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Cordele Garden Club Plant Sale Saturday, May 7

Submitted by:  ELAINE PACK

Cordele Garden Club members are busy digging, dividing, and re-potting in preparation for their Annual Plant Sale.  The sale will be held Saturday, May 7, beginning at 8:30 A.M., 716 20th Avenue E., Cordele, Ga.  It is the pleasure of the club to offer a wide variety of plants, many of which are considered traditional “pass-alongs”
secured from family farms or home places.
“Pass-alongs” have recently gained favor by conscientious gardeners as they have NOT been commercially treated with systemic pesticides claiming to “protect plants from problematic Aphids, White Flies, Beetles, Mealy Bugs and other unwanted pests.”  Though approved by the EPA, this new class of insecticides (neonicotinoids) remains controversial.  The “new-nicotine-like-insecticides” are neurotoxic and are approved for use in home gardening products at 120 times the concentration allowed for farm application. To quote Sara Jepsen, Xerces Society endangered species program director and deputy chair of the IUCN Bumblebee Specialist Group:  “research shows that these compounds have sub-lethal effects on bumblebees, including reduced foraging and reproduction.”  They are absorbed by the plants’ vascular systems – meaning our pollinators are exposed when they eat nectar and pollen.  Dragonflies, butterflies, and lady bugs are also known to be affected.
Monsanto, Bayer, Ortho and Syngenta are distributers of neonicotinoids which are suspect in the increase of Colony Collapse and Decline.  In a bee-friendly-move, Ortho has agreed to phase out neonicotinoids by 20-20.  Meanwhile, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) seems to be the best approach for the home gardener.
IPM includes the use of natural enemies, predators, parasites, pathogens and competitors to control pests and their damage.  When biological, cultural and mechanical controls fail, pesticide treatments are allowed to remove only the target organism.  Widespread application of chemicals is to be avoided.  Pest control materials should be selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms, and the environment.