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The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks, and The Bottom Line [Anglais] [Broché]

Jeff Gillman

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The Truth About Organic Gardening Gardeners tend to assume that any product or practice labeled as organic is automatically safe for humans and beneficial to the environment. This book says that it is not universally true, and the exceptions can pose a significant threat to human health. Full description

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.1 étoiles sur 5  23 commentaires
107 internautes sur 107 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Growing Our Own Food Safely--For Us and the Environment 27 février 2008
Par GENE GERUE - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
This book is timely as increasingly large numbers of us react to health, environmental and market conditions by growing more of our own food but wonder about the trade-offs of natural versus synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The information offered here will be useful whether you are a neophyte or seasoned gardener.

I've been gardening for most of my 72 years and have nearly100 gardening books in my library. I learned many new things here. For instance, regarding companion planting, I have long thought that fragrances were the most important condition to repel unwanted insects. Not so--color seems to be the best indicator of whether a plant would be an effective companion. In fact, an aroma may make things worse.

Author Jeff Gillman is a knowledgeable referee on the sometimes near-hysterical fight between organic enthusiasts and those who favor synthetic garden inputs. He gained his doctorate at the University of Georgia and is currently an associate professor of horticulture at the University of Minnesota where in addition to teaching courses on nursery production and pesticide use he also runs the experimental nurseries and orchards there.

Gillman is an organic advocate but recognizes that many gardeners want the fast response of commercial products such as pesticides, so he goes through the list of both organic and synthetic choices. Effectiveness, environmental impact quotients, and toxicological effects are all covered.

Here you will learn the trade-offs between natural and synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and much more. Subjects covered are fertilization, weed control, insect control, disease control, and the control of birds, deer, rodents, and mollusks.

Throughout the book, after discussing each subject, the author synopsizes with bulleted Benefits, Drawbacks, and The Bottom Line, which is the subtitle of the book. For those who want the fewest possible words, this may be all you need to read to get the information you desire.

In the chapter on fertilization are discussed the well-known benefits of organic matter in the soil, compost and manure. Less well known, but covered here is the issue of pathogens in manure and compost, especially compost tea and manure tea. The section on natural versus synthetic fertilizers provided the news to me that while most of us believe that synthetic fertilizers contain petrochemicals, "that's rarely the case." It turns out the nitrogen is in fact drawn from the air by a process invented by Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch, both of whom received Nobel prizes. Those of us concerned about energy depletion and costs, however, will note that both coal and natural gas are used in the process.

Phosphorous and potassium are obtained from mines in several states, an energy-intensive extraction and delivery process. In The Bottom Line, the author states his preference for organic fertilizers but notes that he uses synthetic fertilizers "for certain applications because they're cheap, readily available, and very effective."

The longest and perhaps most important chapter is on insect control. There is solid info on organic cultural practices such as bagging fruit, choosing resistant plants, using floating row covers, handpicking and hosing, nectaries, companion planting, physical, visual and pheromone traps of various design for various pests, sticky cards and paste, and beneficial insects.

Organic insecticides and synthetic insecticides receive twelve pages each, a balanced treatment comparing effectiveness and danger to both gardeners and the environment. In the chapter wrap-up the author "is siding with the organic choices right up until you start looking at the pesticides. Once these things enter the picture, all bets are off for me." Should the gardener decide to use pesticides, this chapter provides the scientifically known pros and cons. He strongly recommends the organic cultural practices. One of the few strategies that Gillman does not offer is simply growing more plants than you need--if you need the produce from three tomato plants, why, just grow five or six; if insects or disease reduce yield, you may well still have enough for your purposes.

The final chapter is on the question of organic food. Is it really superior? And just how reliable are the USDA's organic growing standards? Some of the surprises: organic food is not pesticide free; some organic producers use poison, too; organic pesticides may be worse because they require frequent reapplication, resulting in more residue; carcinogens are examples of "the dose makes the poison."

The Truth About Organic Gardening clears up much misunderstanding about natural and synthetic strategies for dealing with the many challenges of gardening. Not all synthetic pesticides are awful. Not all organic pesticides are safe. If, like me, you are an organic enthusiast, expect to have some of your beliefs challenged.

