Harvesting your yield is one of the most rewarding experiences you can imagine. From first time growers with a single plant to big nurseries with hundreds of plants, there’s nothing like collecting the fruits of your labor. But how many times have your harvested your yield only to have an underwhelming (if not funky) taste, aroma, and effect? If your yield tastes strange or essential oils don’t smell right, there could be some left-over elements from growing or extraction, like pesticides or solvents. Now, we know that federal and local entities allow for x-percentage of pesticides in your food or x-amount of solvents in perfumes and oils, but let’s face it: we want our harvests to be clean from the moment we use them. Bugs and Pesticides on Your Harvests Bugs: they're going to happen, and getting rid of them can be a huge pain. You can kill them off easily, but are you sure they're not going to end up in your harvest? One of the grossest things to think about- and one of the hardest things to realize- is the fact that bugs, their eggs, and their larva are present in nearly all produce.
No one wants them, but you'll have to have to deal with it sooner or later. But that doesn't mean that those bugs have to end up in your harvest, and to make sure that doesn't happen you'll want to treat your plants in two ways: 1) Prevent bugs from coming around in the first place. Planting flowers like marigolds will repel bugs away from your crop, and you can also use garlic and vinegar solutions to spray around your plant that will act sort of like a force field around your plant. If you go that route, be careful not to overdo it, because that spray can leak into your plant's food and throw off water levels. 2) Pesticides may necessary to apply to plants, so make them natural. Using combinations of chili powder, water, garlic, and vinegar- as well as implementing neem oil on to leaves- will bring down your bug infestation. When you're done killing all those bugs off, make sure you take a wet paper towel and get all of those bugs off of your plant. For things like fruit you may be able to clear all bugs off pretty easily, but for things like hemp and flowery vegetables you might need a microscope, tweezers, and patience to get into the plants and extract bugs. Make sure to wipe off all bugs and eggs from your plants as quickly as possible when the treatment is over because if you don't some of those bugs may be hidden under leaves or inside vegetables and fruits. Pesticides: they’re necessary to kill bugs, but not all of them are the best for all plants. Not just because one pesticide will kill one plant while it protects another, but because when some pesticides are used on plants it’s not supposed to be used on it can have very negative effects on the consumer. Pesticides and Solvents in Your Harvested Material Say you've used some harsh pesticides in your grow and your harvest has them on them. You wash yield, soak it in vinegar, and get off as many pesticides as possible. Does that mean you still shouldn't eat or consume your harvest?
Of course not! Let's face it: harsh or organic, so long as pesticides are applied in minimal, safe doses and are thoroughly cleaned before consumption you should be just fine. However, if you plan to extract elements from your yield you may want to start as organic as possible. Essential oils and tinctures are made by extracting parts of fruit plants and vegetables: from leaves to rinds to the actual fruit and vegetable itself. Some extraction is done with solvents like butane and CO2, some are made from heat presses, and others are extracted with bubble shaker bags. The material is processed and what's left is a concentrated form of the specific terpene or chemical derived from that material. If you plan on consuming that concentrated extract you might be in for a rude surprise if you send it for testing, because chances are if you used harsh pesticides that weren't fully cleaned from the material used, they're now in your concentrate. "But I thought you just said that it doesn't matter because it's such a small amount!" That's true when it comes to a fruit where that chemical was nothing more than a blip on your plant's radar, but in an extraction that chemical can be more present than ever. Not only that but if the extraction isn't purged of all imperfections- like solvents or things like plastic in heat pressed extracts- those will be present, too. So now you've got an extract that's got chemicals upon chemicals in it, and that's never good to consume or breathe in. What to Use in the Garden Heavy pesticides used in big fruit and vegetable farms are known to cause negative effects on the body, but because they’re processed before hitting the market a lot of that stuff is washed off. Produce with thicker skin can stand heavier pesticides because they can be washed off and what’s then consumed isn’t saturated with harmful chemicals.
Softer fruits and veggies tend to use lesser strength or organic pesticides because heavy-duty pesticides could seep into the plant and its harvests. Again, these pesticides are processed before hitting the market and can be rinsed off at home with a mixture of vinegar and water to get rid of any remaining pesticides. Now, we understand that even if you don’t wash your fruit from the store you won’t keel over, but in the interest of consuming clean yields, it’s important to understand what they do on a large scale and why you might want to go natural on a small scale. Flowers and herbs for consumption, for example, should be sprayed with organic spray- especially if you’re going to extract them. Some growers use the same chemicals you’d use on oranges as they do on marigolds. You may get the bugs off, but if you tested your marigold tincture for pesticides you’d likely find compounds you should not be ingested in such a concentrated form. Not only that, but even if you grow what the big guys grow those types of heavy pesticides are used on a big scale, so it may not be the best idea to use those types of pesticides in your garden.