Practicing organic horticulture for private use or as a commercial activity is the best way to produce the delights of the garden while fully respecting the environment and the health of the consumer. Any initiative of this kind is certainly worthy of praise and deserves to be supported in all respects. To implement this type of crop, avoid using any type of chemical product, using only natural products.
Origins of Organic Agriculture
The conditions for the birth of Organic Agriculture in Europe date back to the first half of the last century from the evolution of two theories of thought, one linked to Steiner's biodynamic agriculture and the other to the British Soil Association founded by Lady Balfour and which had the intent to promote agriculture of this type. The first experiences in this type of cultivation took place in Italy starting from the sixties and then found more widespread in the following decade. Then towards the end of the twentieth century, a process of organization of the sector was put in place which established several control bodies which are now recognized and operate in collaboration with the central authorities of the member states.
Organic farming is a cultivation technique that allows only the use of natural substances, both as regards the preparation of the soil and the fight against harmful insects. You must therefore exclude all synthetic substances, such as insecticides and herbicides, a priori. To guarantee the optimal and necessary fertility of the soil, in addition to using natural fertilizers such as manure or compost, you will have the opportunity to apply techniques such as the so-called crop rotation. This method of cultivation consists in alternating over the years the cultivation of different plants on the same soil in order to favor a more rational use of the nutrients present in the soil. Moreover, in this way, the settling of species-specific parasites is also hindered. The fight against the latter must be conducted with biological methods, for example by favoring those who are their natural predators. You will have to place near the cultivated fields hedges and plants suitable for hosting insects or birds that usually feed on harmful plant organisms. You can also grow in association with the main crop, a plant that is useful to it in the fight against pests. Two widely used plants are Tagete and Mustard, which are able to perform a repellent action. In essence, to practice organic farming, you will have to take into account not only the productivity, but also the preservation of the ecosystem in its entirety avoiding to generate negative effects on the environment.
How to practice organic farming in Italy
If you are the owner of an agricultural land and want to grow it following the dictates of organic farming to sell your products, you will first have to attend to some bureaucratic issues. A particular admission procedure to the control system must be followed. In practice as a producer, you will have to complete a notification of organic production activity with reference to the control body you have chosen. You will also have to make a description as complete as possible of the production unit and the places where it will be carried out, as well as of all the measures that you will have to introduce in the production line to guarantee compliance with all the provisions relating to organic farming. After the appropriate checks by the Region and the selected control body, once the time required for carrying out the analysis and practices has passed, if the outcome is positive you will receive a notification of conformity. Once the certificate of conformity has been received, the region will register you in the regional list of organic operators and send you the notification of registration. At this point you will have to present an annual production program by filling in a special form that you can find at the control body.
The organic garden
There are many vegetables that you can decide to cultivate according to the principles of organic horticulture and the secret for a good start lies in the preparation of the soil. First you will have to set up a project for the subdivision of the land to house the various crops. In autumn you will have to eliminate the weeds, build the passageways that will allow you access between the different "zones" and aerate the land that will have to be appropriately raked. At the beginning of spring the soil will be enriched by adding organic fertilizers such as mature and dry manure, which will be distributed in the most superficial layer. The so-called "green manure" technique is widely used, which consists in cultivating particular herbs which are then cut and left to decompose on the ground itself, allowing further enrichment. Outdoor sowing will obviously vary over time depending on the type of vegetable or vegetable. We must try to choose varieties that have characteristics of resistance to the main diseases that could attack the crop. If you opt for the cultivation of the salad you will have many varieties available that will allow you to have a good harvest almost all year round, from lettuce to chicory, from red radicchio to rocket. Excellent results are also obtained with tomatoes, onions, leeks, carrots, courgettes and more. Virtually everything can be grown in the organic garden. You certainly can't miss the aromatic plants like rosemary, sage, thyme and basil, which always give great satisfaction.
You will eat and produce healthier, perhaps with some sacrifice, but certainly with so much satisfaction.