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Health pet concerns paramount for Clark Countys organic gardeners

first_imgStriving to be clean and green isn’t some sweetly vague principle for today’s all-natural gardeners.Real, immediate concerns about health and safety — not just for people but also for pets — drive their organic gardening practices, according to several who participated July 23 in the annual Natural Garden Tour, sponsored by Clark County Public Health.The self-guided tour of 15 open gardens used to be sponsored by the county’s Environmental Services Department — back when there was one — but putting it under the auspices of Public Health makes serious sense, coordinator Sally Fisher said.“We believe it’s incredibly important to reduce the use of chemicals on people’s yards,” Fisher said.Just ask Sara Mae Egli, whose tight organic landscape in Orchards is motivated by memories of Baby, a beloved dog who suffered from Evans syndrome, a rare autoimmune condition. Just ask Pam and Marty Almandinger, whose two Scottish Terriers both died of cancer.“They would get onto people’s lawns” in the local homeowners association, which is tightly governed to ensure that everything looks as orderly and perfect as can be, Marty Almandinger said. But orderly and perfect usually requires heavy-duty herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, and science is always catching up with the long-term effects such chemicals may have on environmental and animal health. (In recent months the popular herbicide Roundup, long marketed as safe for people, was classified as a known carcinogen by the state of California — joining several other jurisdictions and foreign nations.)“There’s nothing green about the homeowners association,” Marty said.But fertilizer is fine when you whomp it up yourself out of natural ingredients, said Pam Almandinger — who does exactly that with banana peels, coffee grounds and eggshells. She uses her kitchen blender to reduce that stuff into “a real ugly brown slurry,” she said. “Our tomatoes love it.”last_img read more

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