Why all this fuss about organic?…What does it really mean?… (Part 1)

violet-leaf“Gardening according to ‘organic’ principles focuses on caring for the soil at all times.” (Irmela Reichardt)

The more natural the manners in which plants have been grown, the more ‘organic’ the vegetables, herbs, flowers, fruits are that we harvest.

Up until the 1940’s, gardeners and farmers were organic by default. Soil fertility was maintained by applying recycling organic matter and manure to the soil. Crop rotation was practised, including a year for the soil to lay fallow (nothing is planted on the soil).

These natural methods began to change when naturalist and scientist Justus von Liebich (1803-1873) published an essay in which he wrote that the primary requirements of living plants were to be found in the mineral salts present in the plants ashes (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium). His theory was that if enough of these minerals were fed to plants, their yield would be greater. This would mean that more people could be fed and there would be less hunger.

With this theory, Justus von Liebich laid the foundation for modern day agriculture and horticulture.

Next week…The “Green Revolution”

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