Thursday, May 17, 2012

Towards a healthier garden

I’m happy to have another natural gardening expert share his wisdom with the GG community. Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for He blogs for pros across the U.S., such as fence contractors in Norfolk, Virginia.

When it comes to our yards and gardens we look at them and see trees growing leaves, flowers budding, and striking new shades of green taking over the old brown winter brush. What we don’t always see, though, are the chemicals, toxins, and noxious gases that often penetrate these spaces.

How do these substances infiltrate the confines of such beauty in nature? Two of the main culprits are chemical pesticides and fumes from machines associated with regular grounds maintenance. Both release harmful substances into the air and on vegetation, which means anyone playing or working in the yard can be exposed to them easily.

That’s why when it comes to eradicating pests and making the yard look respectable, it’s important to try more eco-friendly means so the garden is a healthier place for everyone. When it comes to pesticides and fumes some considerations include the following:


Let’s face it. Pests of all kinds are pretty annoying, especially when they are chewing on vegetables and flowers we’ve worked so hard to cultivate. However, while it’s very easy to purchase a chemical pesticide, spray the yard, and think we’ve solved the problem we are actually creating bigger ones.

Ask any exterminator and they will tell you that even though poisons in pesticides and insecticides are meant to kill bugs, their effects don’t discriminate when it comes to other living organisms …  like people. Why else are you warned not to go on a lawn or in a home after a spraying?

These substances affect humans and continued exposure to such chemicals, either externally from touch or internally from consumption of sprayed foods, can eventually cause serious illnesses. Similarly, the same can be said of weed killers, which are often chemical-based.

Some solutions: To avoid pests, try companion crops, attracting predators that will eat them, or spraying with organic-based pesticides. For weeds, either pull out unwanted vegetation with your hands, purchase an eco-friendly brand of weed killer, research natural ways to eradicate them, such as with vinegar, boiling water, and salt. Weeds can also be controlled with various types of mulch. 


Photo by Petr Kratochvil
When it comes to noxious fumes, we generally think about exhaust coming out of cars and trucks. But did you know gasoline lawnmowers produce significant percentages of pollutants that can actually equal or surpass that of an automobile?

Considering that millions of Americans still use gas powered mowers, weed whackers, and other yard machines producing fumes on the spot, it’s important to try other methods for cleaning up the yard.

Electric mowers are an option, but their usage means power companies work harder and general pollution becomes more widespread.

That’s why the best way to try and prevent fumes from entering the environment is by using manual tools and only operating electric or gasoline versions when it’s absolutely necessary.

It will require using a little extra muscle but in order for our yards and gardens to be healthier corners of the world where our family’s well-being is a main concern, going the extra mile can save a lot of heartache down the road.

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