I’ve been an organic gardener for ages now, and I like to joke that I started gardening organically because I was just lazy and didn’t want to go to the trouble of using a bunch of products. But over the years, I’ve become more and more committed to the ideals of organic gardening because I see the real value in it.
But, that begs the question – who is the modern-day organic gardener? Organic gardeners used to be thought of as hippies and health nuts from the 1960s and 1970s, but that image is far removed from the reality today. While organic gardeners span both genders and all ages, they have some very distinct traits in common.
A desire for better health. With allergies and illness concerns, organic gardeners seek to create the healthiest environments for themselves and their families. Creating gardens without pesticides and chemicals is one way they address this.
A need to save money. Organic product is vastly more expensive than traditionally grown fruits and vegetables, so gardeners find a way to grow their own and save some money. By cutting out costly herbicides and pesticides with their edibles and ornamentals, gardeners use that money to invest in the plants themselves and the health of the soil.
A value of safety. Organic gardeners look to create layers of safety from their bodies to their families and surrounding communities. Gardening without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is one way that gardeners have of making the world around them a better place.
A desire for control. Talk to anyone these days and it becomes clear that there is a strong sense that our food is coming from sources that we can’t trust. From eggs that come from commercial hatcheries to edibles whose genetics have been tampered with in ways we don’t understand, gardeners grow their own organic produce to eliminate some doubt in their minds.
Jenny Peterson is an Austin, Texas-based garden designer with her own firm, J. Peterson Garden Design, as well as a writer, author and speaker. She specializes in designing, writing and speaking about gardens that enhance the quality of life, heal from the inside out and help to create balance and wellness.