I've never been much of a fan of pesticides, herbicides and all those other "-icides" that make plants disease- and pest-free. I suppose part of the abstinence from chemical sprays is due to ignorance; I didn't know too much and never encountered any problems big enough to warrant chemical intervention. However, I've been hearing quite a few people mentioning their gardening challenges, saying "we can't spray those pesticides anymore", sounding frustrated and hopeless. It wasn't so long ago that we weren't technologically advanced enough to have these commercial chemical resources and society just followed different rules for encouraging healthy plant growth.
How do gardens survive nowadays without disease and pests taking them down?
With a "Less is more" philosophy.
Here are a few ideas to keep in mind to help you know that organic, natural gardens are better for you and the earth:

  1. Good, healthy soil is the foundation of a bountiful garden - fertilizer should be your home grown compost not commercial chemical fertilizers that are high in salt and dehydrating. The second best is a purchased compost. There seems to be quite a few groups selling compost as a fundraiser so keep your eye out for the opportunity to support a local group and support your healthy garden.
  2. Fungi, bacteria and protozoa are part of the healthy soil infrastructure. These microorganisms allow flora and fauna above and below the ground to naturally thrive. That’s right, some bacteria is good.
  3. Of 30 commonly used pesticides; 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked to birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver and kidney damage, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system. If these stats on the negative effects on humans don’t encourage you to cease and desist, think about the effects of the pesticides on the fungi, bacteria and protozoa that are needed for your healthy soil – it’s all bad too.
  4. Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides, 16 are toxic to birds, 24 are toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and 11 are toxic to bees. When most people are enlightened to these facts, any perceived benefit that pesticides could provide can't out weigh contributing to endangering species.
  5. More than half of the 30 commonly used lawn pesticides are detected in groundwater. More than 75% have the potential to leach.
  6. By eliminating use of pesticides and synthetic nutrients, maintaining high levels of organic matter in soil (compost) and maintaining proper levels of soil moisture, you'll encourage the healthy soil needed to increase resistance to pests and disease in your plants and supply proper nutrients in your soil.
  7. Put the right plant in the right place! Know the ideal conditions for plants and trees and plant them in their proper growing environment. This encourages plants to be at their healthiest and strongest and they'll naturally be pest- and disease-free.

Respect the surface of the Earth and that same earth will give back a bountiful harvest and beautiful growth.

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie's connection to nature and its' life enhancing gifts have been the inspiration to help others connect and care for the outdoors. She is currently writing nature focused posts at www.endowingnature.squarespace.com.