C - Chemicals

Every gardener has a different opinion about how things should be done. An example is a favorite saying from one of my good gardening friends: "You get three gardeners in one room - fist fight!". While I don't completely agree with Gerry - I know that there is always more than one way to approach a subject. I hope that we can provide you with some useful information, and some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

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Spring -  Chemicals Storage and Care
By The Garden Commando

Winter or very early Spring is a good time to re organize your garden shed or garage. An area that is often neglected is the chemicals - pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and miticides that you use on and off through the season in your garden.

Most of us tend to buy too much of most of the garden chemicals we use. There is a very good reason for that - it is often much more cost effective to buy the large container. The problems with this practice are that usually we do not label the bottle to indicate the date of purchase; we do not use the entire contents of our bottle in a single season; and we do not store the material properly.

This is a great time of year to sort through the chemical collection. It is a good idea to store chemicals in a locked cupboard. Some are harmless, but others are not. If they are locked up, there can be no question about them getting into small or careless hands. A good project therefore, is to find an old kitchen cabinet (this can be placed either in your tool shed or your garage, and install a lock on it. This cabinet can then become the storage cupboard for your garden chemicals.

When you go through your chemicals, if you find any bottles or cans that you cannot identify - set them aside for appropriate disposal. (If you are not sure about disposal, call your local waste management centrer and they can tell you what to do.)

If you come across any that are opened and you do not know when they were purchased, these should also be set aside for disposal. Chemicals may be affected by changes in temperature, and once a container is opened, actual chemical changes can occur. Although the horticultural industry is required to follow very strict rules concerning the use, storage and disposal of garden chemicals, no such rules apply to homeowners. Guidelines are always printed on the boxes and containers, but are usually in such small print most people do not bother to read them.

To summarize - you should sort through your chemicals; throw out any that are obviously old or that you cannot identify, and always use rubber gloves when pouring, mixing or spraying. 

Bibliography is on the Dormant Oil page

This page was updated January 24, 2000 

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