Many foods that we eat are contaminated with chemicals that are used during the growing process. These chemicals can have serious adverse effects on human and animal health, as well as the planet. Therefore, it’s smart to grow your own food. This way you can do so organically or with very minimal use of chemicals. If you must use a synthetic product to address a pest infestation, you can do so responsibly, preventing its harmful effects on your body and the environment. Here are some tips on how to safely use chemicals and fertilizers in your garden.
1. Look for Organic Alternatives
Instead of using synthetic products, always consider natural alternatives. Firstly, you can use natural fertilizers in your garden instead of chemical ones. Examples of organic fertilizers are as follows:
- Compost Manure – This is made from decomposed organic materials, aka your kitchen scraps. You can use all organic food waste to prepare this manure.
- Bone Fertilizer – This natural fertilizer is made from ground animal bones. It provides plants with potassium and calcium. You’re best serve to use this fertilizer during planting.
- Fish Fertilizer – This organic fertilizer is made from fish wastes. It comes in liquid form, and you have to dilute it before use. It can be applied directly to roots or at the base of plants.
If your plants have been attacked by pests or disease, consider an alternative means of getting rid of them. Chemicals may seem easy, but many other organic methods work just as well. Additionally, if your eco-friendly solution doesn’t work, choose pesticides with the least amount of toxic ingredients. As well, do not use the synthetic products routinely, but only once in a while.
Finally, here are some tips to further avoid the use of synthetic garden products:
- Research the best method for watering your lawn and garden.
- Keep your soil healthy by mulching and using compost.
- Practice natural lawn care, using biodegradable herbicides versus synthetic products.
- Be proactive in addressing pests, versus waiting until the problem gets out of hand.
- Finally, consider that it’s ok to have a few insects in your garden. Lady bugs, spiders, aphids, lacewings and ground beetles are actually quite effective in helping control other pests!
2. If You DO Use Chemicals, Take Precautions
If you cannot avoid the use of synthetic product to care for your garden, please be cautious and responsible. First, if you’re unsure how to best use products such as a chemical pesticide, hire a local firm to professionally apply the product in your garden. For example, firms such as the Oklahoma City Lawn Care Service will know which product you need, which are least harmful, and how to professionally apply them.
If you are applying synthetic garden products yourself, here are some precautions:
- Avoid watering immediately after using chemicals, such as a synthetic herbicide or pesticide. This will prevent the chemicals from seeping into the soil.
- Do not use chemicals on plants on a rainy day.
- Always use ready-to-use synthetic products, and do not mix them yourself.
- Use synthetic products on food crops in the right dosage as instructed by the label. Do not apply excess.
- Before you start applying any chemical fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide, thoroughly read the instructions. Always ensure that you are using the products as instructed by the supplier on label.
3. Know When to Best Harvest Your Crops
Do not harvest the food immediately after spraying it with any type of solution. If you are using synthetic products, read the instructions to find out how long you should wait before harvesting. Typically, this waiting period lasts anywhere from 14 to 21 days.
Once you’ve harvested your crops, ensure there is no chemical residue on your food. Regardless if you see any residue or not, wash your food thoroughly before eating. A solution of 9 parts water and 1 part vinegar works well to remove all residues.
Remember that it IS possible to successfully grow food in your garden without the use of chemicals. Of course, some synthetic products may be needed for the especially burdensome pests. If you must use chemicals, take all the necessary safety measures recommended here and always follow product instructions.
This article (Tips for the Safe Use of Chemicals in Your Garden and How to Avoid Them) originally created and published by Waking Times. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Waking Times or its staff.