Learning to Garden Organically
Although we cannot officially label our produce as ‘organic’, we have always tried to learn how to do things the organic way. One of the first books we started reading in our early gardening days was ‘Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables’ by Lawrence D. Hills. He founded the Henry Doubleday Research Association (HDRA), now also known as ‘Garden Organic’ and was one of the early leaders of what we now know as the ‘Organic Movement’. Dave joined the HDRA for a few years back in the 1970s, when it was still just Lawrence Hills with his wife Cherry and one or two helpers working on a two-acre garden in Essex. Now the HDRA has grown to an enormous size, based at a large site near Coventry and with thousands of members worldwide.
Incidentally, although Lawrence Hills’ books have been out of print for some years now, we have been able to buy a couple of extra copies (to pass on to friends and family) through ABEbooks. See if you can find what you want there!
As you will know from our Recommended Books page, we have been greatly helped and encouraged by Eliot Coleman’s books, but it was quite a while before we discovered his website! Definitely worth a visit!
Sadly, it seems as though some in the organic movement are beginning to treat ‘organic’ as a ‘brand name’ which demands total loyalty. As far as we are concerned, organic gardening just seems to be the most sensible approach, with its concentration on improving the fertility, structure and biology of the soil, always aiming to leave the soil in better ‘heart’ than we have found it, and without destroying the environment in the process! We have been heartened to read an article by Eliot Coleman which seems to say some of the same things.
Please let us know if you have any comments, questions or advice!