Gardening Shops Shouldn’t Stink

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Amanda and I visited a garden shop in Montgomery yesterday, an unremarkable event. Take a woman who loves to shop and who has discovered recently how much she loves to grow things, and it’s a natural fit.


Also unremarkable was the pungent odor of poisonous chemicals that greeted us when we walked into the store. Not only did the counter of poisons produce the strongest odor; it also enjoyed the front-and-center position that any retailer recognizes as the sign that these are the high-profit products in the store’s inventory. They’ll sell you plants and seeds and shovels and hoes if you ask, but they make the REAL money selling poison.

Parenthetically, it’s striking how much money gardeners spend on poisons of every kind and description. There are weed poisons, insect poisons, rabbit poisons, and probably poisons for just about any critter you can name. But of course, that’s all a sham. All poisons are poisonous. Period. And when we spray our squash to kill insects, we’re deciding to ramp up the amount of poison we eat and that we will feed to those we love.

We gardeners need to be more obnoxious when we walk into garden stores and say, out loud, something like “Wow, I smell poison!” Say it loudly enough for the manager, the clerk, and the other customers to hear.

Garden shops should be selling things that nurture and replenish the earth and the creatures that call it home. If they did, we’d all find them more pleasant places to be.

3 thoughts on “Gardening Shops Shouldn’t Stink”

  1. I concur that I hate poison and I hate more just how much and how casually it’s used. What do you use on the farm for to deter insects from eating your crops? I think most people don’t know any alternatives to poison so they just keep on using it.

  2. If you ask the Farmer-in-Chief, she will tell you that we don’t deter insects. She’s getting tired of having her crops damaged by the bad guys. Lately we’ve been referring to the tomato planting area as “the hornworm feeder.”

    That having been said, I think we’re slowly learning what works. Because we’re organic, for example, Veg Hill is crawling with lizards and frogs, which are great about eating bugs. Just the other day I spotted our first praying mantis! (They’re great predators.) We’re also seeing many more birds now. Obviously, we understand that birds eat our produce as well as bugs, but we figure there should be enough for everybody if we manage it right.

    And I should tell you that, just yesterday afternoon, I completed the hoop system for a sheer fabric row cover we plan to install on Row 6 (the fall veg row). It runs about 82 feet and will cover the brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, collards, and kale.

  3. Even though we think of pesticides as bad now, I think we have to acknowledge the blessing they were originally. At first, pesticides saved a lot of farmers from ruin by increasing yields and by greatly reducing the large labor force required to weed and pick bugs all of which made overhead much lower. I’m reading a book about organic farming and when one farmer was asked about organic farming he’s quoted as saying “Huh! I remember that from when I was a boy. It means worms in your cabbage!”

    Also, see my other post about chickens and geese reducing pests.

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