Skip to main content  
  Helping the environment one joke at a time, Grinning Planet. Click to go to home page. flying letter; click to go to signup page for free email version
Get GP free
via email !

Good Organic Gardening Tips

Gardening without chemicals is good; organic gardening tips will make it possible!

Good Organic Gardening Tips for Vegetables, Lawns, and Flowers

We admit that "Death By Chocolate" will be our chosen exit strategy if the evening news one day announces that a killer asteroid is about to obliterate the planet. But until then, our chosen approach to keep our food choices healthy: We eat mostly whole (unprocessed) foods, with plenty of it eaten raw (e.g. salads); we emphasize local food to maximize freshness; and we eat organic whenever possible.

You too may already be an organic shopper—perhaps you were convinced by Grinning Planet articles on topics like pesticide residue in food or health benefits of organic food. If you are also a gardener, we're here today to suggest ways you can go organic there too.

Our guest author is Fern Marshall Bradley, co-editor of The Reader's Digest's All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening. She provides some good organic gardening tips for green-thumbs and newbies alike, all designed to save you money on your lawn and garden expenditures.

~    ~    ~

Go Organic to Shrink Your Gardening Budget
by Fern Marshall Bradley

Saving the earth and protecting children and pets from dangerous chemicals are the reasons most gardeners cite for giving up pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, but guess what? Making the switch to organic gardening methods will save you money too! Here are six examples of how going organic will put money back in your pocket.

1. Plant veggies, spend less on doctor bills.

A recent article by a Texas research biochemist summarizes some bad news: many scientific studies show that the vitamin picture of man in backyard garden content of fresh fruits and vegetables is on the decline. That's alarming, because fresh produce should be an important source of vitamins and minerals in our diets. Without them, we're more vulnerable to getting sick.

Fortunately, there's a simple way to protect your health and reduce what you spend on costly doctor visits, cold and flu medications, and vitamin pills: plant some vegetables. Fresh-picked home garden produce is brimming with nutrition, and recent studies confirm that organically grown produce can be even richer in nutrients than conventionally grown fruits and veggies.

2. Fire your lawn care service.

How much do you pay for a lawn care company to care for your lawn? Chances are it's way too much. So ditch the lawn service and hire a local teen to mow for you instead.

To encourage a healthy lawn the organic way, have your hired help set the mower high—at least 3 inches. That way, your lawn grass naturally shades out weeds. (No more herbicides needed.)

Be sure your helper uses a mulching mower that returns grass clippings—which contain valuable nitrogen—to the lawn. (No more bagged fertilizer needed.) Once a year, have your helper spread good-quality compost too, about 1/4 inch thick. The compost will melt into the lawn almost immediately, adding a wide range of nutrients as well as beneficial microbes that help prevent lawn diseases.

3. Fight pests with flowers instead of pesticides.

More than 90 percent of the insects in your yard and garden are your friends, not your foes. Ladybugs, lacewings, and even many kinds of flies and tiny wasps are an important natural pest control force. Their larvae (the immature stages of the insects) gobble up aphids and other pests, or parasitize the caterpillars that would like to turn the foliage of your flowers and veggies into a holey mess.

One easy way to attract these good-guy insects to your yard organically is to plant a garden of perennials and herbs with tiny flowers, because the adult beneficial insects eat pollen, not bugs. Yarrow, purple coneflowers, daisies, tansy, cosmos, marigolds, and zinnias are great plants to start with, and you'll love how they look growing in sunny spots all around your yard. Buying a few packets of annual seeds and several potted perennials is much cheaper—and much more fun—than buying pesticides and a sprayer!

4. Forget the bagged fertilizer—buy seeds instead.

It's true! A packet of cover-crop seeds such as buckwheat or oats will add as much fertility to your garden beds as any bag of synthetic fertilizer can. And that's just the start of the story. Using synthetic fertilizer is a vicious cycle, because the chemicals in the fertilizer kill or repel beneficial earthworms and other organisms that help build a healthy soil. Plus, chemical fertilizer easily washes down through the soil when it rains, ending up in the groundwater we drink!

Not only will you save big in the long term by planting cover crops instead, they also prevent soil erosion, they encourage earthworms and other good guys, and they enrich your soil naturally. Simply sow the cover crop seed on lightly loosened soil, rake it in lightly, and water it to speed germination. Within 4 to 8 weeks, you can cut down the crop with shears or your lawn mower, and all that rich green material will naturally break down, leaving you a nutrient-primed planting bed that will produce bumper crops of veggies, fruit, or flowers.


At Grinning Planet Farm, we've had great success using the low-growing varieties of clover as a green mulch during the growing season. Once established, the dense clover blocks most other weeds, adds nitrogen to the soil, attracts honeybees and other pollinators, and helps conserve water in the soil. In a comparison of two tomato beds, the bed with clover groundcover required only 1/3 as much watering as the bed with straw mulch.

    — Grinning Planet

5. Reduce your water bill by capturing rainwater.

Depending on where you live, as much as 50 percent of the water you use goes to keeping your garden green and growing. That's a big expense that will only get bigger as water supply problems increase around the country./p>

But for less than $100, you can buy and install a rain barrel that will capture the rain that falls on your roof, providing you a free supply of water for your gardens virtually indefinitely. Rain barrels are available from home centers and mail-order suppliers, and it takes no special skills to install one.

6. Grow gourmet salad toppings on the cheap.

Microgreens are all the rage at fancy restaurants and farm markets, but boy are they expensive!

