Dear EarthTalk: What effects do fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used on residential lawns or on farms have on nearby water bodies like rivers, streams-or even the ocean for those of us who live near the shore?
-- Linda Reddington, Manahawkin, NJ

With the advent of the so-called Green Revolution in the second half of the 20th century-when farmers began to use technological advances to boost yields-synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides became commonplace around the world not only on farms, but in backyard gardens and on front lawns as well.

These chemicals, many of which were developed in the lab and are petroleum-based, have allowed farmers and gardeners of every stripe to exercise greater control over the plants they want to grow by enriching the immediate environment and warding off pests. But such benefits haven't come without environmental costs-namely the wholesale pollution of most of our streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and even coastal areas, as these synthetic chemicals run-off into the nearby waterways.
To read the full article, please visit How Fertilizers Harm Earth More Than Help Your Lawn - Scientific American.

While the average home gardener does not use as much fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides (weed killers) as a farm, it is very important for us home gardeners to use organic and natural products in our gardens. It is much safer for our families, our community, our water supplies, and our environment as a whole. Using more compost, compost tea, and worm compost-based products will help not only your vegetables, but will reduce any need for chemicals in your garden or lawn.

If you run into a pest or disease problem, try solving the issue with organic methods. There are many homemade remedies you can implement in your garden that are made from ordinary ingredients already available in your home.

If you want your lawn to look like a beautiful green carpet, that is fine. Try using compost on your lawn, or well-aged manures before you call the Chem-Lawn guy.

Your children and grandchildren will appreciate it!