Heather, a reader, was telling of her frustration with squash bugs and squash vine borers via a comment on the post, Squash Bugs – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over . Squash bugs, squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, etc. — frustrations most of us can relate to.
At the end of her comment she expressed a feeling that I think may also be prevalent in today’s world.
Perhaps you’re one who feels as Heather did when she wrote:
“I must also admit that I am tempted to give up trying to be organic for those crops. Only because if I don’t grow them, I end up buying conventionally grown anyways, and at least if I grow them they’d be fresher, tastier, and cheaper.
“It doesn’t help that I have a new neighbor who does everything “wrong”. Raised beds with weed-guard fabric right on top of her lawn, which are only about 6″ and filled with mostly Home Depot bagged soil. Miracle-Gro, overhead watering with tap water, and spraying with all kinds of chemicals. But she is getting an abundant harvest of squashes and melons! I’m jealous.”
Perhaps I can shed some light on why many folks who are “trying” (not yet totally committed) to go organic have this same feeling and are ready to throw in the “organic” towel after what they perceive to be a “long” time in trying to deal with the problem organically.
Basically two things account for people turning to chemicals when they think organic is not working.
- First is the tendency we humans have to go for what we “believe” to be the easiest and quickest way to get what we want. (Keep in mind that what we believe often has nothing to do with truth or facts.)
- And second, our beliefs have been influenced tremendously by the programming of advertising. Advertising and promotion have been vastly successful in causing the masses to perceive as truth many untruths and do what is beneficial for the advertiser whether it’s beneficial for the masses or not.
How to Deal with it
Educating ourselves is the best way we have of dealing with our human nature and of undoing the erroneous programming that has pulled the wool over our eyes ever since we were old enough to walk.
Calling the bad stuff good and the good stuff bad.
For more than 125 years the chemical companies — controlling chemicals for agriculture and the medical profession — have worked at literally creating a need for and selling their products. It was slow going in the first 60 or 70 years — although still successful.
After World War II — things really took off and now the chemical companies have so much money and prestige they control not only mainstream media, but government as well. Using fraudulent science — chemicals are promoted as being safe and necessary. They’ve done such a good job of promoting the lie — in spite of the facts that are readily available to the contrary — that it is thought to be the truth by the vast majority.
An Example Almost Everyone Will Relate to
There is a chemical that the vast majority of conventional gardeners use freely to kill bugs in their gardens.
Please keep in mind that this chemical does NOT put an end to the bugs forever — or even just for this season. Like most chemicals it only kills those that are there at the time (along with killing the good bacteria in the soil and any beneficials that may have been there). More pest bugs come to take the place of the others and then the chemical is used again.
This chemical is readily absorbed through the skin of the gardener. It can cause blurred vision, nausea, headache, salivation, breathing difficulties, muscle twitching, and loss of control of body movement. It can cause serious neurotoxic effects in animals, including irreversible neurological damage.
It causes genetic mutation and is toxic to the kidney and liver, damages ovaries and testes, and causes behavioral problems in humans and animals.
Because of various findings about this chemical – as far back as 1969, a Health Education and Welfare Department report recommended its use restricted to prevent human exposure.
It is so much a part of gardening life in the US (or maybe even world wide) that most users consider it safe — and will tell you it is. Most presume that because it’s sold everywhere and is so readily available and has been used for so long —- it must be safe. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The name of the chemical is carbaryl. Still don’t recognize it? It goes by the name of Sevin.
No one hates squash bugs, squash vine borer, cucumber beetles, or potato beetles more than I do. Or any other pests for that matter that I have to spend more than 10 minutes dealing with.
I certainly relate to Heather’s frustrations and wish the solution came in a can or bag but it doesn’t. You either work with nature or against her. I figure I’ve got a lot better chance by working with her.
There have been times over the years that I’ve felt like giving up gardening because of the effort needed to deal with pests. But I don’t — because my garden is the only place I can obtain food that will sustain our bodies and help keep us healthy.
We eat mostly what is in season and growing in my garden. I can usually get organic carrots, cabbage, and broccoli in the winter to supplement my own produce. Otherwise – I won’t buy them.
I have a better chance of having the health to enjoy my life if my food is free of poison.
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