Here's a secret: you can grow your own microgreens at any time of year on a sunny windowsill for a fraction of the price. Simply save leftover clamshell containers from the deli and buy some organic transplanting mix that's enriched with compost. Clean the containers well, use a barbecue skewer to poke several drainage holes in each one, and fill them with moist potting mix. Then sprinkle veggie seeds—be sure the seeds haven't been treated with pesticides—generously over the soil surface, cover then lightly with more mix, and set the containers in a catch tray on the windowsill. Mist daily until sprouts appear, then water as needed to keep them growing.

Within three weeks, the sprouts will reach the two-leaf stage, and you can snip them with scissors to garnish salads, sandwiches, and entrees. Use lettuce, arugula, and other salad greens, as well as broccoli, kale, dill, cilantro, basil, even peas.

About The Author

Fern Marshall Bradley Fern Marshall Bradley is a writer and editor whose favorite topics are gardening and sustainable living. With Trevor Cole, she is co-editor of The Reader's Digest's All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening (see panel to right).

She is also co-author of Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver and conceived and edited books such as The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Insect and Disease Control and The Expert's Book of Garden Hints. Bradley is a former gardening books editor for Rodale.


The Reader's Digest's All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening

(by Fern Marshall Bradley)

book cover for gardening book by Fern Marshall Bradley GP REVIEW:  When they say "illustrated," they mean it! Every part of this 500+ page tome is packed with beautiful photos and color illustrations of plants to help you decide what will look nice—and grow well—in your garden. Many detailed how-to illustrations are combined with step-by-step instructions that will help you get it right the first time when it comes to trying new plants and techniques. Read full review of The Reader's Digest's All-New Illustrated Guide to Gardening...

Grinning Planet Wrap-Up

Those weren't just good organic gardening tips, they were great! Thanks, Fern!

Now, back to the Grinning Planet basement, where we're fixing up grow lights for our new organic-cacao plantation room. (Yes, we're kidding—but we are cocoa-nutty here.)

Grinning Planet Publish date:

Know someone who might like some good organic gardening tips article? Please forward this article to them.


More articles and resources on....

You can sign up for our free email list so you don't miss anything! Options:

Organic Gardening Tips


Organic Lawn Care — Green Grass with a Green Approach


Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden


Pesticide Effects on Children


Health Benefits of Organic Food



free audio news clips link; image of zombie kid - DON'T BE A MAINSTREAM MEDIA DRONE! - Free MP3 news download at Grinning Planet
Books for a Better Planet

Check out any item on by clicking title.


  book cover for Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara Ellis, Ellen Phillips, 2/3/2009

The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener
(by Fern Marshall Bradley, Barbara Ellis, Ellen Phillips)

This has been the go-to resource for gardeners for more than 50 years—and the best tool novices can buy to start applying organic methods to their fruit and vegetable crops, herbs, trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lawns. This thoroughly revised and updated version highlights new organic pest controls, new fertilizer products, improved gardening techniques, the latest organic soil practices, and new trends in garden design.  "An improved classic from a research team that can't be beat. We've got the old original edition and it is packed with plant information." – GP

  book cover for The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, by Ellis, et al, Jun-1996

Features encyclopedic coverage of the pests that bug all the planty things growing in your yard, including lawns, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. Excellent pictures help you identify specific diseases and pests so you can design the best pest-control program.  "The pictures of bugs and disease damage are very helpful for answering questions like 'What the heck kind of bug is that eating my cabbage?!?' ... The book has great info for figuring out a safe way to control pest problems or prevent them from happening in the first place." – GP

  book cover for Food Not Lawns, by Heather C. Flores, 10/1/2006

Turn Your Yard into a Garden And Your Neighborhood into a Community

Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own "paradise gardens." This joyful permaculture lifestyle manual inspires readers to apply the principles of the paradise garden—simplicity, resourcefulness, creativity, mindfulness, and community—to all aspects of life. Flores shows us how to reclaim the earth one garden at a time.  "Vegetables can be beautiful—even in your front yard—especially when mixed in with floral arrangements." – GP


Search for more...


Or see more books on GP:

Back to . . .

Disney Cartoon Humor

Environmental Cartoons

Jokes/Cartoons (non-eco)





Hey, we don't pick
the Google ads!   – GP



"Is it reasonable to suppose that we can apply a broad-spectrum insecticide to kill the burrowing larval stages of a crop-destroying insect ... without also killing the 'good' insects whose function may be the essential one of breaking down organic matter [and maintaining healthy soil]?"

— Rachel Carson, from Silent Spring


Turn a child's love of animals into a love of reading with Zoobooks magazine, a magazine for kids; sign up now and receive FREE Elephants Zoobook and Tiger Poster; opens in new window

   > document gif Sign up to get Grinning Planet free by email, or get more info about it Email a link to this page to someone  
   > Issue Number 204
Copyright 2009 © Mark Jeantheau — All rights reserved.   More info

MP3 News Download
Video/Audio News Sites
Environmental News Sites
Investigative Journalism Sites

    - Articles/Resources By Topic
    - Articles By Date

Environmental Quotes
    - Funny Environmental Quotes
    - Peak Oil Quotes

Environmental Cartoons/Jokes
    - Environmental Videos/Animations

Environmental Products
Eco/Nature Greeting Cards

Grinning Planet Farm


Funny Jokes/Cartoons
    - Environmental Cartoons

Funny Animations/Videos
    - Environmental Animations/Videos

Funny Quotes
    - Environmental Funny Quotes


Environmental Books
Global Warming Books
Energy Books
Solar Energy Books
Peak Oil Books
Food-Gardening Books
Media Books


Environmental Movies
Environmental Songs
Environmental Music Videos

Album Reviews
Fun With Lyrics


Home Page
Site Map
About Us
Free Subscriptions
Privacy Policy