Organic Gardening For Fun and Food:
This is our little piece of heaven. From the pictures you might guess (correctly) that Dave is the major work force in our garden; both the outdoor and our greenhouse. I am his first mate, so to speak.
Notice this outdoor garden is sparsely planted and a trifle weedy right now in May. Where we live we have a very heavy, wet clay soil, cool temperatures and lots of rain, that makes spring planting a challenge and often late.
That is why we are falling in love with our raised beds and greenhouse. Raised beds can grow food successfully most of the year with great,(imported and amended), soil and much better produce quality. And they reduce our work immensely!
Organically grown produce is so flavorful! It’s also safe for pollinators and people. Imagine that!
The very best crop we grow outdoors, and constantly battle, is weeds. The raised beds really help there too. It’s much easier to keep weeds down in the raised beds and to discover pest damage early as well! In the not too distant past we would use chemical herbicides like,(cringe), Glyphosate To control the weeds in our walkways, driveways and fence lines.
We were told by the nursery people that in two weeks round up would totally break down and be out of the soil. What a miracle! (read too good to be true!). The latest health information we are getting on Glyphosate is devastating. This herbicide is noxious to humans and pollinators! We have used pesticides too, all unknowing, about the potential to destroy our groundwater, pollinators, and ourselves.
After all, we are just a tiny plot of land with very little impact in the greater scheme of things; right? They wouldn’t sell stuff that was really bad for us…right?Isn’t the EPA regulating this stuff so it’s safe??? Why worry? Well now we are worrying!!
We don’t know right now what the truth is about the impact of all the pesticides and herbicides on our environment, our pollinators and our own bodies. Many factors are involved other than chemicals (like genetic modification and lack of diversity in our food crops and pollinators).
Dave and I are done playing Russian Roulette with things potentially so destructive of life, in any form. SOMETHING (probably LOTS of somethings) is causing out of control diseases in people and animals, drastic reduction of the pollinators of all sorts and serious destruction of soil and water quality. Dave and I see that our choice is to control what WE use and choose and also the choices we make as to who we support with our energy, time and money.
Working on the Organic Gardening Process:
We are organic gardening, as best we can, and supporting local entrepreneurs, and organic farmers. It’s a weaning process and the choice not to use tried and true chemicals and, easy access, conventionally grown food, costs us more in time and money.
Doing the extra work of organic gardening comes with the choice to take more bug damage and plant losses. (We are using vinegar and salt on the weeds with limited results.) The produce we are getting is mostly very lovely and inviting to eat. Also it’s NOT full of chemicals. Nice perk! So it’s a worthwhile way of life. Not a romantic walk in the park with a perfect, weed free, property. We deal with it.
The pollinators issue is gravely concerning.
Researchers are still studying this subject. but it’s looking more and more like the pesticides and chemical fertilizers and even the GMO plants we buy at the local store are destroying the pollinators. This is a REALLY big deal. The bees are dying incredibly fast. Consider this comment from the Center for Food Safety.
One of every three bites of food we eat is from a crop pollinated by honey bees. Yet, over the past decade, we have witnessed an alarming decline in honey bee populations across the world. During this time, there have been dozens of published, peer-reviewed scientific studies linking bee declines to pesticide use – illustrating the overwhelming effects that toxic chemicals are having not just on honey bees, but also on native bees and other critical beneficial insects. Even though the European Union has taken action and implemented a ban on the use of certain pesticides detrimental to pollinator species, our environment and our future food security, the U.S. still allows for their use.
A Call To Action:
To me, this is a call to action. We must not wait for our government to place a ban on certain chemicals that harm us, the earth and our pollinators. Time is precious here. The consequences of the “better living through chemistry,” approach to our cultural standards and norms must be reset.
We are each responsible for our own health, and the impact we place on our own little corner of the world. Please consider these words. It’s time to go the distance, do the research and, to the best of our ability, embrace a larger concept of living. I’m looking at my own yard. The bees have declined for a long time. But my neighbor has bee hives and I still don’t have many bees buzzing around. That worries me. A lot!
What will happen when they are gone? The fish and wildlife service has a page of suggestions for direct action we can each take in our own yards. Most important to my way of thinking is to stop poisoning them (and us) with pesticides and herbicides. It’s fun and helpful to grow a garden attractive to pollinators; but consider well before you do this.
If your yard is a toxic dump to pollinators clean it up before you lure them to their doom. We are losing them so fast we have no time for long learning curves. We must teach ourselves how to protect the pollinating insects in our yards quickly. We may not get too many second chances.
The Reward of an Organic Garden:
According to Rodale research The solution to climate change is organic gardening Think about that, growing our gardens and flowers organically can make a positive difference. How simple it is to be in the solution one yard at a time.
Let’s encourage each other to throw out the poisons in our cupboards and take the challenge to make our world fit for pollinators and humans!