Minimizing pesticides and fertilizers

Pesticides and fertilizers can cause significant harm to public health and the environment. Most pesticides contain potentially toxic chemicals that can cause negative health effects such as cancer and neurological and reproductive disorders. In addition, pesticides can migrate into lakes and streams when it rains. When fertilizers enter a body of water, they can cause oxygen levels to drop, killing aquatic life and posing risks to other species.

It is possible to have healthy, great-looking plants and grass while minimizing the use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers. Minimizing the use of these chemicals means that you don’t need to purchase them as often, thereby saving money. Consider purchasing organic fertilizers (such as compost) or even composting your own food and landscaping wastes for use as a natural soil amendment.  Remember that you can grow Giant Organic Pumpkins from Compost that are awesome and environmentally friendly.

As a reminder, here’s what does and doesn’t work in your compost pile:

What to Include

  • From the Garden
    • Leaves (chopped – to speed their breakdown)
    • Grass (not wet)
    • Plants & Weeds (without ripe seeds)
    • Old potting soil
    • Soft plant stems
  • From the Kitchen
    • Fruit scraps
    • Vegetable trimmings
    • Egg shells (crushed)
    • Tea bags
    • Coffee grounds with filters
    • Shredded paper

DO NOT include…

    • Meat, fish and bones
    • Plastics
    • Metals
    • Fats and oils
    • Dairy products
    • Pet waste
    • Cheese, meat or other sauces

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management is an approach to pest management that helps reduce the use of pesticides. IPM means preventing infestations before they start, and using pesticides only when necessary. There are various IPM approaches that you can adopt to decrease over all reliance on chemical-based pest control. Consider the steps below:

  • Use native plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Fill cracks in walls and pavement.
  • Keep vegetation at least 1 foot away from structures.
  • Clean food-contaminated dishes right away.
  • Clean garbage cans often.
  • Make sure compost bins are properly maintained.

Additional Resources

Permaculture for Sustainable Living and Self Sufficiency

Permaculture is a practical, positive approach to designing systems for environment and lifestyle sustainability that has at its core a fundamental set of values or ethics.

While Permaculture design can be applied to an infinite range of human centered situations and systems, these core principles underpin all Permaculture design for sustainable living irrespective of the application in question.

These ‘ethics’ are:

Care of the Earth

We all ultimately depend on the Earth for our survival, so we need to ensure our actions promote the health of all life ecosystems.

"What man does to the Earth, he does to himself"

-Indian Chief Seattle, 1894.

Set of Ethics on Natural Systems:

  1. Protect remaining natural forests from any further disturbance.
  2. Rehabilitate degraded natural systems to a stable state.
  3. Establish ecological refuges for threatened species.
  4. Use the LEAST amount of land possible for establishing plant systems for our own use.

Care of People

We will either survive together or none of us will survive, so we need to ensure that all people have enough to meet their needs for existence. The peace and the sustainability of society depend on this.

Limiting Consumption

The western obsession with materialism and growth at any cost have overtaxed the Earth’s resources and led us to the very brink of annihilation.

Our consumptive lifestyle needs to be limited to what is “enough” so that there is some left over for the needs of Earth’s ecosystem and all its people. what defines an ecological footprint

Treading Lightly

For each of us, our ecological impact or footprint on the planet is measured by the resources we consume, and the waste we create.

Permaculture ethics dictate a conservative approach to the use of natural resources that is eco-efficient and non-wasteful. They urge us to live simply so that others may simply live.

It is about thoughtful and careful consumption so that we don’t squander today what our children will need tomorrow…

We already have all the know-how and technology needed to achieve sustainable living for all the world’s people using Permaculture ethics as a guide. Let’s start today!