Organic and Sustainable
Gardening in Baltimore
Urban farming, organic gardening and backyard food production are taking off in Baltimore. Organic gardening in Baltimore is a great way to reconnect with your food source while taking care of your body and our planet. Growing your own food also allows you to enjoy the freshest, healthiest most delicious produce Charm City has to offer.
But what exactly is organic gardening? What does organic gardening in Baltimore look like? First, let’s get our terms straight:
Organic Gardening: growing produce without the use of any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers. Edible Eden’s gardening practices are all organic. Not all of the soils, seeds or seedlings we use are certified Organic.**
Sustainable Gardening: Sustainable usually implies organic as a growing practice but not necessarily certified Organic. Sustainable gardens often aspire to closed loop nutrient systems, include perennials that support pollinator species and feature environmentally beneficial practices like sheet mulching and companion planting.
Urban Gardening: leveraging tight, non-traditional, urban spaces to grow edible plants. Rooftop gardens, vertical gardens and raised beds in urban lots are all examples of urban gardening. Due to the fact that many urban soils are contaminated with lead and other toxins, most urban farms and gardens rely on raised bed or container growing systems.
Permaculture: is a holistic design methodology inspired by natural systems and patterns that aspires to create sustainable human communities. Edible Eden offers permaculture workshops of varying lengths under our wellness programs and creates permaculture designs for larger projects.
Ecological Gardens: Gardens that replicate natural, ecological systems and offer haven and fodder for birds, bees and other lifeforms.
Pollinator or Wildlife gardens: Usually perennial based gardens focusing mostly on flowering and fruiting native plants that offer birds and other wildlife year-round shelter, food and nesting materials. Edible Eden creates pollinator gardens that feature a variety of cutting flowers as well.
**The term Organic can mean two different things: capital “O” Organic means Certified Organic, lower-case organic just means using growing practices that eschew synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
Here in the USA, the certification process is overseen by accredited private, or State certifying entities that follow USDA regulations. While Organic produce can be relied upon to meet certain standards and as such is better for your health and for the environment than conventional produce, it is also part of a bureaucratic system setup to favor large scale producers. The cost in labor, record keeping and materials to become certified Organic is sometimes unattainable for small local producers.
Using the term sustainable gardening is a way of highlighting the values and beliefs of the grower without implying a USDA certification process. In sustainable gardens we seek to produce food with minimal inputs and with as little harm to the natural environment as possible. Sustainable gardening is part philosophy, part design and part getting your hands dirty.
Edible Eden practices sustainable gardening in a variety of ways:
Using only Organic amendments, pest deterrents and fertilizers and only when necessary
Composting, ideally onsite
Using drip irrigation systems for water conservation
Including native perennials in every garden
Designing with sustainability in mind