Today’s New Found Gardening Methods?

by Randy Greene

For the last few years you have seen this person or another talk about a new method of gardening or farming and how their method is better than the last method.

What does it mean when someone says their way works better than anything we have tried in the past? If you really look at this “new” method it’s the same thing past generations have been doing for hundreds of years, we’ve just lost, or chosen to ignore, the knowledge that would have been passed on from generation to generation. It’s my belief that the largest contributor to the gap in the defusing of the basic knowledge of gardening and farming has been, and continues to be, the abundance and availability of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Is there a place for the proper use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, yes, but the availability and abundance of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has caused several generations of people in the United States to become ignorant to the basics of self sustaining plant production.

The generations following the great depression were lead to believe the best way to grow anything is to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and for a period of time after the great depression the best way to grow anything on parched earth with little water was to use chemical fertilizers and pesticides. However, for the last sixty years we have had abundant resources, and the ability to use more self sustaining practices, but most have chosen not to change their ways of doing things. Many of us as 20th century beings want an immediate solution and we don’t want to think about what is needed. We’re looking for 20 second answers instead of long term solutions. The knowledge that has been lost from the generations that used self sustaining practices, not because they wanted to but because they had to, is a sad, sad condition to be experiencing. The knowledge that has been lost is the knowledge that would tell a farmer or gardener that if you see a bad bug on a plant, and you don’t want it on the plant, then take your hand a mash, instead of running to chemical pesticides. Knowledge that would tell a farmer or gardener that if they do a soil sample it will tell them what they are doing to the soil, or what they need to do to the soil, instead of just constantly throwing out more chemicals. Knowledge that would tell a gardener or farmer that if you use a chemical on a plant that you want to eat fruit from the likelihood that the fruit will contain the chemical used is pretty good.

It’s hard to believe that we would need a hundred years of experience to understand these basic ideas, but it’s surprising what people are ignorant about. We now have the ability to look at what we are doing and how we want to do things and an opportunity to learn from whole groups of people working very hard to relearn the knowledge that has been lost because prior generations have chosen not to believe in or pass on this knowledge due to ignorance and misguided beliefs.

Step outside today’s normal conventional beliefs and think about what you need to do and ask yourself how your great grand father would have done it. I’ll bet you can come up with an answer that will cost you less, take you less time, and is more self sustaining than today’s harsh chemical solution. Reach up and just squish that bug. Where does it say you have to spray something on it other then in catalogues you get in the mail that are trying to sell you the spray?

Randy Greene is the owner of Green’s Country Store & Feed, 8621 Highway N, Lake St. Louis. 636-561-6637.