Pesticides kill pollinators and they’re not good for the environment as a whole. I quite simply don’t use any toxic chemicals in my garden. This really started when my kids were little. We spent a lot of time in the garden, and I didn’t want to expose them to anything harmful. And then there were our pets, chickens, and now bees.
As a steward of my 5 acres, I want to protect me, my pets, my livestock, and the wildlife around.
I’m not going to write a whole diatribe about the ‘evils of pesticides’, but I really want you to think about what you can do in your own backyard to create a really healthy environment.
All I want to do is remind you that the use of pesticides really does have extensive impacts on the environment – whether urban, suburban or rural!
- Wildlife is potentially exposed to toxins – birds, pollinators, soil organisms, and aquatic species
- Potential harm for pets, children & adults!
- Animals that eat contaminated prey or plants may be adversely affected
- Breezes can spread pesticides far beyond the target area – DON’T SPRAY ON A WINDY DAY!
- Water runoff from treated areas can contaminate rivers, aquifers, etc.
What you can do to protect your environment
You can see that pesticide use is potentially dangerous for pretty much everything out there. Bees are particularly vulnerable to pesticides. Even very low levels of contamination can affect their mobility, feeding behavior and navigation.
It’s very easy for a contaminated colony to be killed this way!
I’m not going to tell you to NEVER use pesticides, although I’d urge you to find the safest, most organic way to treat any problem you may have.
What I will tell you is that starting from a really healthy soil, full of micro and macro organisms, is the best way to have a healthy garden that doesn’t need pesticide control.
You have heard me going on about BALANCE and the need to work with nature in your garden instead of against it.
Pesticides work against nature!
So often in human medicine, it’s important to look at the whole body in a holistic approach. Similarly, when talking about our environment you must consider that the air, water, soil, plant life & wildlife are all part of a WHOLE SYSTEM. Mess with part of that system and guess what goes out of whack? BALANCE!!
DON’T KILL POLLINATORS, PROTECT THEM INSTEAD – better for us all!
Beyond Pesticides is an organization that certainly seeks to educate about pesticide use so that we can all work together to create a healthier environment. They published “The Safer Choice, How to Avoid Hazardous Home, Garden, Community and Food Use Pesticides”, and it starts with protecting your family and then beyond into your environment.
Easy Ways to Improve Your Soil
Adding good compost into your soil is the number one winner here. There is a huge range of products you can buy or make to compost at home. What you use depends on the space you have available and (perhaps) the size of your wallet.
When my kids were living at home, they kinda make jokes about “Mom and her compost piles“. The fact that compost is “stinky” and “yucky” – NOT SO!
Compost will only stink if you add meat and dairy products!
Some of those lessons must have gone in because Rachel and her friend are now composting kitchen/garden waste for their garden – with advice from Mom!
If they can do it, then anyone can do it.
There’s a lot of satisfaction from realizing that your children learnt lessons even when they didn’t want to learn!
Mom was right…
You can find a huge range of good compost products for sale if you don’t make your own. I can’t make any recommendations because I don’t use any of them, but I do have several friends that swear by dried bat guano as the best fertilizer on earth!
Simple ways to improve your soil:
- Compost – includes beneficial soil bacteria and organisms like worms
- Mulch – breaks down to improve soil
- Cover crops – leguminous plants like clover to fix nitrogen into the soil
- Composted manure – eg my chicken poop or bat guano
Enjoying a Pesticide Free Environment
We’re nearly into July and it’s getting pretty hot outside. For now, however, I’ve really been enjoying my early morning coffee on the back porch. At that time of the day, even Charlie and Oliver are quiet and sit with me as I watch what’s going on in the garden. My humming bird feeders are really busy and they also love my Flame Acanthus and Mexican Oregano. I tried to get a good photo of them in the Flame Acanthus but totally failed! They move so quickly they really are difficult to photograph (in my humble opinion!)
I also have a lot of Cenzio in full bloom and those bushes are literally buzzing with bees. Here’s a few of the photos I took of them feeding. It’s amazing just to watch them in close up – often hanging from a flower while they adjust the huge balls of pollen on their legs.
Here’s to a healthier world for all of us, pollinators included!