Sometimes, "going green" is an obvious choice. Sometimes, it's actually a short-sighted idea. The latter is clearly not the case when it comes to garden-scale application of pesticides, now recognized to be a significant source of chemicals that kill stream insects. In fact, chemicals banned for use by commercial farms decades ago are still showing up in streams, which suggests that gardeners and homeowners are inadvertently putting them there. The logic, which could use some scientific testing but seems reasonable enough, is that gardeners buy chemicals to solve a problem at a certain time. The chemical solution is relatively cheap ($10-20), and the gardener does not expect the problem to return, so "why not use it all?" In theory, this is not the case with farmers, who buy chemicals in bulk and expect to have to use the same chemicals repeatedly. Overuse, in theory, means wasted profit. Hey, I like the theory. Enter, the importance of organic (or at least less dangerous) chemicals for gardeners, and companies like EcoSMART that focus on that market.
In August 2011, I was contacted by EcoSMART's to test out their "Safe Plant and Garden Value Bundle," which includes four pre-mixed organic formulations: Weed and Grass Killer, Garden Fungicide, Garden Insect Killer, and Insect Repellent. The combo is available from EcoSMART's website for $26 + shipping, which is about a 30% discount from buying the products individually, or buying the comparable conventional chemicals. The fact that organic chemicals now cost the same as, or less than, conventional chemicals is an amazing thing - that is, if it can be demonstrated that the organics are as effective as the conventional chemicals in the control of "target organisms." I tested the four chemicals in Fall, 2011 (a tough season to really evaluate their effectiveness) and then throughout the first half of the 2012 growing season. Here's how the individual chemicals fared:
Overall, this package is still a great value at $26, and I encourage you to give it a try. If not, I still highly recommend the Insect Repellent because it's a great product, and the Insect Killer because it's a good product and a great value.
Note: I was not compensated for this review, however, I was provided with the $26 Garden Bundle described above, so that I would have something to review. This review is fair and honest and is based on knowledge gained through my 16-year personal background in sustainable gardening and my15-year professional background in wildlife habitat management.