For most of my life, I have viewed my gardening as a thoroughly enjoyable hobby. It was just a natural part of the Southern Agrarian lifestyle that is so much a part of me. My garden has not felt the bitter taste of pesticides, and the fertilizers have been various forms of organic compost. Pest control has been a combination of physically removing bugs, organic methods, and being resigned to the fact that a portion of the crops would be destroyed by pests. It was an enjoyable way to live, and it shielded me from the ancient reason for raising food crops – simple survival. It was – and is – a great and relaxing way to live, but that has partly come to an end.
While I still have not used any pesticides on the garden, I have begun stocking up on Sevin dust and other pesticides. Planting according to a planned schedule now takes a much higher priority than “I’ll try to get to it this weekend.”
The garden has begun to take on the role of Provider of Food … for real. What if my family had to depend on what we grow in the garden and the chicken coop (soon to be joined by some geese)? What if our sole source of water for the plants and the poultry – and for us – were the hand pump well in the back? These are matters that our ancestors took for granted – that was just the way life was. Could it be that way once again? In America? In the Twenty-First Century? Anyone paying attention to world events would have to answer, “yes”.
For now, I continue to abstain from the use of chemical pesticides; however, pesticide-free organic gardening is really more of a luxury than a necessity. If “push comes to shove” and providing my family with good wholesome food depends in large part on what the garden produces, I won’t feel obliged to “share” with the bugs and the birds and the squirrels and the coons, and I won’t be concerned about careful use of pesticides, and I will take a far less relaxed attitude about getting the maximum yield from the garden.
The world is changing rapidly and becoming very unstable. Those who follow the Southern Agrarian philosophy can take great comfort in being close to the land in times like this.