FOOD FOR THOUGHT or Thinking About Your Food Growing FOOD and Ornamentals Organically
When I host Girl Scout troops in The Secret Garden for badge work, I almost always ask the question “would you drink or eat anything that had the skull and cross bones symbol for poison on it?” Of course the answer is always a resounding “no”. So I ask them, why then would we think it’s ok to spray our gardens with synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that contain known poisons? As an adult we might make the decision that it’s ok to eat foods sprayed with chemicals because the government has deemed it safe (in a certain use and in a certain amount). However no one can really know the effects of ingesting poisons daily over the long run.
I understand wanting a greener lawn, less bugs, rosier, blemish free apples. But at what cost? Are you old enough to remember the song “Big Yellow Taxi” by Joni Mitchell? “Farmer, farmer put away your DDT. I don’t care about spots on my apples, leave me the birds and the bees please!” That song first came out in the early ’70’s and not long after the EPA issued a cancellation order for DDT. Yet other pesticides for commercial agriculture have taken its place and we are currently still trying to save the bee population from its continual decline, in evidence since the 1990’s. What’s killing our bees? According to Green Peace, one of the main reasons for the global bee decline is linked to the wide-spread use of bee-killing pesticides.
What about the health of not just the bee population, but of our own? It is no secret that the increase in cancer is wide spread. I don’t think it’s far fetched to say it’s linked to the chemicals we are consuming? Do you?
So what can you do? If you grow your own food, adopt a more ecological gardening practice and stop using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers in your garden. If you buy most of your family’s food, then buy regional organic food. And in your food and ornamental gardens, plant bee-friendly organic flowers and use organic fertilizers and safe integrated pest management practices.
At The Secret Garden we are proud to be growing almost half of the plant stock we sell. We grow our plants without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or growth regulators. This might be why our plants aren’t as picture perfect as some found in other nurseries. There may even be an ant or two, the odd slug or worm in the soil. Gasp. When we do buy plants in from other nurseries, we make a point to first support commercial growers that follow this same philosophy. Look for the pink pots from Blooms with every tag proudly stating that no Neonicitinoids were used. They are one of our preferred plant providers.
Why is this important? Do we really need to go so far as planting flowers and vegetables that are organic? Well, consider that the beautiful flowering plants you put in your garden may have been sprayed with Neonicitinoids and killing bees. Or the non-organic vegetable seeds you planted may have been coated in Neonicitinoids. This chemical concoction is known to stay in a plant for up to 10 years – all parts of the plant. Do you want your beautiful home grown herbs and tomatoes laced with pesticides? I know I don’t.
If you need help adopting a more ecological gardening practice, visit The Secret Garden and just ask. We’re happy to help.