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Question

Skye
How does one take the chemical urban lawn and transform it to and organic garden?
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Answer

The answer to this question depends on how you define "organic" and also where your garden is located. If you mean "organic" in terms of certified organic, there are some basic criteria that need to be met for a farm or garden to qualify. These include: * avoidance of most synthetic chemical inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives, etc), genetically modified organisms, irradiation, and the use of sewage sludge; * use of farmland that has been free from synthetic chemicals for a number of years (often, three or more); * keeping detailed written production and sales records (audit trail); * maintaining strict physical separation of organic products from non-certified products; * undergoing periodic on-site inspections. As for the where, there are different certifying bodies for each region and country, each with its own certification requirements. During the transition period, a farm or garden cannot legally list its produce as organic. In the case of urban gardens, the situation can be more complex because often urban soils have more contaminants (such as lead) and its not simply a matter of waiting for water soluble chemicals to leech out of the soil, but removing or working to remediate soil. Your first step should be to have your soil tested so that you know what you're working with and what course of action is needed.

Question details

I have not seen any questions or mention of taking urban lawns to organic gardens. I have understood that anyone selling organic food has to insure the soil is chemical-free. Some places have to allow the soil to become fallow for three to five years or more or take the top soil to a chemical site, then recondition the soil. How is this addressed?

You need to read what Pattie did in Atlanta 3 years ago. She has written an update here:  http://www.foodshedplanet.com/2010/06/year-three-drug-free.html Either that, or come to Australia where we have never heard of all the stuff you put on your lawns!    Good luck,   Kate
I love that website. pp One way to absorb toxins is with zeolyte. Dirtdoctor.com has it on his web pages and recommends it for strange soils of unknown pasts.

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