Going Green – Pest Control and Going Organic

By September 13, 2017Food for thought, Learning, Tips

Pest Control Tricks and Living Hacks – the Green Way

It might be pretty easy to buy pest control products off the shelf from your local store or the supermarket, but you should really consider going for the more environmentally friendly option.

But Why?

First of all think about the thousands of people spraying these pest control formulas and pesticides in the air, polluting the air that we breathe. Going green will purify the air around us and the air in your house, as well as reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, methane and so many other toxic gases that end up in the atmosphere.

living an eco friendly lifestyle

The Hacks – this is the myth and magic examined

Garden Bugs

Myth – panty hose nets

Magic – hot sauce spray: the solution comprises of 1 part hot sauce (without seeds) plus 3 parts water.

Note: hot sauce seeds clog up the sprayer, so use a kind that doesn’t have them. This works really well if you grow tomatoes and cannot control the pests.

 

Spiders

Maybe – osage orange: we’re not saying that this method is 100% foolproof yet it does decrease the amount of spiders that come along. Keep them in your garage or lower floors for more of an impact.

 

Ants

Myth – lemon halves + cloves: this method brings with it more fruit flies than it deals with your ant issues

– cayenne + water spray: even though ants do not like pepper this is not going to work and will just stain your cupboards

– cornstarch: this will attract the roaches

So what can be done…

Magic – cayenne pepper sprinkle: simply does it! Just sprinkle some cayenne in the areas the ants seem to come from. Also check for any cracks and crevices that can be fixed.

herbs to repel insects
essential oils as insect repellent

Gnats

Myth – white vinegar + soap + water in a plant sprayer: this will just close to kill your plant

Magic- cup apple cider vinegar + dish soap: the soap acts to break the surface of the vinegar. So if you have a gnat problem simply place a bowl or cup of vinegar with a few drops of the dish soap in it which will attract the gnats.

 

Roaches

Magic – pets usually cats!

 

Mice

Myth – peanut butter in traps: just don’t use traps in general

Maybe – peppermint oil: this works sometimes and at others it doesn’t work at all. Just try it out, besides it will diffuse a great smell into your space

Magic – again cats are perfect

Magic – steel wool clogs: be aware of any holes in your building, if you identify such spots then fill them in with the steel wool clogs till you can come up with a more permanent solution.

 

Mosquitos

Myth – dryer sheets for prevention: mosquitoes like water, nighttime parties, and hanging out in fields. Trying to use some lavender sheets will not really work for many people.

Magic – lime juice: it turns out that lemon and lime are enough to repel as well as numb the itch of previous bites. This is handy when you’re in your garden or balcony, if you’re going out make sure to just dash a few drops on your neck, arms and legs just before you head out.

The issue of using Truvia

It might be surprising yet in reality you can use Truvia as a pesticide! The results from a study by Drexel University found the key in one of Truvia’s polyol (sugar alcohol) components, Erythritol. If you sprinkle it generously on soil, it acts as a reproductive suppressant for adult flies, halting their egg production and killing the larvae of the adult flies within three days.

It might seem strange considering that people actually use these for their drinks and they can be used to kill insects. Makes you realize that we should be very aware of what we are consuming.

 

Why is it important to go Green?

How this affects your life

Doing the right thing when it comes to choosing the right food for your diet already feels amazing but then it would mean nothing if you are taking in so much crap from the pesticides that are sprayed onto your fruits and vegetables.

garden hacks

– Importance of washing your greens

In light of the above, think about the amount of pesticides going onto your greens. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) release an annual Dirty Dozen List which reports which fruit and vegetables have the highest detectable pesticides – it’s good to have a peek at it! Strawberries and apples were found to be the most affected. The pesticide residue is minute it is true but if you have many fruits every day then you want to minimize the intake of these toxins. Properly washing fruits and vegetables can remove most of the existing residue on the surface (the pesticides that are absorbed by the roots are unavoidable but are a very small percentage of the overall pesticides).

