July 24, 2016

Organic Gardening in Utah

utah organic gardening

Where to Draw the Line

“Organic” may be a simple choice for shoppers but can be a bureaucratic nightmare for farmers.

Becoming a certified organic farm takes years of time and mountains of record keeping. Fortunately, backyard gardeners can use environmentally friendly practices in their own gardens to produce healthier meals.

There are chemical free alternatives to pest control and fertilizing. You can avoid chemical insecticides by using soaps, and oils that either repel or exterminate garden pests. Gardeners can also purchase ladybugs or praying mantis eggs at local garden stores to control aphids, beetles, moths and fruit flies.

Plants such as marigolds and garlic repel garden pests. When planted close to crops, they keep bugs away. Diatomaceous earth has an abrasive feel and bugs don’t like to walk across it.

Jack Wilbur of the Utah Department of Agriculture says, “Look at what results you want and what you’re trying to control.” Once identified, choose products that will do the job.

Fertilizing without chemicals is even easier. Good compost is the best fertilizer. Manure is also great, but can get too hot. It is best spread on gardens in the fall or mixed with compost, peat moss and topsoil in the spring.

Young plants love nitrogen; it helps them grow. When they get bigger more phosphorous helps plants bear fruit. Blood meal is high in nitrogen and good for early spring. Use phosphorous-rich bone meal later in the growing season.

Wilbur says, “Going natural can take more time, and gardeners have to be more meticulous. More labor is involved in natural farming.” More labor, but it’s a labor of love.


  1. As a garden coach and organic gardener for over 25 years I disagree that organic methods take more time. Instead organic methods contribute to healthier soil which grows healthier plants which are less attractive to pests and diseases.
    Composted manure is not too hot.

    • Hi Beuna, Thanks for your comments. I would like to hear more about how you garden organically. As backyard gardener for 15 years now, I can’t get the same results using compost treatments, worm casings, teas or probiotics in my soil, as I can using granular fertilizer. If you would be interested in guest blogging on UtahStories.com on how you have achieved your results (perhaps with photos to show), I would love to publish it. I enjoy both sides of this debate, and I appreciate all of those gardeners who wish to go totally organic, but I feel sorry for them when I see their very small vegetables. I would like to be proven wrong.

  2. The organic farming should expand by our government. Since this is effective and safe method of planting. Aside from it is free from all pesticides and fertilizers. This is also the best producer of the food!

  3. Organic produce are the best food. It is free of fertilizers and pesticides. Government should encourage this type of farming.

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