Step 10 – Never apply toxic materials to your soil.
We need to stop putting toxic materials into our soils. This I think everyone would agree with but which we constantly do without realizing what we are doing. The organic gardeners of the world are the hope for the future. We need to stick to only putting organic products into the soil. We need to put the products into the soil that will benefit the soil food web not destroy it. We may not be able to identify all the damages that the toxic products that we add to our soils cause but we do know they are not kind to the food web. Sustainability cannot exist when we kill what makes it exist. Anytime we tinker with nature’s ways we cause problems. We always have to work with nature not against her. When we understand nature and are on her side we make compromises. There are a lot of toxic materials we pour into our soils and I certainly will not try to list them all. As an Organic Garden Center operator I will call attention to some of the more popular ones that upset me the most.
Roundup: Roundup is one of the most common herbicides used worldwide for crops and backyard gardens to kill weeds. When it first came on the Garden Center scene, we were told how safe a product it is. It was marketed as being ‘biodegradable” and “environmentally friendly. This proved not to be so. Cellular damage, human poisoning, risk of cancer and effects on other life have been linked to it. Monsanto’s toxic Roundup the main active ingredient is glyphosate. It has become widely used by Agriculture. It has motivated genetic engineers to develop genetically modified crops (GMO) for the sole purpose of being able to spray Roundup to kill weeds while not killing the growing crop. Not only are we contaminating our environment by spraying Roundup onto our soils but we are messing with our food chain by developing genetically modified organisms crops to take the place of our normal foods.
This is a prime example of us manufacturing products to put into our soil that are not organic with disastrous results and us modifying vegetables that we have been eating for years. We eat them because they have the same name that we have been eating for years but in reality they no longer are the same genetic make up. This is an outrage and the full negative effects on our health will not be realized for years. You should take some time to read up on the Roundup controversy and realize how Monsanto has negatively affected not only the United States but the world. We need to label these modified foods so people know what they are eating.
There are a lot of toxic lawn products we constantly apply to our lawns that are toxic to our soil and our health. The Environmental Protection Agency shows that we apply more than 100 million pounds of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides a year on our lawns. As we pour these products onto our lawns, we weaken our food web and poison our soil. These poisons affect our ground water and the health of anybody spending time on the lawn. More and more severe health problems have been developing for our pets, our children and ourselves. These have been reaching alarming proportions. As more research is done and more facts come out, the harm that we are doing to ourselves is mind- boggling. Who would want to follow a chemical lawn program knowing all the problems that have resulted? A lawn that is environmentally friendly, healthy for your children, pets and family and free from chemical fertilizers, toxic pesticides or harmful herbicides is an organic lawn. One that follows an organic program adding carbon to the soil is going to support a healthy food web. These are lawns that are going to be healthy to live on and are going to pull carbon out of the air and help reverse global warming.
These are the lawns that we need to get everyone in America to support. Yet it is a chemical lawn that most people and their gardeners support. Many home owners make the mistake of completely relying on their gardeners to take care of their lawns. The problem is most gardeners take the easy way out and follow a chemical program. The responsibility of owning an organic lawn is the homeowners. In my book “12 Steps To Natural Gardening” those who followed my lawn recommendations had an organic lawn that was the most beautiful in the neighborhood, the healthiest lawn to be on and were the most productive in removing greenhouse gases. This is the kind of lawn we all need to strive for. This is the kind of lawn the homeowner should insist on. Many of our schools are installing artificial turf. What message is this sending to our children? It is time we stand up and fight for the organic way. If we believe in partnering with nature, we would never allow this to happen. We need to advocate growing all turf organically.
Toxic product are often applied to large open parking lots where we park cars on or gravel driveways using complete kill products that poison our soils that will not allow vegetation to grow on it for years. These harmful products won’t support plant growth for years and render our soils dead leaving our ground bare. We need to be careful for what we wish.
We need to monitor leaks of, in ground oil tanks, oil spills from sloppy deliverers and toxic dump sites.
There are many more examples that can be cited where we pour toxic chemicals into our soil. We need to be diligent and vigilant that we do not do this. Protecting our earth from contamination is everyone’s responsibility. We need rich toxic free soil to grow healthy organic plants. We need a strong food web with the ability to extract pollutants from our air. We need organic soils to take the toxins out of the soil. Anything we do to harm this relationship is reducing our ability to extract CO2 from the air. Everything in nature is connected.