How is Organic Farming Different? Information, Benefits and Tips for Success.

How is organic farming different? We list organic gardening and farming techniques along with practical information on how to succeed at rural or urban organic backyard farming.


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Traditional organic gardening and farming methods have sustainably nourished humanity for 11,000 years. Indeed, until 50 years ago, all farming was done organically.

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That changed at the end of WWII when war chemicals (e.g. ammonium nitrate for bombs) manufacturers turned to farming as a new market for their products. Modern chemical farming was born, marketed as the “green revolution” that promised to feed the world.

So How IS Organic Farming Different?:

It doesn’t use synthetic chemicals.

Modern agriculture relies on a range of synthetic chemicals. Crop nutrients are in the form of soluble manufactured fertilizers, which produce weak plants needing protection with chemical herbicides, fungicides and pesticides.

Similarly, animal health in industrialized agriculture relies on chemical pharmaceuticals (e.g. anthelmintics for parasites, pesticides for lice) whereas in organic farming only preparations derived from natural sources are allowed.

Organic farming instead encourages and makes use of natural biological processes – particularly microbial activity – to boost soil fertility and thus plant nutrition, "feeding the soil to feed the plant".

Organic methods offer many benefits to humans and the environment, because chemicals are shunned. Healthy balanced soil grows naturally healthier plants and promotes health in the people and livestock that feed on them.

A diverse range of crops are grown.

To remain profitable in the face of globalized markets and free trade, farmers have been forced to bigger holdings with simpler cropping systems. Keeping pace, industrialized farming has evolved ever-larger and more specialized machines to do the work of cultivation, sowing, spraying and harvesting. The result is large areas of the same crop type; this is called a monoculture.

Organic farming, on the other hand, embraces a multiple crop philosophy – polyculture. As in nature, such biodiversity adds resiliency and productivity to the system. A wide variety of crops in turn support a wider range of beneficial insects, soil microorganisms, and other factors that contribute to overall farm health.

However, the resulting system is more labor intensive, requiring greater management expertise and observation, all of which nevertheless can be learnt!


Find out how to succeed at rural or urban organic backyard farming by exploring this list:

Organic Gardening Practices

• How to site, plan and prepare soil for personal organic farming

• How to make compost

• Companion planting

• Compost tea and other liquid fertilizers

Organic weed control methods - general principles

• Natural weed killer recipes

• The newspaper weed control technique

Organic Pest Management: - general principles and recipes

• Snail and slug strategies

• Organic pest management in fruit trees

• Dealing with garden pest wood lice (slaters)

• Curbing cucumber bug

• Natural control of aphids

Learn more about organic gardening at home of the organic gardener.