snappea.gif (12015 bytes)

Le jardinage biologique
pour une
planète verte
("Organic Growing for a Greener

Il est surprenant d'apprendre que les engrais peuvent
causer plus de dommage que les pesticides. Pourtant, c'est un fait.
Certains engrais contiennent des composés nocifs soit qui polluent tout
court ou qui endommage le sol.

Il y a moyen de faire
pousser des légumes sans avoir recours
aux engrais synthétiques. La réponse est simple :
"le compost". Par ailleurs, plus
les engrais chimiques sont employés,
plus le sol en
question en devient dépendant,
exactement comme c'est le cas pour les
êtres humains et les drogues.




Standards for
Production Drafted

The following draft standards were developed by the Canadian General Standards Board,
part of the
Department of
Public Works,
along with organic

• No growth

• Breeding through
sexual intercourse, although permitting artificial insemination

• No sewage sludge

• No genetically
modified organisms

• No synthetic

• No food
irradiation to kill pathogens

• Provision of
attentive care to
promote health and behavioral needs of

• No growth-
promoting antibiotics
in feed, nor slaughterhouse

[from the
June 6, 1999
Globe and Mail]

Organic Growing for a Greener Planet


Leonard Fraser,
Earthcare, Executive Director
June 1999

f.gif (304 bytes)ertilizer is easy to buy, easy to use, and conveniently bagged, ready to go! It can be picked up at the supermarket, home centre, or even the drug store! But these synthetic chemical fertilizers, are causing great harm to the environment. In fact, more than half of the fertilizer used on lawns and gardens each year is washed away and wasted! These water soluble fertilizers usually contain products like ammonium nitrate or synthetic urea, by-products of the oil and gas industry. They are highly soluble, can burn plants and urea; if mixed with formaldehyde, is a suspected carcinogen. Furthermore, they can kill soil bacteria, one of the keys to a healthy garden.

Should gardeners be as concerned about fertilizer use as about pesticide use? Absolutely! The damage from synthetic chemical fertilizer use is probably more far reaching than that of pesticide use simply because more fertilizer is used. Also, soil micro-organisms are not encouraged which, in turn, can alter the way soil holds water and nutrients, which can eventually cause the soil structure to collapse. Lawns and gardens all over the world are "chemically dependent"; like human drug users. The more landscapes and gardens are managed, the more the treadmill of chemical application is increased. Eliot Roberts, director of the Lawn Institute, a U.S. based seed association, states, "The more chemicals you use, the more you disturb the natural biological processes that convert organic matter into nutrients to keep the lawn going." But there are safe alternatives to synthetic fertilizers that are not limited to the barnyard manure pile.

Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the three major nutrients in a bag of fertilizer. The number ratings such as 6-8-6 or 20-20-20, indicate the percentage of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in that particular bag. Industry markets chemical fertilizers as "organic based" or states claims of unimaginable results; so buyer beware and do not forget the old adage, "you get what you pay for."

Is compost enough to fertilize plants? Yes was the assumed answer until studies were done that discovered how much was being demanded of the soil.
While compost is the ultimate in soil amendments and a humus builder that enables soil microorganisms to flourish and give soil nutrients a stable home to live in, it does not contain enough available nutrients for most plants to thrive in. What plants really want is the right combination of compost and non-synthetic fertilizer. Compost spread at the rate of 9 cubic yards per 100 square feet yields the correct amount, a 1 inch layer.   As well, soil micro- organisms benefit the most if the compost is left on top of the soil as opposed to digging it in. By not digging in compost, you help maintain humus levels in soil and in turn control over activity of soil bacteria which consume too much nutrients in soil. Chemical fertilizers, because of their highly soluble nature, will deplete natural humus levels at a rapid rate.

Buying a bag of synthetic 6-8-6 fertilizer from the grocery store or lumber yard does nothing to ensure that gardens are being fed in a sustainable way. It is known that one cannot live on potato chips; even though they taste great and "fill a hole", they don’t give the body good nutrimental value. Think of fertilizers derived from mineral, plant and animal sources as the "meat and potatoes" of the garden, providing valuable nutrition to the garden which in turn gives back healthy and nutritious plants to eat. Feeding the soil feeds your plants.

The Canadian EarthCare Society (EarthCare), is concerned about the continued use of unsustainable agricultural products including synthetic chemical fertilizers and pesticides and is pleased to be able to provide garden fertilizers that don’t contaminate groundwater or destroy valuable soil micro-organisms.

In association with Gaia Green Products Ltd. of Grand Forks, B.C., EarthCare is now able to offer dozens of products that originate as minerals, plants or animals. These non-synthetic fertilizers include glacial rock dust, bone meal and alfalfa meal along with blended formulations. All are a non-synthetic source of food for plants and can be used in certified organic agricultural practices. Properly used, these fertilizers will feed plants and still remain safe for ground and stream water courses. EarthCare is a non-profit environmental organization that  has been based in Kelowna for nearly 15 years. Profit from fertilizer sales will help to support the organization’s mandate to protect the environment.

Contact: Earthcare, 1476 Water St., Kelowna, B.C. V1Y 8P2,
Telephone: 250-861-4788,
Leonard Fraser, Executive Director