific problems.
The final question posed is whether organic food is better for us than non-organic. According to Mr Holden, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that crops produced organically are nutritionally superior.
One of the main reasons for this is that the use of nitrogen based fertilisers directly and adversely affects the fertility and biology of the soil, and thus directly affects the trace elements, vitamins and minerals within the soil. Given that these trace elements and minerals are vital for the plant crop in terms of health and nutrition, if they are reduced in any way, the result is a plant less healthy and less nutritionally sound. Mr Holden believes that the FSA (Food Standards Agency) is reluctant to accept this perspective because of the huge implications it has for conventional farming.
Filed under: Organic Lifestyle
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