I believe in and practice organic gardening. This means no chemical pesticides or fungicides (I never use chemical fertilizer) only approved products such as insecticidal soap, neem oil, the natural fungicides available like copper soap shield, baking soda, olive leaf extract and garlic…I mulch with compost, well-rotted manure and hay, encourage earth worms and other beneficial insects to make their home in my garden. Some of my favorite flowers are naturally seeded wild varieties. As are my weeds, but a weed is only a misplaced plant. And I have plenty of those.
An excellent company that sells environmentally responsible products for the lawn and garden is Gardens Alive. I like what I’ve tried from them and they’re expanding their product line to include seeds and plants. They’re a bit pricey so watch for sales and special offers. Making your own compost is FREE. So are many other organic alternatives. Worms multiply rapidly under the right conditions and they’re a gardener’s best friend.
My newest thing (and FREE for me) is to mix a little unpasteurized milk with my organic brews and spray or water the plants with it — like giving them a shot of the healthful benefits of yogurt with all the micro-organisms in raw milk. Most people can’t do this because they don’t have their own cows (goat milk might work too…hmmm…) Anyway, I’m seeing some amazing results.
Strangely the EPA regards milk as potentially toxic to the soil, while it’s actually beneficial to soil pathogens and plant growth. If there’s any kind of milk spill the EPA freaks out and treats it like an oil spill. All the dirt has to be dug out and disposed of. The EPA is forcing more and more regulations on small family farmers like us, already hard-pressed to survive and in compliance with their environmental restrictions, while doing nothing to check the chemical pesticide, herbicides, and fertilizers that lawn treatment companies spread on countless suburban lawns. They do nothing to regulate chemlawn and companies like them, even though the chemicals dispersed into the environment are proven hazardous to human and animal life, increasing the risk of cancer and other diseases and disorders. The run off from all this stuff ends up in rivers and bays. When you consider how many lawns there are in America, it boggles the mind. Not to mention all the toxic stuff they dump on golf courses.
Farmers are strictly regulated as to what can be spread on their fields under a government approved nutrient management plan that also includes regulations of natural fertilizers like manure. Soil samples, etc, are required. Farmers must take into account under what weather conditions anything is applied or be held responsible for negligence, while lawn companies don’t have to meet any of these requirements.
I remember when a suburban friend called me in a panic because chemlawn had just been to her home to spray the lawn and it was windy that day and the whole place reeked of the herbicide called 2-4-D. Sickening smell. The spray had drifted onto her beautiful flower beds. I looked on in horror and could only suggest she hose everything off, but it didn’t work and she lost plants. She later developed a nerve related disorder from exposure to one of the chemicals. Not just from that single incident. The doctor felt it was the repeated exposure. She’s gone organic now.
The evils of lawn companies fills pages on Google, so I won’t go into it all but you can see for yourself here. There are organic alternatives to a healthy lawn. I found a link with helpful info: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/organic-solutions/lawn-care
Our yard needs frequent mowing despite the lack of any care at all, just encouraging earth worm activity. However, there are a number of weeds mixed in with the grass, especially after last summer’s drought, and we need to do some reseeding. But I’m gradually expanding the surrounding flower and herb beds and seeding more wildflowers. Far more interesting than grass and I love all the butterflies and birds they attract. I’d also like to put in another water garden. Lots of fun with fish and frogs, dragon flies and water plants. Make your yard and garden ALIVE and filled with bird song. Don’t spread or spray scull and cross bones stuff on it. Read labels and discover what’s in those bags you use on your grass, and BEWARE of lawn companies.
*Pics of our farm & the valley, except for the first pic & that’s from istock. On a perfect spring day our farm sometimes reminds me of Green Gables, in Anne of Green Gables. I think she would not approve of poisoning our earth.