Deep Organic Gardening — Good for Your Garden, Good for Your Budget!


I'm sure that many Mother readers are familiar with Eliot Coleman's work. Coleman has been a leading voice in not only organic agriculture, but also increasing the power of local food systems by helping farmers and gardeners learn how to grow food year-round, even in the nation's most frigid climates.

I've taken many of Coleman's lessons to heart. We grow lettuce, spinach, mache, kale, and other greens in low tunnels through the cold Michigan winters, thanks to Coleman's advice. We're planning on constructing at least one high tunnel to enclose two of our largest raised beds this fall for additional off-season growing. And, of course, everything in our garden is grown organically.

But the piece of Coleman's advice that I am most fond of is how to be a "deep organic" gardener. It marries nature, gardening, and frugality (three of my favorite things) in one beautiful concept.

What Does "Deep Organic" Mean? 

Deep organic, at its simplest, means that you bring as few off-site inputs into your garden as possible. You don't buy some granular organic fertilizer for your tomatoes; you give them plenty of compost instead. You don't buy cypress mulch; you use the leaves that fell from your maple tree to mulch your garden. It requires us to think about our gardens and the waste we produce, rather than go out and buy some potion in a bottle (even if that potion happens to be an organic one.) It takes the money out of the hands of giant corporations who sell "organic" garden brands right next to their conventional brands and leaves it in our pockets.

How I Practice Deep Organic Gardening 

kelly carroll
6/9/2012 12:57:43 PM

I want to know the simplest way to start composting... I have three kids who require a lot of attention, animals galore, and not a whole lot of assistance in my projects. I want to compost but dont know where to start without buying expensive tumblers or needing a two man crew to build something. what kitchen scraps are not allowed to be composted??? Help:o)

Leanne Wells
5/29/2012 3:10:16 PM

Ok. Wanna know how much I HATR squash bugs? I hate them this much: I MASH them with my bare fingers. Then I search out their carefully laid rows of eggs on my beloved squash plant leaves. THESE are reserved for special torture. I pop them between my thumbnails like litte pimples! Rejoicing all the time! Is that seriously sick, or just gloriously organic?

Bob Knack
11/29/2011 8:13:15 PM

Worms, worms, worms....Nature's wonder. As with you, nothing in our house goes to waste.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters