Gardeners who use pesticides are much more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who avoid the toxic chemicals. Farmers and other heavy pesticide users are forty-three percent more likely than nonusers to develop Parkinson’s. Even amateur gardeners who use pesticides are nine percent more likely to develop the disease than non-users.
Eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides and herbicides unless absolutely necessary and then use only those with a “caution” label. There are organic alternatives—feed plants with compost or composted manure. For pests, try biodegradable soaps, oils and sprays and beneficial insects. Consult a holistic-type pesticide remover company. Burn citronella candles or use deet-free insect repellant to keep pests away from you.
Visit www.BeyondPesticdes.org, for natural pest control tips.
A beautiful way to attract garden pest predators is by having a water element on your property. Water gardens attract frogs, toads and garden snakes that eat insects, grubs and slugs. Any mosquitoes that are attracted by the water are eaten by the fish, toads, birds, bats and snakes.
Attracting birds to your property has many benefits. They eat bugs, and songbirds create beautiful, soothing music. They are also a joy to watch. If you have space, plant berry-producing trees and shrubs like hawthorn, toyon, dogwood, mountain ash, mahonias and viburnum to attract birds. Bird feeders and bird baths will draw birds, too.
To attract hummingbirds to your property, plant bright red and pink flowers such as ajuga, columbine, bleeding heart, lobelia, phlox, butterfly bush and veronica.
To attract butterflies, plant the flowers alyssum, butterfly bush, calendula, fennel, marigold and phlox.
Bats love mosquitoes and other pests and eat hundreds a night. They can be encouraged with bat houses.
From an environmental point of view, lawns are disastrous. In addition to using tremendous amounts of water, seventy million pounds of chemicals are dumped onto lawns every year and much of it washes into our water supply. Lawnmowers emit as much hydrocarbon in an hour as a car driven fifty miles. In addition, the chemically-treated lawn clippings that go to landfill leach into the soil. 25
* Consider replacing all or some of your lawn with rocks, ground cover, flowers, shrubs, shredded bark and so on.
* Mow your lawn on the highest setting and allow clippings to stay put.
* Use a hand-push, non-motorized mower—think of it as a good workout!
* Water as little as possible.
* Use only natural and organic fertilizers and pest controls.
Turn your kitchen scraps into “black gold” and make your own compost. Compost is the super-rich, crumbly soil that is made when dead plants and leaves are broken down by worms and microorganisms and it is super-rich fertilizer for your plants and trees. To make compost, save organic waste—vegetable and fruit parts, coffee grounds, tea, eggshells, brown paper products, grass and plant clippings. Do not add animal leftovers, dairy products, oils or waste.
Set up a three-sided stall or purchase a recycled plastic tumbling composter. (An added benefit to a tumbling composter is that it allows you to collect liquid fertilizer as well as the solid compost. Liquid fertilizer is great for indoor and outdoor plants.) Composting requires four elements to work: oxygen, water, carbon and nitrogen. Carbon is created from brown or dry materials such as brown paper bags, newspapers and leaves. Nitrogen is created from green or wet materials like fruit and vegetables, weeds and plants.
If you set up a stall for your compost, alternate layers of browns and greens, add some water, and cover with a tarp. With a tumbler, everything goes in and you roll it around. Add water as needed. Microbes will eat the mixture and the temperature heats up as material is broken down. When the pile cools to ninety or one hundred degrees, it is done and you have rich compost!
Excerpt from the award winning book, Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet, copyright 2007