Friday, March 6, 2009

On Organic Gardening

It is a beautiful Friday evening.  Everyone seems happy with the prospect of weekend in 70 degree weather.  We are talking about golfing, hiking, tennis, biking, running, or any activity that will keep us outside for the weekend, and I can't wait to spend all day in our backyard, get my hands into soil, clean the garden, and sow some early spring vegetables.
When I came home after playing tennis with Tara, my neighbors Mike and Jackie were sitting at their porch with Mike's brother and his wife.  After saying hello back and forth, we were talking about the weather and garden.  Mike's sister-in-law said that she used a weed-killer to a patch of grass because she wants to grow flowers there, and that she didn't look forward to digging the dead patch.  Without thinking much, I replied that's a wrong way to do it. And I regretted the moment I said it.  Who am I to say a certain way is right and other ways are wrong?  I tried to weaken my assertion with a long explanation of what Dan and I did to our grass patch to prepare for a perennial bed, and that we should avoid digging whenever possible because digging is no fun, but I think the damage was already done.  I have spoken my most direct reaction to her "weed killer" by telling that is "wrong".

I understand why many people don't care much about being organic. Organic produce is relatively expensive and many of us can't afford it. Organic gardening sounds like a practice that requires either more money, more work, or both. Really, how much harm would I do by using  chemical pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer in my tiny lot?  What's wrong with my desire to have a picture perfect lawn or nicely ordered flower bed?  Too bad the pesticide will kill bees, ladybugs or other bugs other than the targeted pest.  Too bad the residue of herbicide or chemical fertilizer will wash out and flow down to Chesapeake bay.  Really, how much harm would I do?

When everyone thinks that way and continues the chemical way of gardening and farming, we generate a huge impact on our surrounding and ecosystem in which we live in!  I think the Earth will be far much better without humans living on it.  But then again, who is to judge which is a "better" Earth?  This better version of Earth is also projected from a human perspective.  For our own sake, we need to keep nature the way it works best and minimize the disruption and depletion we bring on it.  The organic way of gardening and farming takes advantage of the nature and lets her work.  Yes, we might need to invest more time and money to get our organic garden started, but once it is established, it is far much easier and cheaper to maintain. 

On this beautiful evening, I am sitting at my desk pondering what I should have said.  I wish I had replied "There is an easier way," and then offered an alternative method if I was asked.   What I would really like is a shared understanding, a shared passion, and a shared action.  I will listen - would you listen to me?

1 comment:

lss said...

I would listen!