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How organic is your garden?

  • Subject: [cg] How organic is your garden?
  • From: "Jim Call" <jimcall@casagarden.com>
  • Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 22:56:47 -0600
  • Importance: Normal

To All:
One of the many decisions we have in relocating our community garden is to
go "organic" or not.  In the past, I have tried every year to go more
organic.  Next spring, I thought we could go full bore and go organic, but I
have small problem.

We have a sponsor who donates both organic fertilizers and pest control, so
this is not a monetary related decision.

The problem is... we extensively mulch our garden from the City of
Huntsville's leaf collection program.  We use 2 year old mulch to completely
mulch our garden.  I'm forecasting at least 10 dump truckloads of leaf mulch
to be used next year (soil preparation and mulching).  Even though we use
organic fertilizers and pest management, the use of the mulch will disallow
us to state the fact that "Yes, we operate an organic garden".  You see,
because we don't know if the collected leaves have been sprayed with any
toxic chemicals or the yards where they orginate have been sprayed with
toxic chemicals (fertilizers, weed killers, etc.), that is the problem.  You
are either completely organic or you are not.  One or the other.

I never heard anyone say "Yes, we are 95 % organic".  Thats like someone
saying, "I feel that since I only smoke 1 cigarette a day, I'm 95 %
smoke-free".  Yeah, right!

Every year, many of our volunteers ask me "Is this an organic garden?".  I
reply, "No, it is not, but we are making efforts to go more in that
direction."  Then I explain how.

After my explanation, I ask them "Do you eat vegetables and fruits from your
local supermarket?".  They look at me (with a really puzzled look) and
"Yes".  My reply to them is "Well, you are eating pesticides".  End of
discussion (typically, we do not have many organic-only sections in our

Please give me your views on my tainted-with-chemicals leaf mulch problem or
any other organic discussion and/or advice.

                          Best regards,  Jim Call, CASA Community Garden
Volunteer Director

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