Archive | 11:25 pm

Harvest Monday – 2nd April 2012

2 Apr

Not too much this week. Most of it is from stripping the side bed this morning. Might be green beans and herbs only for a while.

700g carrots

These were some young carrots that I wanted to harvest before the pest controller arrived to spray this morning. I gave them to our next-door neighbour because we have an excess of carrots at the moment. The kids ate a few with lunch.

160g Wild Arugula

Australians generally call this ‘wild rocket’. This batch was also harvested before the spraying. These plant are perennial, so I hated to pull them out. I really need to plant a new patch because they are so handy to have in the garden. They don’t bolt to seed and go bitter like other salad greens.

300g Green Beans

Some from the old patch mid-week, some lazy housewifes from the side bed that I pulled out (see picture). Next week I should have some from the new planting.

An armful of flat-leaf parsley

My parsley patch was right in the way of the pest spraying. I cut as much out as I could carry in my arms and the rest will need to be pulled and tossed away. I’ve already planted replacements in the main bed, so I shouldn’t be without for long.

That’s it for this week. For more harvests from around the world, visit Daphne’s Dandelions – the Spring harvests are starting in North America – very exciting!

‘Pest’ Control and being a good neighbour

2 Apr

Sometimes life throws a moral dilemma at you. I generally base my moral framework around my Christian faith. The bible provides great guidance on a variety of life’s issues, and God gives us a conscience to work out the specifics. Most of the time I’m comfortable with that.

But when you struggle with something a bit left-field?

Our street has formed a very strong sense of community over many years. The majority of residents are elderly, and have known each other since their children were little. Every year we have a street Christmas party and people in general just look out for each other.

As part of this community spirit, once a year everyone joins in to have their houses inspected for termites and sprayed for pests. The feeling is that if we keep the termites away from all the houses, then everyone as a whole will be less susceptible. Because everyone’s house is sprayed at once, the price is also really low. There are a few ‘abstainers’ on the street, but these people are viewed as spoiling things for everyone else.

Hence my problem.

I’ve gone to a reasonable amount of effort to grow my food as close to organic principles as possible. You will see the occasional application of tomato dust in moments of weakness, but I’m certainly not out there blanket-spraying with Confidor. My view on the ‘pest’ issue is that it is better to inspect for termites, but only use chemicals when there is evidence of activity. I don’t see spiders for example as a particular problem – I’d rather that they were there to eat my fruit flies.

Last year I asked them not to spray inside my house. I didn’t want my family exposed to sprays for cockroaches, ants etc. I just don’t see them as a problem. I did however let them dust inside the roof, but I’m unsure of how bad this really is.

This morning when they arrived (it had slipped my mind that they were coming today) I spent an hour or so carting all my potted edibles from the back deck to the front yard and stripping the side veggie bed of everything I could salvage. I lifted all the carrots , trimmed the parsley, picked the beans then pulled the lot out and fed it to the chooks. This left the beds empty.

So they came and they sprayed the outside of the house with Bifenthrin and dusted the roof with Coopex Permethrin. They avoided the chicken coop, but sprayed around the back fenceline where the raspberry canes and the banana tree are.

I really don’t feel good about it. I would prefer that my kids and family were not exposed to an unnecessary chemical. To make matters worse the delivery man from the organic fruit and veg company arrived while they were spraying and acted like my house was Chernobyl. I really should have called him in advance to let him know to leave the delivery at the letterbox. That wasn’t very considerate of me.

But for some reason I feel far worse about potentially being a bad neighbour.

What would you have done?