Thursday, November 17, 2005
• Whitney Farms Vegetable Food | $4.79
•Miracle-Gro All Purpose Plant Food | $7.97
Studies at the University of Wisconsin have shown that acidic chemical garden fertilizers are causing serious, permanent damage to our soils. These fertilizers are also highly soluble, so they pollute our water systems. Whitney Farms plant food, on the other hand, contains natural ingredients like blood meal, alfalfa meal, dried poultry waste and kelp meal, which enrich the soil rather than burn it.
• Ladybugs | $10.85
•Raid House and Garden Bug Killer | $5.99
According to the safe-drinking-water advocacy group American Water Council, “We tend not to think about where all the millions of gallons of pesticide residue end up.” Like other surface contaminants, pesticides like Raid are washed into the water supply when it rains, running from gardens into lakes, streams, and aquifers. A garden-size pack contains 1,500 ladybugs, which feed on aphids and other soft-bodied pests and don’t harm soil or water. Each can eat as many as 60 aphids per day, and they also eat a variety of other insects and larvae. And they look pretty cute doing it.
• Organic start 4-inch sweet basil | $1.99
•Non-organic starts 4-inch sweet basil | $2.49
Advantages to growing organic plants are many. According to National Resources Defense Council, one-third of the nation’s topsoil has eroded because of farmers’ use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Each lost inch causes a six percent drop in farm yields, and it increases the risk of flooding. Organic plants, on the other hand, build healthy soil, and prevent toxic chemicals from contaminating water. In addition to avoiding chemical fertilizers, pesticides and soil-depleting practices, organic nurseries tend to produce more varieties better suited to distinct micro-climates.