When it comes to organic gardening, many gardeners are not exactly sure of the definition.

Beyond the avoidance of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides on their plants, an organic gardener works to achieve a harmonious balance among natural systems, while leaving the environment with replenishment of its resources.

There are many good reasons for going organic. From the enjoyment of vine-ripened locally grown produce to reducing harmful chemicals to the pleasure of growing healthy herbs and vegetables your whole family will enjoy, organic farming offers a wide range of natural benefits.

Start by consuming locally grown organic produce. The vast movement from garden-to-table is all about eating locally grown organic produce. As the old saying goes, you are what you eat.

Savvy gardeners are organically growing herbs and vegetables in their own backyard. When you harvest your own vegetation, you consume food at the peak of production. Savour freshly picked vine-ripened taste while knowing exactly how your vegetables have been grown and treated.

Follow the locavores who primarily consume locally grown foods. A diet of locally grown produce reduces the carbon footprint in transit and the chemical preservation used in extending the shelf life.

Start the garden season with natural, chemical-free organic fertilizers.

For a 100-per-cent organic fertilizer, try Grotek Life Total Nourish Liquid. Suitable for all types of indoor and outdoor plants, this organic fertilizer gives long-lasting results by improving plant colour, overall health and growth while also improving the nutrient value in the soil.

Experiment with organic solutions to weed and pest control in your garden. Earth Safe’s new Elimaweed is a natural food-grade vinegar substitute for chemical weed killers. This biodegradable solution will not accumulate in the soil and kills both annual and perennial weeds. Safe for both family and environment, replanting can be done approximately 24 to 48 hours after application.

For defence of pesky pests in an “enviro” way, try companion plantings. In combinations that either attract good bugs or steer insects by their natural scents, scientifically proved plant combos give way to pest-free environments.

Basil plants, planted among tomatoes, reduce the attack of flies, aphids, mites and mosquitoes. Coriander will quickly chase aphids from the vegetable garden, while cabbage loves sage for keeping it safe from cabbage moths and carrot flies.

It you must use an insecticide, choose one that is prepared naturally, from the pyrethrum of the chrysanthemum flower.

Not sure where to start? Visit your local green garden centre and ask for the organic mechanic who specializes in garden products that are safe for the environment.

We all want to live in a greener world. As Dr. David Suzuki puts it, “Organic farming is not about turning back the clock, it’s about moving forward.”

By making Earth-safe choices for a healthier and safer planet, we all win.

This summer, take a fresh look at your garden and go organic. Not only will it benefit the health of your family, it will feel good and taste great too.

Shari Morash is a gardening enthusiast and an accredited designer. She is the owner and founder of Northern Elegance. Contact her at shari.morash@gmail.com.