Go Beyond Organic Gardening to Grow More Food With Less Work


Beyond organic gardening is a holistic, regenerative approach to gardening that goes beyond the basic principles of organic gardening. Learn how to grow more food with less work and grow a better than organic garden at home! #permaculture #organicgardening #beyondorganicYou’ve most likely heard of organic gardening before, but have you ever heard of beyond organic gardening?

In this post, we’ll go over exactly what this means, and how you can implement “beyond organic” practices in your own garden to grow more with less input.

This is a guest post by Sunflower Craig of Permies.com

As concerns about the health and environmental impacts of conventional farming continue to grow, more and more people are turning to organic gardening as a way to produce healthy, sustainable, and eco-friendly food. But even organic gardening has its limitations, and many gardeners are now exploring the concept of “beyond organic” gardening. But what does this actually mean? How can something be “beyond” organic?

 

What does Beyond Organic mean?

Beyond organic gardening is a holistic, regenerative approach to gardening that goes beyond the basic principles of organic gardening.

Most master gardener programs stress the use of synthetic fertilizers, amendments and pesticides. The addition of these chemicals into your garden is working against nature, and probably not all that great for the garden or the gardener. Even certified organic farms are allowed to use some degree of synthetic pesticides [source]. In many home gardens, organic gardeners use all-natural methods and inputs such as organic fertilizers and natural pest and weed control methods. But this standard method of organic gardening still requires a fair bit of inputs on behalf of the gardener. Since beyond organic gardening is a permaculture practice, it takes a more holistic approach to soil health, plant nutrition and ecosystem balance; It’s a way of gardening that recognizes the interconnectedness of all living things and seeks to create a harmonious and self-sustaining ecosystem in the garden.

From a permaculture perspective, it’s important to work with nature work to create a balanced ecosystem in the garden. For example, recognizing that pests and diseases are often the result of imbalances in the garden, it’s important to address these imbalances through a variety of methods such as companion planting, crop rotation, and biological pest control. Striving to create habitats for beneficial insects and other creatures will help to pollinate plants, control pests, and improve soil health.  

Likewise, building healthy soil through the addition of compost, cover crops and simply not disturbing the soil food web that naturally establishes itself is a key tenet of beyond organic gardening that goes beyond simply using organic fertilizers that you might find at any nursery or garden store.

Related: The Principles of Permaculture (And How to Make Them Work For You!)

Beyond organic gardening is a holistic, regenerative approach to gardening that goes beyond the basic principles of organic gardening. Learn how to grow more food with less work and grow a better than organic garden at home! #permaculture #organicgardening #beyondorganic

Photo courtesy of Permies.com

 

Benefits of Beyond Organic Gardening

Beyond organic gardening offers a number of benefits for both gardeners and the environment. Some of these benefits include:

1. Healthier soil: By focusing on building soil fertility and promoting the soil food web, beyond organic gardeners can create soil that is rich in nutrients and teeming with beneficial microorganisms. This, in turn, can lead to healthier plants that are less susceptible to pests and disease.

2. Better nutrition: Because beyond organic gardeners focus on providing plants with a balanced and diverse range of nutrients, the food they produce is often more nutritious than conventionally grown food (even conventionally grown “organic” food!)

3. Eco-friendly: Beyond organic gardening avoids the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can harm the environment and pollute waterways. Instead, beyond organic gardeners mimics nature and uses 100% natural methods to promote plant health and control pests.

4. Self-sustaining: By creating a balanced ecosystem in the garden, beyond organic gardeners can reduce their reliance on outside inputs and create a self-sustaining garden that requires less maintenance over time.

5. Cost-effective: While beyond organic gardening may require an initial investment in soil amendments and other supplies, it can ultimately be more cost-effective than conventional gardening (whether organic or not). By creating a self-sustaining ecosystem in the garden, beyond organic gardeners can reduce their need for expensive inputs over time.

Beyond organic gardening is a holistic, regenerative approach to gardening that goes beyond the basic principles of organic gardening. Learn how to grow more food with less work and grow a better than organic garden at home! #permaculture #organicgardening #beyondorganic

Photo courtesy of Permies.com

 

Getting started with Beyond Organic Gardening

If you’re interested in exploring beyond organic gardening, a great way to fast-track your learning and success is by taking a master gardener program. One such course that we at permies.com highly recommend is The Garden Master Course by Helen Atthowe.

Helen Atthowe has spent 35 years working to connect farming, food systems, land stewardship, and conservation. She currently farms and does soil-building research on a 211 acre organic farm in Eastern Oregon. She was a Horticulture Extension Agent in Montana for 17 years where she designed, taught, and wrote the manual for an Organic Master Garden course. She also owned/operated a 30 acre certified organic vegetable/fruit farm in Montana and a 26-acre certified organic orchard with her late husband in California. 

