Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Organic Gardening




Earlier this week I attended a talk by a local Master Gardener, Robert Dailey, on organic gardening. Now we all know about organic gardening Mr. Dailey informed us 45% of gardeners claim to understand how to garden organically and how to use garden chemicals safely. He also explained only 5% of gardeners actually do so.

Herbs have been grown organically since before people began putting them in gardens and have done so quite well with out chemicals. Homeowners are far more heavy handed with chemicals than large farms. It is a far smaller part of our budget. Texas is one of the top 10 states for use of herbicides and pesticides.

A recent UN study showed that Texas is losing 1% of arable land a year. There will be enough lost aquifers in Texas by 2050 that there will not be enough water for the population. While we can build desalination plants they too have a negative environmental impact not to mention high cost.

A good compost bin, smart use of rain water will allow you to grow most plants successfully with out using toxic chemicals or large amounts of city water.

Essential elements for plants:
Photosynthesis: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen
Primary food/macro elements: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
Secondary food elements: calcium, magnesium, sulfur
Micro nutrients: boron, manganese, copper, zinc, iron, molybdenum, chlorine

Compost bins do best when they are the wire frame model at least 3’x3′ in size. This allows the heat to build up enough to kill off weed seeds and pathogens. Good soil contains not only the essential elements for plant life but also micro and macro organisms.

On a not totally unrelated note I ran across an interesting story Big roots, tough leaves, help plants survive on why some plants survive better in high heat areas. It’s worth a read.

More information:
Soils: Soil Fertility and Fertilizers
The Environmental Problem Desertification and Its Causes
Humus: An Organic Solar Battery: Converting Sun’s Energy into Food