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The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control

“If it moves slowly enough, step on it; if it doesn’t, leave it – it’ll probably kill something else” Anonymous

Gardeners and farmers for years have used chemicals to control pests on food crops.  They saved crops and increased our food supply.  So what could be so awful about that?

Perhaps the user causes the most trouble.  Too many people think that if a little works, a lot will work better.  This just isn't so when it comes to chemical applications.  Did you know that it is illegal to use a chemical product without first reading the label and following the label directions? 

Purdue University has an excellent site where you can learn just how to read a pesticide label and exactly what it means.  http://www.btny.purdue.edu/pubs/ppp/PPP-24/ppp24pg19-28.html

Here is an excerpt:  ‘“Every pesticide label includes the statement, "It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.”  This language obliges the purchaser or user of any pesticide to assume responsibilities for the use of the product.  Further, courts of law and regulators generally recognize the pesticide label is a binding contract, which requires the person using the product to do so exactly as directed.  Terms such as must, shall, do not, and shall not mean that the user is responsible for specific actions when applying or handling the given product; any departure from such directions is, in the eyes of the law, an illegal use of the pesticide.”’

The economy might have a lot to do with the huge surge in vegetable gardening.  Coupled with this has been a renewed interest in organic gardening, where gardeners only use natural controls to fight insects and disease.  Most of us are worried about the earth and what we as gardeners can do to preserve it; and by extension, we want to know and control what goes into the food we grow. 

The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control; A Complete Problem-Solving Guide to Keeping Your Garden and Yard Healthy without Chemicals is a book copyrighted in 1996 by Rodale Press, Inc. and edited by Barbara W. Ellis and Fern Marshall Bradley.  It is still available @ Amazon.com.  At about $20, this should be in your library.

Not only does it give information on bad insects it also identifies, by description and photos, the good bugs that help get rid of the bad bugs.  There is a disease symptom guide with photos.  There is a large section of organic controls: cultural controls, physical controls, biological controls, and organic sprays and dusts.  Many of these organic sprays and dusts are as toxic and hazardous as any chemical concoction.  Just because they are made from natural ingredients does not make them safe.  Only use them according to their label, and as a last resort.

There is a handy index with the common and botanical names of plants.  You can find your plant hardiness zone with the USDA plant hardiness zone map illustrated in the book.  This multipurpose paperback book not only will keep your vegetables healthy, but also has a large section on plants that beautify your garden.  After all, man does not live by bread (or veggies) alone.

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