Showing posts from December, 2011
Several Dozen Words About Pesticide Safety

Over the last 40-plus years that I have grown plants, I have seen a major shift in the feelings about pesticides. As a child, I remember my father using a smelly gray granule on ant mounds to get rid of pesky ants. 2 decades ago, I remember looking at the 40 year-old container, stuck in the back corner of a tool shed, to see that it was a cyanide compound ! I hear many tales of gardeners long ago, using nicotine sulfate on their vegetable gardens, mercury fungicides on millions of tons of grain crops, arsenic to control grasshoppers, and a very wide range of compounds that are eminently lethal to just about everything.
Today, modern pesticides are a great deal safer than 50 years ago, but are still toxic in specific ways. We have a far better understanding of how these products work, as well as their impacts on us, wildlife, and the environment at large. We should still look carefully at pesticide use. Here in Miami we are experiencing outbre…