Gardening is an ongoing learning process. Each garden is unique. Each gardener is unique. To garden successfully and to produce healthful food for you and your family you will necessarily make many choices. This book will be very helpful in making those choices.
49 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Not all organics are good; not all synthetics are bad. 21 février 2008
Par Peregrinn - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Don't assume that organic practices are always good and synthetic products are always bad -- get the facts. Gillman points out that plant-derived Rotenone, an organic pesticide, is highly toxic to aquatic life and causes tremors in rats. Other organics, such as Neem Oil, are often overused despite links to reproductive problems in rats and potential carcinogens. Conversely, not all synthetics are bad. Using a synthetic fertilizer in appropriate amounts once or twice a year is not harmful (if you generally attend to soil development by adding organic materials like compost and mulch). And a foliar spray made from (organic) liquified seaweed may be easier and just as helpful as making compost tea to spray on your plants. So make your gardening decisions based on knowledge, not on a bias for or against organics.
19 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Balanced and well written 8 avril 2008
Par Gardening Girl - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
A surprisingly easy read, Jeff Gillman presents the pros and cons of organic and synthetic techniques for gardening, including soil management and pest control of all kinds (bugs, weeds, fungus, etc.). A good reference book and one I want to give my friend who covers everything in pesticide dust! Will not help with identification of gardening problems, but provides an understanding of the impact of all applications.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A lesser book than his first, but still a must-read 23 janvier 2009
Par Brian Connors - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Well, organic agriculture is certainly big money these days, isn't it? The problem is that a lot of people think organic is automatically good, just like natural equaled good 20 years ago. Jeff Gillman, author of The Truth About Garden Remedies, returns for another go, this time to debunk the myths of organic agriculture.

The fundamental problem with the wide use of "organic" as a buzzword is that, like many other buzzwords, it becomes a thoughtstopper. Gillman does what a lot of people don't with their food -- he explains the many methods of organic cultivation and pest control (some of which are, for lack of a better term, surprisingly inorganic) and explains their history, how they're used, and the risks and benefits of each. And there's some surprising results -- for example, Gillman points out that many accepted organic methods are poorly tested and not well-understood for environmental impact and toxicity, and lots of popular, seemingly-sensible techniques can actually be damaging to the plants. Favorite organic ingredients turn out to be very dangerous (rotenone) or unavailable (quassia), and seemingly obvious ideas like tobacco sprays turn out to be highly impractical. Gillman does repeat some material from his first book, but a lot of it (particularly the pesticide material) is quite a bit fleshed out.

Perhaps surprisingly, Gillman is guardedly pro-organic, but his message is one of caution -- among other things, he recommends reading other sources with a critical eye to separate good information from woo, and he feels that organic practices are somewhat overrated compared to more scientifically-based approaches such as integrated pest management. He does seem to reject the Rodale doctrine that nutritional quality suffers under conventional agriculture, and generally treats organic agriculture more as a matter of environmental practicality and sustainability than Luddism. I'd mark it as five stars if it a) had some coverage of biodynamics, which to the uninitiated is a Theosophy-influenced blend of organics, homeopathy, and dime-store witchcraft, and b) had included the rating system that Gillman used in his first book. But it's still a worthy companion to the first book and a must-read for anyone who wants to understand what science thinks of organic agriculture.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Exactly what you want 22 décembre 2008
Par R. L. Hull - Publié sur
For all of the new organic growers and consumers out there, this book is exactly what you want. The author has created a well written book based on scientific facts and very little (if any) bias. The creation of a well balanced book about a topic that is becoming quite confusing and contradictory speaks mountains about the author's talent and perseverance for the truth of home and commercial organic gardening.
As for the contents of the book, it covers: fertilization, weed control, pest control, disease control, and animal control. Each sections has many entries that are common to the home grower (this is the very valuable part of the book) and commercial grower that each end with the overall benefits, drawback, and the bottom line use.
If you're thinking about going (or growing) organic this is a great book to have and I keep going back to it every week while I grow my garden.
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