Organic gardening and living green is about taking the extra step to making sure you are living, eating healthy, and protecting our environment against dangerous toxins. Gardeners that are devoted to pesticide-free growing and living naturally, want to plant (and eat) edibles that are safe, or keep flower beds and soil naturally healthy.
Dangers of Pesticides:
- Chemical pesticides affect the nervous system while others cause cancer.
- Some chemicals cause irritation to the skin or eyes, and others affect hormones or systems in the body. Amazing some war-time chemicals that were used as weapons are still in used in pesticides today.
- Washing non-organic produce may help to remove some residual pesticide, but it can not remove it all and the chemicals leech into our water supply which affects the people, soil, wildlife, pets, other plants, and beneficial pests.
- Children are at a higher risk because they are still growing and tend to put many things in their mouths. When they ingest toxic pesticides it can lead to developmental delays.
- Another very important factor is many scientists believe that pesticides are one of the contributing factors to the decline of bees.
Eating organic, living a green lifestyle, and avoiding processed foods will drastically reduce these and other pesticide-related health problems and help you and your family on the road to a healthy life.
Here are some great tips and key steps you can take to get and keep the pesticides out of your garden and live organically:
1. Grow on a good foundation. Healthy plants love healthy soil – soil that’s regularly changed with compost or supplemented if it’s too sandy or clayey. Have your soil tested to discover its composition and add nutrients as needed. Each spring, dig in several inches of compost, protect your plants yearly or seasonally with a healthy layer of organic mulch, and clear out any dead plant material at the growing season’s end.
2. Match your plants to your growing climate. If you have plants that struggle and strain through the growing season, they may not be a good fit, either for the spot they’re in or for your climate. For example, sun-loving phlox may be more susceptible to wilt or mold if planted in a shady, wet location. Shrubs hardy only to USDA Zone 5 may struggle after a particularly difficult, long, and cold winter. Choose your plants carefully and plant them as recommended.
3. Be diverse. Some plants need more of a certain kind of nutrient or mineral, such as nitrogen. If you plant the same thing over and over in the same spot, you’ll deplete your soil of the very thing the plants require. You’ll also encourage nuisance bugs to take up residence – think squash bugs that overwinter in the ground and feed on the same plot of melons each year. Your yearly garden plan should include a diverse crop with a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Rotating plants helps, too. In a veggie garden, swap out spots, moving your tomatoes and peppers from year to year and skipping cucumbers if squash bugs have taken up residence.
4. Let the good Bugs Live. Do not assume that all bugs are bad. Just because you see a bug doesn’t mean it needs to be removed. If you spray pesticides, you may be killing helpful bugs and other garden bugs that actually prey on other bad bugs. For example, beetles and lizards gnaw on slugs, while ladybugs and wasps love to gorge on plant-killing aphids. If you’re not sure which bugs are good and which are bad, check with your local extension service for a guide.
5. Inspect your plants regularly. If bugs or other pests start to make inroads into your garden, quick detection may prevent them from taking over. Regularly check your garden and plants for discolored leaves, wilting plants, or other signs of damage. Remove weeds as they sprout so they don’t end up competing with your flowers and vegetables for nutrients and sunshine. If your garden is enduring a bad dry spell, water well and deeply at least once per week. Remove any plants that cannot be saved to stave off the spread of disease.
6. Use barriers if you can. Not all pests are from the insects world. Raccoons, rabbits, ground hops, and deer can destroy your garden in just a night. If you can, fence your garden beds to discourage four-legged pests.
7. Try organic sprays and remedies. There are over-the-counter remedies that are not full of chemicals and are certified organic. A natural non-toxic pest control that I love and works wonders is Diatomaceous Earth. Read more about this “Diatomaceous Earth – Use it for What? . If your goal is a pesticide-free garden and living a healthy green lifestyle then consider them as a remedy for a persistent problem.
Some DIY home remedies that work great too and can save you money.
Information provided by Kelly Roberson From fix.com/blog/pesticide-free-gardening/
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