This is perhaps the most common question that pops up when new customers meet us for the first time. I am a firm believer in the organic movement, I follow the theories of permaculture and use natural gardening processes wherever I can.
However, at this time, I use commercial potting mix, I feed my flowering ornamentals with commercial plant food, and I am not certified. But when it comes to anything that feeds us, the bees and pollinating insects, or directly affects the environment I draw the line. If there is another way around it I will not use spray. This means that at this time, all weeds are pulled by hand (no herbicides), and all insects are dealt with by manual means as much as possible (no pesticides). I even harvest rain water so as not to bombard my seedlings with the chlorine and fluoride that is present in our town water supply. All vegetable and herb seedlings are fed with fish and seaweed based liquid fertilisers rather than a commercially prepared chemical concoction.
I do incur some losses with this way of handling things, but by discarding the plants that are most affected by pest and disease, and by propagating from those that are not damaged I will hopefully get my stock to a point where such problems are less likely to occur. I hope that eventually Goodlife Gardens can achieve an organic certification but at this time and on this property, it is not currently an achievable option for us.
If you are looking to purchase a product (from anyone - not just us!) and wish to be sure it is actually organic - the best assurance you can have is to ask which body they are certified with. To be Certified Organic means they have been through a strict auditing process and both the property and the products used have been assessed for any issues that could negate their organic status. In NZ the main certification bodies are as follows:
It may not be the easiest way to do things - but the easiest way is not always the right way. Good things take time and if the result is a healthier environment and healthier plants, then that is all the motivation I need to continue down this path.
I'm Kimberley, and I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I am very passionate about growing strong healthy plants that enrich us and our environment. Welcome to my place - feel free to look around!