It’s about time to put some plants in the ground here in Chapel Hill, NC and I am wondering about buying plants that have already been started using chemical fertilizers (specifically tomato and pepper plants). Unfortunatly I don’t have access to organic starter plants, and wondered if it would be OK to use these in an organic garden. Specifically, would the varieties used (big boy tomotoes, etc..) jive with organic ferts? And also would it be too much to ask a plant that has started on chemical ferts to make the transition? Please keep in mind that this is my first attempt at gardening.

I’d worry a lot more about chemical pesticides/herbicides. While I hate the idea of using chemical fertilizers, it as much to do with whom I would be supporting (the evil bastards at companies like *Monsanto*) and how my food tastes when fed a diet of chemies. I’ve eaten Miracle-Gro ┬╗maters. They’re nowhere near as tasty as my compost-fed ones. I think it has something to do with the fact that chemical fertilizers are the equivalent of table sugar and a multivitamin, whereas compost is a nutritious, complete meal.

I completely agree, but as this is my first year gardening I would like to start out with some storebought plants and some from seed (organic seed of course). Around here it is hard to find plants started organically and I just kind of wondered about using plants that were started on chem ferts if they would do ok being transfered into an organic garden.

So long as you give them the nutrients they need, i.e. Plant them in fertile soil, they should be fine. The actual nutrients they’re getting, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, etc., are the same regardless of whether it’s from an organic or petrochemical source. The big difference is the mode of uptake (petrochemicals are like a fast shot in the arm, organic is nice slow absorption) and the effect on the soil (organic tends to build up the soil structure, petrochemicals don’t). I’m probably simplifying the issue but bottom line is your plants should be fine if you transplant them to nice fertile organic soil.