The Importance of Organic Gardening

What exactly is organic gardening? A basic definition is gardening without synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. But it is much more than simply replacing man-made chemicals with those derived from natural sources. It is a philosophy of gardening that supports the health of the whole ecosystem.

“Pine Tree Nursery’s philosophy is to support the environment in any way we can,” said Jeanie Gillis, manager of Pine Tree Nursery and Landscaping, in South Chatham. “We’re really trying to problem solve, but in an organic way. We’re very careful about giving advice, because we want to be stewards of the land – particularly when it comes to the vegetables and flowers that you eat. So, we’re careful about how we guide our gardeners.”

The majority of the products sold at Pine Tree Nursery are organic, she said, from soils to fertilizers. And you may think that “organic” equals “pricey,” but that’s not necessarily the case. “Right now, our organic products are less expensive than the commercial brands,” Gillis said, and not only less expensive, but much healthier for your garden.

Instead of focusing on feeding individual plants, organic gardening focuses on feeding the soil. Healthy soil is the key to healthy plants and an abundant harvest without the use of chemical additives. Organic gardens can be any size, depending on the space and time you have to work it. For those with limited space and time, container gardens offer a way to enjoy the health benefits of organically grown produce with minimal effort.

Raised beds are another way to control the soil in an organic garden, and both container gardens and raised beds allow individuals with physical limitations access to the benefits organic gardening has to offer. Plant selection will also determine the type of containers needed but most plants are easily adaptable to both raised bed plantings and containers with or without a trellis or support type system.

Gillis said they ask their customers a lot of questions in regard to what they want to accomplish with their gardens and with gardening organically. It’s important to know what their goals are, she said, so the best advice and products can be offered.

“Whether it’s to grow the plants or protect them, we like to ask a lot of questions about what the customer’s goal is. Even though we know the bunnies are cute, but they will eat your gardens. We offer different all kinds of natural repellants and methods to discourage them from getting in the garden. We love nature, but we know you’ve worked hard to grow your plants,” Gillis said.

She added that Pine Tree Nursery also sells many alternative products that are natural repellants, like oils and sprays, made with natural materials, to keep the insects off the plants. “We have a great product that’s a fertilizer you mix with water, and it’s made from alpaca manure. It’s repellant to deer because they’re in the same family as alpacas. It’s also the first fertilizer we’ve used that has no fragrance. It’s very potent, easy to use, and really makes everything grow better.”

Gillis also said they like to network with people from other garden centers who have their own formulas for repellants. “If that have a good formula, we may share it,” she said.

Now is the time to break down plants and vegetables that have gone by, according to Gillis. “If they show age, put debris in a compost pile. If there is evidence of disease or insects, take them to the landfill. When everything is cut down, blanket your gardens with a nice layer of compost.” The compost will enrich the soil and provide winter protection for the roots of perennials, tree and shrubs.

Organic gardening offers so many benefits, including better tasting food, healthier soil, saving money on buying food at organic markets or grocery stores, a cleaner environment with less pesticide, and it gives the gardener the satisfaction of knowing they grew their own food. They tilled their own soil, planted those vegetables from seed, and worked to provide for themselves and their families.

To learn more about organic gardening, visit Pine Tree Nursery and Landscaping at 200 Route 137, in South Chatham. You can also visit them online at

Sponsored Content

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy