Organic is confusing. There I said it. You see Organic Certified, Made from Organic Ingredients and varying percentages of Organic splashed all over packaging. Which is the right choice? Is one SO much better than the other it’s worth more? What about growing food at home? What about this process renders food organic? Or does it? Well here’s your answer….. It depends. HA! What’s the difference between organic and non-organic foods?

The difference between organic and conventional food has to do with how food is produced. Foods labeled organic are generally produced without:

·         Synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Organic farmers may still use natural pesticides approved for organic food production.

·         Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)

·         Antibiotics or growth hormones

·         Irradiation or ionizing radiation (a food preservation method)  

When growing at home consider what is most important to you and your family. If you are looking for 100% organic you need to start in the soil, yes even dirt can be organic. Some soil will be treated with synthetic fertilizers so be sure to check the packaging.

Then come the seeds. Organic seeds come from organic plants, it’s as simple as that. They are not genetically modified and have not in their short lives been exposed to pesticides.

The last is to me the most important. The use of chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers. Throughout the growing process, as gardeners we have a choice on how to deal with various problems as they arise. Choosing an organic fertilizer such sea compost, bone meal or organic sheep manure are great ways to add nutrients to the soil. Introducing positive pest control methods such as lady bugs to aphids or encouraging nearby birds with a feeder and bath can do wonders in controlling tomato worms or aphids. Products such as Diatomaceous Earth will make short work of many veggie loving bugs & slugs. Ensuring proper air flow, clean garden rows and regular pruning will reduce the occurrence of blights such as powdery mildew and black spot.

In harvesting your plants, you will by proxy avoid one inorganic method through preservation. From earth to table ensures your plants do not need to be treated for a longer shelf life. You may end up with more than you can eat before it spoils, but that’s what canning is for.

No matter what “level” of organic you’re trying to achieve you can rest assured that growing your own feed is a healthy choice for both you and your family.