The Trouble with Organic Farming

By choosing to farm organically, we don’t use any of those really helpful products that kill all of the weeds and give Little Shop of Horrors results in plant growth.  We don’t use soils that contain anything other than soil and there is nothing sprayed on our crops to help them grow, other than rainfall.

The problem with this method is that sometimes things don’t grow the way you want them to.  Sometimes, a little jerk of a bug will eat millions of holes in all of your turnip greens.  Sometimes, so many weeds will grow between the rows of plants and between the plants themselves that you can’t really tell where the lettuce is anymore.  Sometimes, stuff just won’t grow.

But sometimes it will.

Organic farming takes patience, and work, and weeding.  Lots of weeding.  Weeding is one of the reasons we decided to have children.  We thought, “Hey! Kids are low to the ground; they’ll be perfect for pulling weeds!”  This was how we thought our kids would look:

Happily weeding childrenWe envisioned happily working side by side as a family united with a love for organic farming.  But the children do not care how perfect they are for weed-pulling.  They do not want to help around the farm.  They want to look like this:

Zombified t.v. watching childrenAnd so there is much work to be done at all times and precious little help to get it done.

It can be daunting and defeating and is most definitely exhausting.  There is a seemingly endless amount of work to do in general, so a task as unappealing as weeding will invariably get pushed further and further down the to-do list.  At the end of three, four, even five consecutive days we will look at one another and say, “Dang! We didn’t get to the weeding AGAIN!”  Eventually, however, it comes down to saving the crops.

Much like a toothache, the longer you put off dealing with it, the worse it gets.  When we pulled on our gloves in the morning before the heat really set in, we were faced with this:

Weed covered kale

This is just one snapshot of the kale, but the whole garden really looked like this.  It took the better part of the day (and yes, the children helped) but we got through a good portion of it.  We are hoping tonight’s rain will soften things up and make the balance easier for our next go-round on Monday.

It makes a difference, though.  And while it would be far easier and considerably more bountiful to spray growth aids and pesticides on our plants, we would rather work harder for less because what we do get is good, clean food.  When we lay our heads down at night, we know we’ve done right by the earth and by our children.  We rest easy knowing that we are, in our own small way, balancing out the harm done by so many large corporations.  When there is a salmonella outbreak from tainted spinach, we can continue to enjoy our beautiful spinach because nothing in our garden is dangerous to any living thing.

And while it takes a lot of work, at the end of the day this little organic garden gives us, and so many others, the wonderful food we believe in so strongly.

Lovely organic garden

About applewoodfarm

Restaurateur, farmer, bartender, beekeeper, friend, wife, mother, dog lover, cat tolerater, chicken hypnotizer, blogger, and sometime yogi
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3 Responses to The Trouble with Organic Farming

  1. jtaylor5 says:

    Weeding is the one job I hate with a passion! Using a weed killer is not something we want to use either. getting away from all the chemicals is just one of the reasons we raise our own food. I can use my cultivator between the rows, but I still have to pull out the hoe to get the peskiest of weeds between the plants.

    Our son has his own garden, and being ‘low to the ground’ has yet to motivate him into voluntarily weeding his garden. He just gets too excited when he sees the first vegetables growing, he wants to pick them immediately!

    • That is so cute! One of our daughter’s decided she wanted to start her own garden in a corner of the main garden. She diligently weeded the square and even put a little line of rocks along one edge. Then she got distracted and walked away. That weedless square of stone-lined dirt remains unplanted to this day. Sigh…

  2. vintolindo says:

    Read my post “Yippie, found the tomatoes” and you will find it is the same everywhere. But we DID eat sweet, juicy and healthy tomatoes in the end 🙂

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