We pay top dollar for organic produce in the market, and try to keep chemicals off our homegrown tomatoes
. But what about the flower garden? Is it important to grow flowers without chemicals? Perhaps you’ve thought about switching to an organic gardening product after your last spraying session left you with a nasty tickle in your throat. Subject the chemicals in your garden shed to scrutiny, and you may be ready to make the switch sooner rather than later.
1. Organic Gardening Is Easy
The gentle methods organic gardeners practice mean that even a beginner can achieve success in his first gardening season. You’re less likely to cause unintentional plant death when you work with nature instead of trying to beat it into submission. Many natural flower fertilizers like compost tea and earthworm castings
cannot be over-applied and will not burn tender roots. Organic pest controls like beer traps for slugs won’t unintentionally harm beneficial insects.
The best substance you can apply to your garden doesn’t come from a bottle; it comes from your compost bin. You have the power to make a perfect garden amendment from leaves, grass clippings, and food scraps that would otherwise go into the landfill. If you combine composting
with handpicking garden pests and hand-digging weeds, you’re 2/3 the way to the best garden on the block at no cost.
3. Organic Gardening Is HealthyGardeners enjoy America’s number one hobby because they want to nourish their bodies with homegrown herbs and vegetables, and nourish their souls with vivid flowers and foliage. These desires are at odds with products like pesticides that can cause severe skin and eye irritation. Working in the garden should be relaxing; it shouldn’t induce vomiting like the herbicide Fluazifop.
4. Organic Gardening Protects Our Children
Our most precious resource is at the greatest risk of harm from the garden chemicals we use:
- Children spend more time outdoors, and they come into closer contact with the soil and growing things than adults.
- The developing organs and nervous system of children are more vulnerable to toxins that those of adults.
- Finally, the mere presence of garden chemicals in our garden sheds increases the chances of an accidental poisoning.
5. Organic Gardening Protects WorkersCompanies that manufacture conventional herbicides and pesticides are important to the economy, as they provide jobs. However, we must also consider the health hazards these workers face on the job, as they may be at risk for acute and chronic toxicities from chemical exposure. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency classifies the fungicide Mancozeb as a probable carcinogen to humans. We can create more jobs in the organic sector by voting with our dollars when we purchase organic products.
6. Organic Gardening Protects Our Waterways
Whether you grow flowers on an urban balcony or rural acreage, you live on a watershed. This means that the storm water that drains away from the hard surfaces on your property will eventually reach a natural waterway. This runoff can carry garden chemicals along with it, posing a toxic hazard to fish. Soluble products that aren’t readily held by the soil pose the greatest threat, as they can migrate easily into groundwater supplies. Examples of insecticides toxic to fish include Diazinon used for general insect control and Dimethoate used for aphids
7. Organic Gardening Is Better for Wildlife and PetsWhen you observe Fido sniffing around your tree, your first thought may not wander to the pesticide you applied last week for borer control. It should. Many conventional garden chemicals are highly toxic to mammals, including our pets and the wildlife we seek to attract. Pets and other animals can suffer from exposure to garden chemicals by ingestion, inhalation, or through skin absorption. Keeping pests away from plants via good cultural practices and removing weeds by hand-pulling are two ways to grow beautiful flowers without any sprays at all.