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Organic Guidelines

Thank you for your cooperation in making our gardens safe and healthy for all participants. These are basic guidelines.

The National Organic Standards Board defines organic gardening as “an ecological production management system that promotes and enhances biodiversity, biological cycles, and soil biological activity. It is based on minimal use of off-farm inputs and on management practices that restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.”

Organic gardening emphasizes working with nature, soil building, preventing problems before they occur, and using only natural, non-toxic or minimally toxic substances if intervention is required.


The best fertilizer money can buy is made in our gardens. Organic compost is truly a revitalizing and magical gardening mixture. It provides nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as other elements (calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and micronutrients). Furthermore, compost aerates soil, breaks up clay, binds together sand, improves drainage, prevents erosion, neutralizes toxins, holds precious moisture, releases essential nutrients, and feeds the microbiotic life of the soil. No chemical or additive comes close to providing so many benefits.

Below are recommended fertilizers (followed by N-nitrogen, P-phosphorus, or K-potassium representing the three major plant nutrients provided by each fertilizer) that may be used, followed by a list of prohibited fertilizers.

  • compost from the garden (N, P, K)
  • animal manures (ideally composted or aged before use)(N)
  • alfalfa meal (N)
  • blood meal (N)
  • hoof and horn meal (N)
  • kelp or seaweed (liquid or powder)(N)
  • fish emulsion (N, P)
  • rock phosphate (P)
  • soft phosphate (colloidal)(P)
  • bone meal (P)
  • wood ashes (K)
  • granite or feldspar dust (K)
  • greensand (K)

Prohibited Fertilizers

  • synthetic fertilizers of any kind (e.g. Miracle Gro)
  • any formulations containing sewage sludge (e.g. Milorganite)
  • DAP and MAP (ammonium phosphates)
  • Chilean nitrate
  • superphosphate (acidulated phosphates)
  • Chilean nitrate of potash (15-0-14)
  • Muriate of potash, KCl (0-0-60)
  • charcoal ashes (from BBQ, stove, etc.)
  • cigarette ashes


Organic methods promote a healthy ecosystem where birds, insects, plants, microorganisms, and people all reach a
natural balance that is beneficial for all. The first line of pest control for the organic grower should be a careful
evaluation and maximization of the soil and nutrients for a plant. Good compost and loose, rich soil are often the best
solutions for pests. Make sure your plants receive enough water and sunlight, you choose plants that grow well in this
part of the world, you utilize companion plantings and you rotate your crops. All of these considerations can help
prevent insect problems.Below are recommended and not recommended (but permitted, with caution) pest controls that may be used when
there are still problems despite trying the methods listed above, followed by prohibited pest control substances.

  • beneficial insects (ladybugs, praying mantis, trichogramma wasps, lacewings, tachinid and syrphid flies, etc.)
  • hand-picking
  • traps (pheromone, sticky, water, food, etc.)
  • row covers
  • spraying with garlic, onion or vegetable oil, and pepper sprays
  • insecticidal soaps (preferably biodegradable soap solutions)
  • BT (bacillus thuringiensis)
  • chitin
  • diatomaceous earth
  • bicarbonates (sodium bicarbonate-baking soda, and potassium bicarbonate)
  • sulfur
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • Neem
  • Pyrethrum
  • Quassia
  • Ryania
  • Sabadilla


  • synthetic pesticides, insecticides or fungicides of any kind (Bug B Gon, Captan, Diazinon, Insectagon,
  • Kelthane, Lindane, malathion, Permethrin, Sevin, Thuricide, etc.)
  • nicotine in any form
  • formulations containing copper (e.g. Bordeaux Mix)
  • Rotenone
  • Pyrethroids (synthetic pyrethrum)

Synthetic herbicides of any kind are prohibited (Preen ‘n Green, Roundup, Weed-B-Gon, etc.)