GardeningTip #9: Use Pesticides Judiciously

Modern society has given us many tools that give us enormous power over the natural world; among the most widely used, and controversial, are chemical pesticides. It's tempting to reach for a bottle of pesticide to take care of garden issues, and for a good reason: pesticides work well, and they work fast. But it is important to use them judiciously, if at all, in your home garden.

Pesticides: Easy, but.....

While chemical pesticides work well, they can also do great harm to your gardens' delicate ecosystem. The convenience our modern society has grown to rely on with man-made pesticides comes at a price. For that reason, many gardeners are purposefully turning to more natural, organic gardening methods in order to ensure long-term garden health.

Oftentimes, pesticides are used to create new garden space. In order to kill of grass or other ground covers to clear space for a garden, , grass killers (like Roundup) are applied to kill off everything. Again, this is a quick and effective way to kill grass. Unfortunately, these types of pesticides kill everything, and are persistent. The newly-cleared ground has had the useful bacteria, enzymes, and other things plants need for growth kiiled off.

If you've got garden plants that didn't come with pre-made tags, you can easily make your own. Put your arts & crafts hat on and get creative! Proper identification of your garden plants will help you learn very quickly which plants belong, and what plants are weeds that should be removed.

Pesticides = Poison

Applying chemical pesticides (and herbicides, insecticides, etc.) effectively poisons the soil, and can remain active in the ground for a long time. Over time, extended use of these chemicals seriously degrades the soil, and makes it all the harder for plants growing in it to thrive. This is not to mention the negative impacts exposure to chemical pesticides can have on us humans. Studies have shown that long-term exposure to many pesticides can lead to serious health problems such as cancer. If a substance can kill a plant so quickly and thoroughly, it's probably not going to be good for humans (or other animals) either.

More Natural Solutions

So how to deal with garden problems that would normally call for pesticides? Many gardeners are looking backwards to a simpler time before such toxic chemicals were available, and are finding that there are many simple, natural solutions that work pretty well without harming the soil, or themselves.


Take our grass-killing example above. A more natural solution would be to clear grass and weeds with a much safer natural mix of equal parts hot water and vinegar. Pouring this natural mix over the area you wish to clear once a day for just a few days weakens the plants; once the vinegar has weakened the plants to the point that their leaves and roots begin to die (and turn brown), the plants and their roots are easily pulled up.

There are literally hundreds of natural solutions to garden pest and weed problems, from beneficial insects and insecticidal soaps, to store-bought organic pesticides and homemade remedies. You may need to experiment to find the right natural solutions, but your, your garden and the planet will reap the rewards.

Click HERE for a bit more information on organic alternatives to chemical pesticides and insectides.

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