Flowers benefit from organic gardening because the compost used is well-balanced with nutrients that encourage blooms and foliage growth. Vegetables that are raised organically have been shown to have higher levels of the nutrients needed to stay healthy, according to a long-term study by scientists at U.C. California at Davis. Organic gardeners do not use the harmful chemical pesticides that leave residue on food.
The Organic Trade Association's 2010 Organic Industry Survey reported that "sales of organic fruits and vegetables have grown from $2.55 billion, representing approximately 3 percent of all fruit and vegetable sales, to the nearly $9.5 billion level and 11.4 penetration" of 2009. All vegetables benefit from using nutrient-rich compost as fertilizer and natural organic insect sprays to control harmful pests. For home gardens, tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow. There are many varieties of heirloom tomatoes available as plants and seeds at garden centers. Heirloom tomatoes such as Aunt Ruby's Green German, Stupice and the legendary Mortgage Lifter are intensely flavored and grow on vines that can reach to 10 feet long. Other popular vegetables to grow organically at home include Round French zucchini, Shiraz beets, Kentucky Wonder pole beans and Rhubarb chard.
Organic care for flowers includes adding compost to the soil at planting time and as a fertilizer side dressing throughout the growing season. Microorganisms in compost release nutrients to the root system in cycles geared to the plant's needs. Nitrogen fertilizers create an artificial burst of growth but do not continue feeding the plant. Flowers such as roses are heavy feeders and thrive when given compost on a regular schedule. Spring flowering bulbs and perennials such as dahlia, candytuft and daylilies benefit from organic gardening care that includes compost and natural pest prevention.
It can be easy to forget to fertilize flowering shrubs such as camellia, azalea, lilac and honeysuckle. Perennial shrubs can be planted anytime from spring to fall in well-drained soil that has been amended with compost. Add only low doses of compost as fertilizer during the first year as the plant's root system becomes established. When insects such as aphids become a problem, there are several types of organic remedies to use, such as garlic or dish soap spray. Fungus and mildew diseases respond to treatment with milk spray.