29 August, 2015


I just deleted a comment written for this blog directing folks to go to Lowes to purchase stuff.  I have no real beef with Lowes, per se, but the gall to use my blog to bring in customers really yanked my chain.

A Cooper's Hawk resides in our Sequoia. Poisoning the mice and rats
here as the LAUSD has suggested, might kill him too.  We don't
encourage a fight with Nature, but try to work with Her and
we both win.
Those who have had classes from me, know that I ask everyone to buy their plants and gardening supplies ONLY from local establishments, avoiding the big chains just like Lowes as much as possible. I would recommend hitting yourself in the head with a hammer twice as often as going into big box stores.  Any profit they make is pulled from your community and sent away to company headquarters wherever that may be and for that your community is poorer.  If enough folks shop there, local community resources are left to whither and die leaving your community poorer yet.  

If price is your only criteria for purchasing an item, you have a pretty well messed up value system. 

"I can't afford organic food...."  is driveling nonsense.  How can you afford the doctor bills?The time lost from work?  "Unable" to buy organic (i.e. non-GMO and organic pesticides only) is a false paradigm and so is shopping at chain stores, unless they are local chain stores.  I try as much as I can to buy locally, from local hardware and local nursery establishments. 

I believe Lowes bought Orchard Supply Hardware.  I liked my local OSH, as far as a chain store could go, it was convenient to me and had longer hours.  I only traded there when I couldn't get what I needed elsewhere or the hour was late (if you need to repair a PVC pipe to stop an irrigation leak sprung after 8 PM, with our drought, I'd buy the hunk of PVC from North Korea if I had to). 

Suddenly, OSH underwent a huge transformation!  New this and that, more parking, more merchandise and way cleaner.  I got sucked in for a bit.  I traded there more often - then one day I needed some sort of fertilizer and that's when I realized how profound the change had been.

There were organic fertilizers and pest controls on the shelves it's true, but all were manufactured by the chemical companies I'm trying to avoid. If I am opposed to Miracle Grow, and think it's deadly to our soil along with a million other reasons, why in God's name would I buy a Miracle Grow product simply stamped with an "organic" label?  I won't.  There were no other products being displayed on the shelves but the ones from these huge chemical corporations.  

All of the plants for sale are suspect as well with the addition of neonicotinoids to every growing thing.  This insecticide is horrific in its indiscriminate killing capacity - gardeners choosing plants as support for our local insect population - including honey bees! - are in fact, killing them.  It is exactly what an intelligent gardener wishes to avoid!  At The Learning Garden, we have not used ANY insecticides in over 14 years and have LOTS of insects, meaning we have very little insect damage, proving year after year the folly of the insect killing paradigm.

I'd like to say I've never been back, but I bought some batteries late the other night. There is no organic line of batteries yet.  And I bought a paint brush.  But I stay the hell out of the garden section.  We do not need more poison in the world.  Even if they are only ornamental plants - in fact because they are ONLY ornamental plants, what kind of stupidity has one putting poison on an ornamental plant? What benefit will be gained?  You will kill this insect, who was food for that insect, which causes that insect to die so when this insect comes back again that insect will not be around any more setting you up to have to indulge in more poison and more poison.  It is a stupid cycle of death and destruction of waste and a warped sense of priorities.  Why kill living things just to have some plant look 'perfect' for a couple of weeks?  

But having a systemic insecticide is much more stupid because they kill off bees and beneficial insects indiscriminately and set you up to use more poison many times over or purchase ONLY plants that have a systemic insecticide in them.  And soon then you have no honey, no bees, you have no birds because they ate the poisoned insects and you have perfect flowers but an entire space (I cannot bring myself to call it a garden) bereft of life and you, poorer for buying all this crap, have nothing of real worth to show for it.

Our value system has become so skewed by commercials that we now have a warped view of beauty and 'good.'  Any gardener worth his seed catalogs knows that the sweetest fruit of the garden is the fruit that has already been sampled by a critter.  The blemished, the bitten, the imperfect are the fruits of the land and are not less nutritious or inferior. That is our modern construct! And it is an excellent way to relieve you of your money (so you could buy organic vegetables instead!) (By the way, the more expensive 'organic' food is only more expensive because our government puts the onus on them to comply with 'organic labeling laws' - they should make the producers who use poison list the poisons on your food that keep it from being called 'organic.' - If our own government would stop pushing the poison food on us, 'organic' would be less expensive than it is today.  Ask yourself, why is a Big Mac less expensive than a salad?)

In my garden, bring on the weeds!  More insects PLEASE! We will get by and be healthier and happier for it. And so will the earth.  

Lowes, stay the hell off my blog.  We have compassion for life around here - all of it.