How can you tell that spring is here? When you walk into any farm, garden, hardware, or department store and run smack into a wall of toxic pesticide and herbicide fumes.
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I think when I encounter that odor is, Wow! That’s just the thing I want to spread around my food/put on the lawn my kids and dog play on.
Last week, I walked into a local farm store and was just about knocked over by the stench–all that product is right up front in its big, bright packaging with names that hearken to taming the Wild West or embarking on a military campaign. I couldn’t get back to the aisle I wanted without passing through the noxious wall of off-gassing.
Today in the hardware store, a stacked display of generic red canisters of Insecticide was featured prominently at the entrance to the lawn and garden aisle–along with that accompanying offensive odor. I find it odd that lots of companies have no-fragrance policies for their employees and then expect them to work and their customers to shop in a cloud of toxic “perfume.”
I’ll have plenty more to say about specifics as we get on with the growing season, but here’s a start and a basic statement of my philosophy: there are plenty of better and safer ways to deal with weeds and unwanted garden intruders that don’t involve spreading these kinds of chemicals.
And the methods are not hard or expensive, either. How much does it cost to boil a kettle-full of water and dump it on the weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk? How difficult is that? How hard is it to leave the clippings on your lawn instead of bagging and trashing them and then dumping urea all over the place?
If you want to exclude bugs from your crops, practice a good rotation or use a (re-usable) floating row cover. If you have potato bugs, squish them or pick them off–or pay a kid to do it.
I know these are just a few very generic and simplistic methods–and I am happy to write at length on others as well, but the point is that they work, they’re easy, and they’re not filling our world full of poison.
When I walk in those places and through those clouds of fumes, all I can think is, that’s the smell of cancer. That’s the smell of kidney failure. That’s the smell of colony collapse and amphibian decline–the smell of dead soil and contaminated food and drinking water.
And I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I think Spring ought to smell like.