Pic's Organic Gardening

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

What if you became a green giant? Not a clone of the Hulk of the food industry, but a herald of biodiversity, gardening while caring for the soil. Because no offense to the king of corn and canned beans, the organic grower feeds the soil and not the plant. However, in this regard, the situation is alarming: by dint of using synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, we are in the process of killing all life in the soil.

Sowing seeds ecoresponsible, such is the approach of Pic, draftsman, sculptor and gardener-composter, in his latest book, Organic gardening in comic strips, a free adaptation of a 600-page bible published in 2015 on organic gardening: The Organic Grow Book by Karel Schelfhout – a figure in organic horticulture for thirty years and producer of organic fertilizer kits – and journalist Michiel Panhuysen.

The initial sowing is simple: do your part, from your own garden, to preserve the planet. Applying Gandhi's quote "You must be the change you want to see in this world" to the letter and to the earth, Pic urges budding horticulturists and professionals alike to reflect on their way of gardening and to adopt the right gestures, “in particular the rule of “8 Rs”: Recover, Recycle, Repair, Reuse, Refuse (useless or polluting stuff), Reduce (its consumption), Replace (plastic with glass or bamboo) and Find out (origin, composition, etc.).

Pic the pedagogue uses all his palette to illustrate this necessary awareness: in addition to the three characters who guide us throughout this bioethical epic - Karel the expert gardener, Pinpin his rabbit and assistant and Fran' the apprentice gardener - , there is a Humus Force policeman, a boxing bacterium, a pachyderm troop dangerously compacting the ground during a rave party, a Batman who "delivers" his fertile bat guano, Tibetan monks under form of bacteria, but also a number of nods, especially to the science fiction film Green Sun by Richard Fleischer, released in 1973, which paints an apocalyptic world that has exhausted its natural resources.

With a lot of humor and impertinence, Pic alternates practical advice (palm of the hand test to test the content of a soil), offbeat information (a fox eats 6000 mice on average per year, thus protecting crops) , without forgetting a few volleys of green wood against the lobbies of intensive agriculture. No, organic is neither a fad nor a game of poker.

Over the course of 126 pages, the author takes a tour of the perfect vegetable garden in a fun way, recalling the basics (the natural cycle, plants, life in the soil, green manures, nutrients and organic fertilizers, etc.) before decipher tomorrow's strategies and eco-responsible behaviors (bokashi compost, or "fermented organic waste" in Japanese, biodynamic preparations, permaculture, bioponics, vertical gardens and green roofs, etc.).

More than a practical guide, this book is a eulogy to the ecological transition, a way to get out of your backyard without leaving your piece of greenery. Or how to have a truly green thumb.

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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