Sunday, 10 August 2008

Are Animal Manures Organic?

I had an interesting conversation with someone the other night about organic gardening. He maintained that the animal manures we can purchase (eg, cow, sheep, poultry) are not truly organic products because of the hormones and/or antibiotics the animals are fed.

However, most advocates of domestic organic food production seem to use them, as I'm sure do most of us. The person I was talking to said that he considered the only "organic" fertilisers commonly available to home gardeners were fish emulsion, seaweed extract and home-made compost.

Granted, the fish emulsion and seaweed extract probably are "organic", but we know our oceans and waterways are often polluted and are therefore contaminants will most likely be present in the fish and the seaweed. As for compost, how many of us manage to have the only components in our compost fully "organic"? For example, I add shredded paper to mine, which I would almost guarantee is not totally "organic".

Which leads me to wonder about the time it might take for "non-organic" components to break down to the point of being relatively harmless. If this break down does occur within a reasonable period of time, maybe the manures we buy are OK, as they tend to be heat composted.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

love and light
naturewitch

6 comments:

molly said...

I don't think there is a place left on the face of the earth that isn't touched by one chemical or other sadly.
Even our own soils, no matter how organic we behave with them are affected, particulate matter, fall out in rain, air pollution blowing in etc etc etc
What mankind has done to our home is beyond words, and, I fear, beyond ever really being cleaned up completely.

Blessings:)

Cheryl said...

Although I am an organic gardener....I do not use sprays or chemicals of any kind....manures.....how far do you go....I use organic chicken manure and my own compost....like you I add shredded paper....I must say I am happy with what I do, I think it is impossible to be 'totally' pure, if there is such a thing....

Crazy Mumma said...

No, I agree, it's impossible to have totally "organic" garden, if by that you mean one that is completely untouched by chemicals. I live not very far from the former BHP site, and the current ComSteel and OneSteel sites - when it rains, who knows what is mixed with the rain that is falling on my plants? I do try to buy certified organic manure and mulch if I can find it, meaning it is free from antibiotics and hormones, but as you say, ther are many other things I use in my compost that are certainly not chemical-free... It would do my head in to contemplate it in detail I think!

naturewitch said...

Thanks for your comments. I too think we've gone beyond redemption with chemical and biological contamination of our soils. xx

flmom said...

I've brought this up to my hubby many times. I don't believe anything is truly pure. I think we've gone beyond the possibility of that.

Apprentice Domestic Goddess said...

I was surprised last week when an organic gardener I know recommended Dynamic Lifter. Thinking about what commercial chickens are fed makes me feel a bit queasy about it.

I've been sticking with homemade chook poo and liquid fertilizer from chook poo, but perhaps I just need to bite the bullet and accept that homegrown organic veg might just not be that organic...