The August issue of What Doctors Don’t Tell You just arrived at our home in the wilds of Spain – and I wanted to add some further thoughts to the main story about chemicals in pesticides and the damage they can do to our health (http://www.wddty.com/scary-scary-how-does-your-garden-grow.html).
First off, sensible garden design and plantings can eliminate the need to use any type of spray. Any spraying we’ve had to do has been on pests that have been introduced into our garden. The geranium moth arrived in the mid 1990s with imported geraniums, the airborne honey fungus spores came from nearby abandoned and now rotting fruit trees, and the tomato Tuti fly came from Majorca in a batch of tomatoes about four years ago.
Luckily, garlic infusions and Neem oil deal with the insects, and propolis - a by-product of bee hives - tackles the honey dew fungus. Each of these is a natural pesticide that have been used for thousands of years.
We don’t have a lawn as grass is not a natural feature of the Mediterranean region. Having a lawn is a chore, as it needs to be constantly watered, and you’ll be forever removing weeds and moss.
If you do use pesticides, you can carry the chemicals into your home on your choe and clothes, as the WDDTY article suggests. For us, we are more likely to bring them in on our bare feet – and into the swimming pool, too.
In our latest book, out next month, Living Well from Our Mediterranean Garden, we listed ’Fresh air - full of oxygen and the aroma of nearby native herbs, without chemical pollutants, especially from agricultural sprays’ as an often forgotten but essential ingredient of the original Mediterranean Diet. Also we emphasise that if one becomes aware of the vitamin and mineral contents of fruit and vegetables and the wellness benefits of herbs and edible flowers there is no need , or at least less in crisis situations, for having more pills than peas with your lunch. Do email us if you would like information about the book.
Incidentally the pest control chapters in our previous quartet of books Gardening in Spain, Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style, Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain and Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain all give ecological solutions to pests.
© Clodagh and Richard Handscombe Holistic gardeners and authors living in Spain for 25 years. www.gardeninginspain.com , firstname.lastname@example.org.