Her Garden Master Course teaches organic, veganic, no-till permaculture gardening techniques, focuses on soil and habitat building for beneficial organisms, and emphasizes systems thinking for gardeners and farmers. It covers managing relationships in the garden, rather than just growing crops: a permaculture practice that has the ability to increase production while decreasing the required inputs of time, energy and resources on behalf of the gardener.

The Garden Master Course provides in-depth knowledge and skills in sustainable gardening practices and is considered to provide even better insights than in-person university-funded master gardener programs in addition to being more accessible and cost-effective compared to traditional master gardener programs.

Many local master gardeners are funded by extensions of the local university. This is a wonderful resource for the community, but most of them don’t teach beyond organic techniques. They also tend to focus on ornamentals and don’t generally focus on food production, so be sure to do your research and choose your program wisely.

Helen’s Garden Master Course is taught in-person at Wheaton Labs just outside of Missoula Montana every year during garden planning season (January/February). However if you can’t make it to Montana in the middle of winter, you can still get all of the benefits of the course without ever having to leave home.

Here’s a little taste of what you can expect: In the following excerpt, Helen talks about how to create a fertile, pest-free garden ecosystem by building habitat.

At the end of the day, there are plenty of master gardener programs out there, so do your research and compare what is actually being offered and you’re sure to find one that meets your needs. Learning beyond organic gardening techniques is a journey that everyone will take at their own pace, so be patient with yourself and enjoy the process. We can build a better world by beginning in our own backyard.

To learn more about Helen Atthowe’s Garden Master Course, click here. If you’re interested in joining us in-person at Wheaton Labs, you can get early bird tickets at a highly discounted rate right here

 

P.S. Ready to reclaim your independence and start living a more self-sufficient life?

Subscribe to Modern Homesteading Magazine and take the next step on your homesteading journey! 

Each issue is packed with seasonally-themed advice and inspiration on everything from farming and gardening to cooking and preserving to natural remedies, handmade holidays, preparedness, sustainability and more!

Get access to exclusive content, including recipes, DIY projects, expert interviews with other prominent homesteaders and special offers only available to subscribers. Plus get instant access to all past issues in our library!

>> Check out the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine right here!

 


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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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🗞 BREAKING NEWS!

I’m not always so good at sharing all of the awesome stuff I’ve got going on in life and business here on social media. When you’re a full time homesteader, business owner, editor, mom and wife, sometimes IG falls by the wayside 😬

But I just had to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and offering anyone who would like to try out my online membership program—The Society Of Self-Reliance—the opportunity to join for just $1.

Yup, you read that right: Right now, you can get unlimited access to The Society Of Self-Reliance for an entire month for just $1!

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🌱 Over 150 video lessons to help you build your skills in the kitchen, garden, workshop and home.

👨‍🌾 A private community of amazing people sharing their on journeys and supporting you in yours.

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However, if you decide The Society Of Self-Reliance just isn’t for you right now, you can cancel any time.

All you have to lose is $1, but what you have to gain is priceless:

—> Independence and self-reliance in all areas of life.
—> Security and confidence in your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones in good times and bad.
—> Freedom from complete and total dependency on “the system”
—> Skills and knowledge you can pass down to the next generation.
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And so much more!

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Me shopping for Easter candy for my kids, and walking out empty handed because it’s all full of absolute garbage!

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Hey, we’re not perfect, and yes, our kids will get Easter candy on Sunday morning. Ryan has already bought some and I’m sure he didn’t check all the ingredients like I do! I’m fine with the 80/20 rule most of the time. But the meta question here, is why are these types of ingredients allowed in foods to begin with? Especially food marketed toward kids!

Yes, it’s “junk food.” I don’t expect it to be HEALTHY. But it could be made better by omitting the known carcinogenic ingredients that have been linked to everything from ADHD to hormone imbalances to cancer!

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Eventually I did invest in online mentorship and my success from there was exponential. Now, less than a decade after leaving the city in pursuit of our new life as homesteaders, I’ve not only learned how to grow an abundance of food and troubleshoot all kinds of plant issues to ensure a healthy crop and successful harvest, but I’ve learned how to be more self-sufficient in just about every area of life.

I’ve learned how to
🌱 grow my own groceries
🫙 can and preserve my own food
🌿 make herbal medicine and natural products
💵 create multiple income streams
🆘 prepare for a wide range of emergencies
and more.

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🛠 fix or build most things
so together we’ve got a wide range of skills that allow us to live a more empowered, self-reliant life.

Now I want to help you do the same…

I recently reopened the doors to The Society of Self-Reliance—my private membership program where I teach you the skills and mindset you need to become more self-reliant in every area of your life.

