Today, we have a story from Farm Tales.
It's called "Two Little Gardeners."
It's about two little gardeners, who, at the first signs of spring, go outside to plant their garden. They prepared the garden beds, and planted radish, lettuce, peas, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes...you get the idea.
The rain came, and the sun shone, and soon their seeds sprouted. Their friends the bees came and pollinated the plants, and their vegetables grew...
...and grew. And all was right with the world.
Until, the bugs came. Potato bugs, June bugs and little green worms.
Here's where it get's scary. (You may want to ask your young children to leave the room.) The two little gardeners came with their spray guns.
And you can guess what happened to the potato bugs, June bugs and little green worms.
Yep, that's them, laying there feet up. Remember their "friends" the bees? Well, they'd be dead too. To make a long story short, they went on to have a successful harvest, and preserved all their (pesticide-laden) food for the winter.
Scary story, huh? I was a little shocked to see this illustration when reading this story to my four-year-old. But then again, it was originally copyrighted in 1951, an era that was known as The Golden Age of Pesticides. They just didn't conduct studies at that time to determine if pesticides were safe. All people saw was that they killed the bugs, and the crops grew.
Organic vegetable gardening is a major movement in the U.S., now that we know the harmful side effects of pesticides. Many people still don't realize, though, that pesticides (like backyard mosquito foggers) don't only kill the bad bugs, they kill the beneficial ones too.
So, what to do? Take time now to plan your chemical-free mosquito abatement stragegy for next summer. Plant native plants around and inside the vegetable garden. These plants will attract beneficial insects and birds, who often feed on the baddies. You can also build a purple martin house. They are the happiest mosquito-eating birds around! And while you're at it, build a bat house. And as you've probably heard before, make sure you don't have any standing water around - in buckets, childrens toys, or birdbaths. Keep the chemicals out, and your body will thank you!
Two Little Gardeners by Margaret Wise Brown and Edith Thacher Hurd. Illustrated by Gertrude Elliot. Copyright 1951, renewed 1979 by Random House, Inc.
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