|Here is the first Sharon Lovejoy post.|
How many want to feed Roundup, insecticide, and herbicides to our families? Few can afford the organic produce offered at stores, but anyone can grow them easily.
A major emphasis in Sharon Lovejoy's work is this theme - Stop hating on all those creatures: moles, crows, wasps, hornets, ragweed, dandelions, etc.
Her heavily researched commentary is backed by the facts, gutting the chemical addictions of modern gardening and farming. Every single plant and animal has a profound effect on the rest, and relying on one or the other cure is bound to have a house-of-cards effect on the delicate balance of Creation.
Lovejoy's experiments and research have demonstrated that trashy methods work best. For example, weeds and native plants support the bee population, which pollenate the produce we want to enjoy. A harmless dandelion patch (a valuble herb with attractive flowers) benefits birds and bees alike.
My mother wondered why I did not clean up the sunflower stalks in New Ulm. I said, "Birds love them for perching all winter, and the roots slowly decay into the soil to feed the earthworms." Sure enough, when snow accumulated in our backyard, the birds rested on those stalks in their search for food and danger.
Gardening gossip is often wrong and short-sighted. Once alarmed by the sight of slugs, people start finding ways to kill slugs. But most of the slugs work under the soil and become part of the food cycle, feeding toads and smaller creatures. Slugs are almost pure moisture, so they are little storage tanks. Tear apart a diaper for the same effect? Slugs store moisture for free, and they are shredders, with rasping mouths that reduce organic material they find.
Lovejoy makes a great point that removing pests means taking food away from the pests' predators. So if the aphids are all picked off, what will the the ladybugs eat for dinner? The predators may be a bit delayed but they show up when the gardener avoids sprays, blowtorches, and other torture devices.
Cleaning up may remove ladybug eggs, destroying the chances they will hatch and eat thousands of pests. Likewise, the hornets' and wasps' nests are Orkin headquarters, borrowing a little space in order to prowl the garden and attack larvae. We had wasps come into the house in Bella Vista, the buggiest place we ever lived, but we were never stung. Likewise, bee stings are a rarity in the garden.
A little experience shows how true this is. When I was enchanted with ponds, I created my first one in New Ulm. As soon as it began to ferment, with algae growing in the sunlight, a dragonfly showed up, gracefully darting around to eat airborne insects. I did not have to order one, buy one, or summon one. The dragonfly obeyed its software, written by the Creator and came to the food.
Jean Valjean would sing, as a gardener
Give them peace
Give them hugs
They are young
They are only some bugs
You can take
You can give
Let them be
Let them live.