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For a limited time, you can join The Society for just $20/month (or get two months FREE with an annual membership!).

Come, join a community of people who will lift you up and ensure you DON’T starve 😉

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It’s been a minute since I popped into IG to say hi. (Hi! 👋) But before I share what’s been going on behind the scenes, I thought it would be a good time to (re)introduce myself, because I’ve never actually done that before!

My name’s Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader living in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. I live with my family (human, furry and feathered) on 1/4 acre property where we grow and preserve hundreds of pounds of our own food every year, and strive to live a more self-reliant lifestyle in all that we do.

I grew up in Vancouver and had pretty much zero experience homesteading before my husband, Ryan and I decided we wanted to escape the rat race, become less dependent on the modern industrial food system (and all modern industrialized systems), and dove head first into this lifestyle around a decade ago.

We packed up and moved to Vancouver Island where we live now, started our first garden, and the rest is pretty much history.

(Well, actually that’s not true… There have been A LOT of ups and downs, successes and failures, wins and losses, struggles, challenges and pivotal moments along the way, but those are stories for another day).

Over the past few years, our decision to follow a less conventional path that aims to break free (at least in some part) from “the system” has been affirmed over and over again. We all know for a fact now that our food system, healthcare system, financial system, transportation system and so much more are all really just a house of cards built on shaky ground. We’ve been lucky so far, but sooner or later it’s all liable to collapse.

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Automating our homesteading tasks as much as possible allows us to worry about other things and saves us a ton of time. Plus, it makes sure that things get taken care of, whether we remember or not.

Using an automatic chicken door has been a GAME CHANGER for us. It’s one of those lesser known homestead tools that can make all the difference, and I’m always recommending one to anyone who keeps chickens!

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Yes, you read that right…

Modern Homesteading Magazine is coming to an end.

This decision has not come easily, but there’s a season for everything, and more and more I’m feeling called to transition out of this season and into the next in both life and business.

And so this final farewell issue is bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the first ever annual issue, with 100 pages packed with brand new content that celebrates the best of the past 32 issues!

And it’s the first issue I’ve ever offered in PRINT!

But on the other hand, it marks the end of an era, and of this publication that I’ve absolutely had the pleasure of creating and sharing with you.

If you’re a digital subscriber, you will not be charged a renewal fee going forward, and will continue to have access to the digital library until your subscription runs out. As part of your subscription, you’re able to download and/or print each issue of you like, so that you never lose access to the hundreds of articles and vast amount of information in each issue.

Rather than subscribing, you can now purchase an all-access pass for a one-time fee of just $20, which gives you access to our entire digital library of issues.

Plus, for a limited time, when you purchase an all-access pass you’ll also get a gift certificate for a second all-access pass to gift to someone else.

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When you preorder the print issue, you’ll also get a digital copy of the special edition issue (this issue only), and will receive a print copy in the mail later this year (hopefully by Christmas so long as there are no shipping delays!)

Click the link in my profile or visit modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to check out the latest issue, purchase an all-access pass to the digital library and/or preorder the print issue today!

Thanks to everyone who has read the magazine over the past 4 years. I’m humbled and grateful for your support, and can’t wait to share whatever comes next:)

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It’s easy to romanticize homesteading, but the truth is that those homegrown vegetables, those freshly laid eggs, that loaf of bread rising on the counter, and that pantry full of home-canned food takes time, effort and dedication. It doesn’t “just happen” overnight!

But if you work on learning one new skill at a time and gain confidence in it before moving onto the next, one day you’ll be looking back and marvelling at how far you’ve come.

That’s where I’m at now. Life today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago, when our homesteading and self-reliance journey was just beginning.

Back then we still lived in our city condo and were just beginning to dabble in all of this stuff. But my husband Ryan and I felt a sense urgency to start pursuing a more self-reliant lifestyle, and we committed to taking small steps, one day at a time to make that vision a reality.

Over the years we’ve continued to put one foot in front of the other, adding new skills and tackling new projects along the way that have helped us get to where we are today.

While there’s always more we want to learn and do, as I look around me right now, I’m so grateful that we took those first steps, especially considering what’s happened in the world over the past few years!

If you’re also feeling the urgency to take the first (or next) steps toward a more self-reliant life, this is your final reminder that today is the last day to join The Society of Self-Reliance and start levelling up your homesteading and self-sufficiency skills so that you’ve got what it takes to:

• Grow your own groceries
• Stock your pantry
• Create a natural home
• Get prepared
• Learn other important life skills like time management for homesteaders, goal setting and how to become your own handyman

And more!

If you’ve been feeling called to level up your self-reliance skills (because let’s be honest, we’re in for a wild ride these next few years with everything going on in the world), now is the time to heed that call.

Link in profile to enroll before midnight tonight, or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

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