1. Make sure your hands are clean.

If your hands are dirty when you start washing the produce, you’ll transfer the bacteria that’s on them to your fresh, beautiful vegetables. To be safe, wash them for at least twenty seconds with soap and warm water before preparing your vegetables.

2. Rinse your produce under running water.

You should not wash your fruit or vegetables with soap, if you think about it adding soap to your produce is like adding more chemicals to get rid of chemicals, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. For the cleanest fruit, just run it under clean water and for firmer produce, use a clean produce brush to rub off any dirt or residue.

3. Dry with a clean towel.

Once your produce is squeaky-clean, dry it off with a clean dishtowel to further reduce the amount of bacteria it comes into contact with.

pest control - wash your vegetables

– Consider going organic

The more you know about your food the more you will be able to eat and buy sustainably. Of course, what it means to eat like this is complicated. We don’t eat locally grown produce all the time – think about your coffee beans, and we don’t always manage to shop from our farmer’s market! Every time we make a purchase we can try to be more conscientious of our decisions – think of every purchase as a vote of what we want to see more of.

A label is not going to tell you everything you need to know about a product – there’s a wide range of farming practices that all play a part in the end product and that you won’t really know about. Next time you’re down at your local farmer’s market strike up a conversation and always stick to the same farmers for particular products.

how to buy organic produce

List of foods you could easily buy organically:

Strawberries and apples

Nectarines and peaches

Celery and grapes

Cherries and spinach

Tomatoes and peppers (any type)

Cucumbers, kale and collard greens

– Habits supporting good soil

The source of healthy eating is ultimately our soil. Healthy soil gives life to flavourful food, it stores climate change-accelerating carbon and nourishes natural ecosystems. To support integrative growing practices we need to start thinking about and looking at the big picture – we have to go for anything that nurtures the environment.

1. Check out the cover crops.

Planting cover crops is a vital part of vegetable rotation that helps farmers to fortify the soil and lay the groundwork for a thriving harvest. But the demands of industrialized agriculture mean that if farmers want to make money, most have to forgo cover crops. It’s not a sustainable solution, but it is a short-term fix.

As consumers, we can encourage farmers to plant what they need to nourish the soil by bringing “cover crops” into our own weekly rotation. Spelt, rye, barley, and buckwheat are major cover crops.

 

  1. Support farmers who practice permaculture.

Permaculture is a holistic approach to farming: Practitioners keep mind the interconnectedness of all elements of the landscape in mind, integrating landscape design, ecological philosophies, and sustainable farming principles to create a “closed-loop” ecosystem. A productive permaculture system is self-sufficient and supports the kind of resiliency and interconnectivity that our soil needs to thrive by recycling waste products, storing energy, and fostering biodiversity.

Put these principles into practice by buying biodynamically-grown grains and supporting local permaculture practitioners. In this way your harvest is both sustainably grown and flavour-packed because it’s soaking up so many nutrients.

3. Experiment in the kitchen!

Biodiversity is integral to soil health: We need a vibrant variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers to revitalize the soil.

So if you find yourself stocking up on the same things: whole-wheat bread, spinach, tomatoes…break out of the mould by trying out heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, ancient grains, and rarer breeds of kale.

pot your own vegetables at home with your kids

Grabbing the less-common ingredients at the farmer’s market encourages farmers to continue to grow a rich diversity of plants.

 

  1. Go non-GMO.

Regardless of where you stand on the capacity of genetically modified organisms to feed the world, the systems in which GMOs are embedded – seed privatization, monoculture agriculture – are threatening to soil health. The use of GMOs can create super weeds and bugs that eradicate biodiversity and weaken soil resiliency. And across the world, indigenous and small-scale farmers are losing rights to their native seeds – which represent storehouses of biodiversity – in the face of GMO giants such as Monsanto.

With that in mind always look for “Non-GMO” on the package. This can be tricky terrain in light of recent policies that make it harder to determine just what constitutes a genetically-modified organism, but in the end it’s better than doing nothing.

 

Keeping these tips in mind will make it easier to live a greener and healthier life.

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