Yesterday I mentioned at the end of my post the University of Minnesota and professor Jeff Gillman. He is, without a doubt, gardening’s best de-bunker. I have read and reviewed two of his books for the Connecticut Horticulture Society, The Truth about Garden Remedies and the The Truth About Organic Gardening Remedies.
He has a new book out called How the Government Got in Your Backyard: Superweeds, Frankenfoods, Lawn Wars, and the (Nonpartisan) Truth About Environmental Policies which he has co-written with Eric Heberlig. I have not yet read it but I can’t wait to do so. It’s been reviewed on Garden Rant and it sounds as if it is a fairly well written and once again thoughtfully devastating condemnation of the things we take for granted in gardening like invasive plants.
I’ve been gardening for almost 50 years (if you figure that my first gardening experience came at 3 years old) and I’ve been an organic gardener for almost 20 years and Gillman’s book on organics certainly opened my eyes. It didn’t necessarily change too much about the way I do things because I’m not a big “sprayer” even with organic remedies.
But what Gillman does in that book was fairly revolutionary (I thought). He assigned a rating to all garden remedies, organic and non-organic. Then he used the same scientific method to rate all the different herbicides, fungicides and insecticides based upon how long they linger in air, soil, water–you get the idea.
As it turns out, some of the organics are far more “toxic”–or at least harder on the environment–than the synthetic pesticides–at least if the synthetics are used properly (and that, of course, is a big if!)
I’ve been reading that the same may be true of some of our “natural” cleaners–that some of the oils like lemon and orange may actually be toxic to us and the environment, may cause asthma attacks in certain individuals and the like. Some days, you can’t win for trying.
But as gardening season winds down, if you want to read some well done, thoughtful and thought-provoking books, you’ll never go wrong with Jeff Gillman!