Organic farming VS Conventional farming

With so much controversy over this somewhat sensitive subject. I have taken the time to share my thoughts on organic gardening versus gardening via conventional methods (The use of common pesticides, insecticides and herbicides etc). Including points ranging from positive to negative. Implications and practicalities, advantages and disadvantages. And some helpful tips and hopeful encouragement along the way. 

This article will be looking at plant life and crop farming only.

Let us first look at what organic gardening entails. The phrase itself is rather fatuous as everything to-date is organic in presence. Whilst certain objects may be grafted together from synthetic compounds. There origin is from naturally occurring compounds nonetheless.

All food is organic by nature. Even those grown by use of conventional ways. This even includes GMO crops which have been modified at the molecular level. They're still classed as living matter. Therefore organic matter.

So how can gardening be organic? Well, while the phrase "Organic gardening" still remains rather fatuous and improper to a certain degree. It's what the use of the phrase implies.

Organic gardening or more accurately put "Earth friendly gardening", is exactly that. Making use of eco-friendly methods which do not harm the biodiversity of our earth. In most circumstances, if not all, these methods can offer a great benefit to the land and wildlife that encompass it.

Organic produce is cultivated without the usage of any modern fertilizers, pesticides, petroleum based substances that are so widely used today and any or all chemically produced concoctions.

Some of the relevant methods used in organic farming may range from: 

  • Crop rotation (To reduce pests in one certain area and to also fix the nitrogen levels in soil)
  • Mulches (Which covers the surrounding area around the plant of group thereof, holds in moisture, provides nutrients and prevents soil erosion)
  • Vermicompost (The use of worm farms or worm bins to create very high quality compost from organic waste)
  • Natural habitat creation (This would include: providing shelter and housing for small insects and creatures that would benefit the land. Such as beehives for bee's and perhaps hedgehog houses for hedgehogs which eat slugs).
  • Pest control (There are many methods for friendly pest control. From encouraging predators to careful plant selection. Crop rotation and using row covers to cover crops. Disease resistant varieties of plants).

To find the advantages and benefits of gardening or farming organically. Let us analyze and dissect the disadvantages and the possible negative side effects of conventional farming methods.

Wide scale agriculture, or industrial agriculture. The sort of massive operations that stock our local supermarkets today use a handful of methods to achieve a regular, high yield and moderately healthy harvest.

Although with certain needs to be met, ratios to be maintained and shelves to be stocked, liability and pressure from contractual obligations and so fourth. It's quite logical to say that most farmers to day don't use the most friendly methods available to meet their requirements.

Organic gardening requires slightly more effort in comparison to the ordinary methods utilized when gardening or farming. Particularly at the beginning of any new renovation with a vegetable plot or just a garden.

As an example: Whereas an average gardener would simply pour a load of herbicide over a weed ridden patch. And with that being potentially harmful to the biodiversity and other life. An eco-friendly gardener who uses organic methods of cultivation would instead, spend time and effort cutting, digging, collecting and composting all of those weeds.

In this instance, whilst the use of weed killing chemicals seems so effortless, and the second option to the contrary. The organic method should be far more preferred. Whereas the conventional gardener would more than likely allow the weeds to regrow after using herbicide. And then just repeating the process over and over again. The organic gardener in this instance would perhaps implement measures to insure weed growth would be restricted if not completely eliminated in the future. Perhaps by using weed matting, boiling water, turning up a few inches of the topsoil regularly or by simply pulling weeds up when they're noticeable. You can even buy organic herbicides these days as well.

Not to say a gardener who uses conventional methods wouldn't take advantage of weed preventative measures in the future. However, more often than not it seems the case that many of them fail to.

From these two simple comparisons alone you can probably recognize the effort that initially goes into organic gardening. However, by creating a diversity of species and insects through organic gardening methods. By reducing usage of harsh chemicals and implementing earth friendly methods in addition. Your garden will not only become much more vibrant and offer a good variety of healthy plants, nutritious fruits and vegetables. But it will also be void of the harmful pollutants created by man and thus be far more healthier for yourself, your plants and for all that nature has to offer.

