11. Four Methods
There are four methods of gardening:
- Natural—This method does not poison the soil, but does deplete it, especially of nitrogen, and its productivity gradually decreases.
- Chemical—This method increases the production the first and second years, at the cost of flavor and nutritional value (lower protein content and higher carbohydrate content) and destruction to the environment. The plants must rely on artificial chemicals to stimulate their growth, and, as time goes on, more and more chemicals are needed and problems increase. Insects mutate and develop resistant strains, the microorganisms and earthworms in the soil are killed by the chemicals, and the farmer or gardener develops neurological diseases from inhaling the sprays or absorption through the skin.
- Organic—This method replenishes the soil, and is the method described and advocated in this lesson, to produce a better-quality crop, without poisoning the food, the environment, or the gardener. The organic gardener uses only organic materials (organized living matter).
- Biodynamic—The term “biodynamic” refers to “working with the energies which create and maintain life.” This method of agriculture uses organic methods, including compost, but also uses herbal preparations to spray the plants and trees. The basic ingredient of the biodynamic spray is a specially-prepared colloidal clay compound. The spray flows into all small cracks and crevices of the plant and forms a protective film, to help in healing minor lesions, but does not interfere with the respiration of the plant. The spray also contains very low percentages of such insecticides as ryania, rotenone, pyrethrum, and quassia, far below customary concentrations, because the spray is not intended as an eradicator. These insecticides are plant extractives, but are not completely harmless, as indicated previously. The recommendation is to wait fourteen days after spraying before harvesting. The biodynamic spray is also available without the insecticides. The biodynamic spray is also said to enable the plants to derive certain nutrients from the atmosphere. This system was originally started by Rudolph Steiner, and developed by Dr. E. E. Pfeiffer. The biodynamic method is more sophisticated, more complicated, and more work than the organic methods described in this lesson. We tried biodynamic methods in Indiana, but found them more difficult and no more productive than simpler organic methods.
An amusing illustration of the difference between natural and organic methods is a story told by Dr. Alec Burton at American Natural Hygiene Society Conventions about a gentleman who came to Yorkshire, England, and took over an extremely dilapidated property. He did a great deal of work on this property, renovating it and getting it into a beautiful condition, and, eventually, people came from miles around to admire and appreciate his garden. One day the local priest came to see it, and said, “What a beautiful garden you have!” The man said, “Yes, it’s been hard work, and I’ve done it all by myself.” “No,” said the priest, “with the help of the Lord.” The man said, “All right—with the help of the Lord, but you should have seen it when he was doing it by himself.”
There is quite a bit of information available for the organic gardener who warns to learn how to get maximum results. How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method by J. I. Rodale and staff (mentioned previously) is an excellent comprehensive reference book, listing practically all varieties of food plants, with detailed planting instructions for each.
For those who want a few simple rules for growing food with a minimum of time and energy, moderate success can be anticipated by simply using organic methods, instead of chemicals; and mulching instead of cultivating and weeding.
- 1. Organic Gardening Is The Counter-Part Of Natural Hygiene
- 2. What Exactly Is Organically-Grown Food?
- 3. Soil Analysis
- 4. Basic Steps To Establish A Successful Garden
- 5. Gardening The Magic Way-With Mulch, Compost, Sea Weed Spray
- 6. Soil Requirements For A Successful Organic Garden
- 7. Approximate Amounts Of Compost, Mulch And Water
- 8. Planting Your Garden
- 9. Insects: Friends And Foes
- 10. The Case Against Commercially-Grown Foods
- 11. Four Methods
- 12. No Space For A Garden?
- 13. Harvest Of Pleasure And Health
- 14. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Vegetable Preferences
- Article #2: Companion Plants
- Article #3: Nitrogen Fixation By John Tobe
- Article #4: pH Preferences Of Some Plants
- Article #5: Dirt Cheap? Nonsense! It’s Vital to Garden
- Article #6: Soil Test Secret To Success By Gene Austin
- Article #7: Pesticides—They’re Killing Bugs—and the Land By Ronald Kotulak
- Article #8: Pesticides—There Are Workable Alternatives To the Dusts, Sprays, and Oils By Joan Jackson
- Article #9: Containing Inhibits ‘Raiders’ By Gene Austin