Agriculture, Central New York, Consumer

Organic Gardening On The Rise

By Ben Roth SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — With the bright sunshine and warm temperatures Central New York experienced over the past few days, gardeners are beginning to come out of hibernation. Although gardeners might be eager to begin planting as soon as possible, Lisa Ballantyne, owner of Ballantyne Gardens in Liverpool, said early April is the time to prepare a garden for planting.

“After this weather in the next couple of days, people could get out and start raking up the old leaves, pulling out the mulch around things and just getting things cleaned up a little bit,” Ballantyne suggested. If gardeners do want to begin planting things, she said pansies or a pea plant could be planted now.

While much of gardening procedures stay consistent throughout generations, there has been an emphasis on gardeners switching to organic products so they know exactly where their food is coming from. A few food scares in recent years has convinced people to make the switch to organic.

“There are a lot of fruits and vegetables in the grocery store that we know has fairly high pesticides loads and if you can grow some of your own strawberries, grow some of your own tomatoes, grow your own leaf lettuce, you’ll be better off,” Ballantyne said.

With more and more customers coming in looking to buy organic, Ballantyne has had to make sure her shelves are stocked with organic products to better serve her customers.

“We’ve increased our availability of organic vegetable starts, organic herb starts so that’s been a popular route for us to go to,” Ballantyne said.

Although organic gardening does have its benefits, one downside is it does cost consumers a few extra dollars at the cash register. However, if a gardener uses organic lawn fertilizer, it may cost more up front but because the microbeads in the organic fertilizer make the lawn healthier, you won’t have to fertilize as often, cutting down on the cost in the long run.

As with anything someone might buy, Ballantyne said, you get what you pay for.