Below I've constructed a few points ranging from negative to positive.

Organic Gardening


  • Beneficial to nature, encourages diversity with insects and plant species

  • Creates a natural habitat using earth-friendly methods
  • Sustainable
  • Eliminates the use of toxic, hazardous chemicals and fertilizers
  • Makes for great tasting, healthy and nutritious vegetables and fruits!
  • Reduced waste, good use of recycled foods. The use of homemade compost is another factor
  • Great fun and easy to do with gardens and allotments 

  • Saves money that would be spent on expensive fertilizers and other chemicals. Also saves money on organic fruits and vegetables that are usually quite highly priced these days
  • Reduced CO2 emissions
  • The feeling of being in harmony and finding yourself in touch with nature


  • Requires a little more effort at the beginning
  • Quite regularly, you will have to check crops for signs of insects or disease 
  • Crops can be completely ruined by insects if not managed properly
  • Requires a certain degree of knowledge about nature itself. Be it insects and there predators, vulnerabilities and habits. And plants, especially how they work together with one another and attract certain beneficial insects

Conventional Methods


  • Effortless in comparison to organic gardening. With the use of chemicals to control weeds and pesticides to control pest etc
  • Can sometimes increase crop yield due to them being free from insects and diseases which can hinder yield
  • Very helpful with large scale agriculture
  • Offers plentiful amounts of food which are also relatively inexpensive
  • Creates a thriving, pest free, healthy looking plant
  • Without large scale agriculture many millions of people may starve
  • Creates jobs that every economy needs


  • The use of huge amounts of water, chemicals and energy
  • Damages biodiversity with the use of toxic chemicals. Even kills some if not most of the beneficial insects we rely on
  • The use of huge amounts of water, chemicals and energy
  • Toxic insecticides and herbicides accumulate in the soil and eventually run off into small streams and reservoirs damaging fish stocks and also contaminating natural water ways
  • Increases global warming due to excessive use of heavy machinery, aerial crop spraying 
  • Possible negative effects on human health

  • Certain plants eventually (Especially recently) have shown to build up immunity to weed killing chemicals. Along with some species of insects and pests showing mutations and immunity to pesticides and insecticides 

  • Vegetables and fruits may lack in nutritional content as they're grown to "look" healthy rather than actually "be" healthy

If you're a keen gardener. I urge you to switch to completely organic methods. They're so easy implemented on a small scale basis. Your fruits and vegetables will taste far more pleasant and you will almost definitely be more healthy eating foods free from chemicals.

As you may probably gather, conventional methods that're used are almost necessary for wide scale agricultural situations. With so many billions of people alive to date. It would be impossible to feed these many millions of persons without such methods of agriculture. The use of organic methods on such a scale would be far more difficult if not impossible to manage.

Although with the a broad understanding of nature itself, and a correct application of organic methods, farmers who use conventional methods can significantly reduce there usage of chemicals, steadily introduce more sustainable, organic methods of farming. Ultimately producing higher quality, more healthy and nutritious fruits and vegetables for us to eat. Not forgetting the beneficial aspects brought toward the earth that would not previously be present if farmers still used today's current methods.

In the long run, herbicides and insecticides do not work. There was a case recently whereby farmers who had used Monsanto's roundup herbicide were reporting mutations in weeds. The weeds had adapted to Monsanto's roundup and became "super weeds". Growing far more vigorously than before and even more stronger. There have even been reports of insects showing mutations and resistance to certain chemicals! 

It is evident, as history has shown and as the mainstream media reports. Nature will always find a way to survive. Even those of strange and bizarre mutations. The best strategy here is not to fight it, but to embrace, learn, adapt sensibly.

I can't imagine a situation were the use of chemicals in wide scale agriculture is not used. The only remedy here would be smaller, more community based farms. Introducing organic only methods, or even just the good will of people, sharing their homegrown vegetables and fruits amongst their neighbours.

I think it is time we examined our impact on the earth. The evidence is there for whoever cares to see. We need to switch from the currently employed unsustainable wide scale agriculture to more sustainable technologies that benefit not only us humans but the earth in which we all share and consider our home.