Organic Standards

Fertilizers and Soil Amendments

Products of plant or animal origin (e.g. compost, wood ashes, leaf mold, livestock manure, blood and bone meal, cover crops, fish emulsion, alfalfa meal, kelp meal, liquid seaweed, worm castings, and commercial organic fertilizers) are acceptable. Livestock manure must come from non-meat-eating animals and cannot come from dogs or cats. Be cautious of adding manure directly to your plants, as this carries the risk for food borne illness. Reduce this risk by using manure that has been composted for a full year. Natural mineral fertilizers (e.g. greensand, granite or feldspar dust, basalt rock dust, and ground limestone) are also acceptable.  Look for products labeled “natural organic,” “slow release,” and “low analysis.”  Be wary of products labeled organic that have an NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio that adds up to more than 15.  Synthetic fertilizers such as Miracle-Gro are prohibited.

Weed Control

Herbicides of any kind are prohibited in all plots, as they are hazardous to human health, may kill or damage desirable crops, drift into neighboring gardens, or persist in the soil.  Plastic mulches are not allowed. Mechanical controls, e.g. hoeing, mulching, and hand weeding are recommended.  If using grass clippings as mulch the clippings cannot be stored at the community garden.

Insect Control

Synthetic insecticides are prohibited. Preferred control methods are crop rotation, hand picking of insects pests, companion planting, and soil solarization. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is prohibited because it is a non-discriminating bacterium that attacks the larval stage of moths and butterflies.

Disease Control

Synthetic fungicides are prohibited. Maintaining healthy soil, choosing disease-resistant varieties, and removing diseased plants from the garden should control most problems.  To prevent the spread of the disease, diseased plants should not be put into the community compost bin.

When in doubt, ask your Education Director!

Sources:

University of Michigan- Dearborn: http://umd.umich.edu/eic/research/garden.html
Grow Food Northampton: http://growfoodnorthampton.com/florence-organic-community-garden/fog-rules/
Wasatch Community Gardens (this one has some great info charts): http://wasatchgardens.org/community/join-garden/organic-standards

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