When I started writing this – I almost added “& Why Organic Foods Cost More” in the title, but I thought that might be a bit of a lengthy title for my blog post. Last year when I decided to risk it all and farm, there were several driving forces behind the decision – but the most important one was simply not wanting harmful chemicals in my foods…. Since last year I’ve run across several articles about the herbicide Roundup™ being found in Cheerios™; which wasn’t a surprise to me. The wheat grains are so genetically modified in the US – they can survive being sprayed with this chemical to increase the odds of harvested grains being weed free… but at what cost? Chemicals in the field equal chemicals in the end product. It’s that simple. I don’t want chemicals in my food. I’ll probably repeat this a few more times in this blog post…
These are a favorite to squash bugs – which are happy to spend all day munching on the leaves of these plants, mating and laying THOUSANDS of eggs!
Grrrr!!!! I despise these creatures. I’ve yet to find any useful purpose for them They can wipe out a healthy crop in a matter of days. So… if you ask most non-organic farmers how they deal with these pests – most will tell you they spay pesticides… Which aren’t an option for me. I DON’T WANT CHEMICALS IN MY FOOD! And we have bees… which are crucial to pollinating EVERYHTING we grow… and these lovely pesticides are not selective in what they kill. They are happy to wipe out a bee colony too.
So… how do I attempt to manage this problem in my field? For me it’s a two-step process. Well, three if you count prayer. Since the plants started coming up, I’ve been using diatomaceous earth around the plants and on the tops of the leaves. Diatomaceous earth is a substance made up of the fossilzed remains of plankton; it looks like an off-white talc powder. It can kill any bug with an exoskeleton… which means it can also kill our honey bees and other pollinators if I’m not careful with how I use it – which I am and I’ve not seen any ill effects to our hives… second step is hand picking these awful bugs and their eggs off the plants. Both of these steps are time-consuming. If I paid someone to do this – I wouldn’t be able to afford to farm… instead, it’s a job I do; which means I get less sleep – having to do other tasks well into the early morning hours just to make sure everything gets done.
Choosing to NOT use chemicals in my field is labor intensive. It costs money in hours worked; which is far more costly that chemicals that destroy our ecosystem and poison our bodies. It’s a no-brainer for me… and should be for you too. When you’re at a Farmer’s Market and you see a stand doing organic farming (certified or NOT) – buy from them. The food they grow for you is healthier for you and our planet. Oh… and give them a “thanks”. Sometimes we just need to know folks appreciate what we’re doing. For this farmer, it makes the sleepless nights a bit easier to deal with.