Garden products from the bad old days


I'm packing up to move, so it's time to decide which of these gardening products I'll be taking with me and which deserve to be sealed tightly at the bottom of a landfill somewhere.  In my defense, I bought most of these 15-25 years ago, before I knew enough to question the safety of all this stuff, or even the need for them.  Before I'd gotten religion in the garden.


Here's the Dirty Two Dozen or so.  Readers, would you take any of these with you to your next garden?  (I'll venture a keep-worthy list below)


  • Liquid Sevin
  • Sevin Dust
  • Ortho Systemic Insect Killer
  • Spectracide Insect Control
  • Ortho Orthene Systemic insect Control
  • Quick-Kill Mosquito pellets
  • Dragon Cygon 2-E Systemic Insecticide
  • Safer Caterpillar Killer
  • Bon-Neem Insecticidal Soap
  • Bonide All-Seasons Spray Oil



  • Ortho Weed-B-Gon – 3 of them
  • Ortho Poison Ivy and Oak Killer – 2 cans
  • Ortho Grass-B-Gone
  • Ortho Triox Vegetation Killer
  • Bonide stump and Vine Killer
  • Various formulations of Round-up – 4 of them.  (Why all the duplicates?  One messy toolshed.)



  • Ortho Funginex Rose Disease control
  • Dragon Copper Fungicide
  • Infuse Systemic Disease Control
  • Dragon Benomyl Disease Control
  • Ortho Multi-Purpose Fungicide


  • Ortho Rose Pride
  • Miracle Gro Rose Food
  • Dynamite Fertilizer

Plus 2 bottles of the unclassifiable FreezePruf and not pictured, three different deer repellent products.  And sitting in my garage is a bag of Hollytone.

Proposed Keepers

  • Neem insecticidal soap – it's fairly harmless, right?  And who knows what critters await me in my next garden?
  • Bonide All-Seasons Spray Oil – ditto.
  • Hollytone

Pretty short list.  I'll happily donate my deer sprays to neighbors, since there aren't any where I'm going.  Ditto the Round-up, since I'm leaving behind the scourge of poison ivy – the one plant I used it on. 


  1. I would’ve kept the same things, plus a thing of round-up (there always seems to be some perennial weed that resists any other method of control). I would love to do this to several sheds I’ve come across, but never align those with hazardous waste clean-up drops.

  2. That’s quite a group of chemicals. I haven’t seen Triox or Cygon in years. Safer Caterpillar Killer is BT, so if it’s not more than a year old I would take that with the others you are taking.

    Oh, and the reason you have 4 different types of Round-up is the marketing by Monsanto.

  3. Wow, and I thought my killing shelf was bad!

    I’d keep the most recent stump killer/poison ivy killer…for just those occasions where you want to rid yourself of those beauties without digging. And I’m a Roundup fan, mostly because my immediate lawn is buffalograss and I can use Roundup on the weeds in the Spring while the buffalograss is still dormant.

  4. It’s amazing what we used to routinely use in our gardens, isn’t it? That’s great that you’re getting rid of them but please take them to a spot where they’ll be disposed of properly if possible. They’re called Household Hazardous Waste Depots here in Canada. In a landfill, they could eventually leach into the ground water or otherwise get into the ecosystem.

  5. Holy cow, that’s alot of Ortho!

    I would take the Roundup, for those perennial type thugs that you may encounter like Goutweed.

    I would probably take along the fertilizers to just use them up. Of course I haven’t used up the ones I brought on my move.

  6. Ditto on the list, plus one thing of Round-up.

    The fertilizers, while not that great, are best used instead of tossed.

    For the rest, they need to be disposed of at a hazardous waste handling facility.

  7. Moving is a great way to lighten the load. It’s amazing what we can stuff in to the recesses of every nook and cranny in a home.

    One of my winter projects is to go through and clean out my father’s tool closet. It is a giant tumbled mess. Not only does it include all the garden chemicals, it is full of old paint and every kind of construction glue, caulk, salve and potion you can imagine.

    It is tempting to sneak all this toxic crap into the regular garbage, but I must do the right thing and find out what the county does with toxic waste. I think one drop off site has a special place for it all.

  8. I totally would avoid sending that shelf of poison to a landfill.
    I’d find the correct place for that stuff. I’d maybe offer that junk on freecycle, and what nobody wanted would definitely go to the hazardous waste peeps.

    As far as what I would take to the new garden, I wouldn’t take none of it!

    I’d go as organic and nature-friendly as possible. While there are invasives, plants and bugs and mammals, I’m not psyched on these “organic” poisons.

    Rather than purchase fertilizers at the big box store, I’d rather go curb shopping, and look for stables, and other sources of animal poop… And try to garden the way that God designed the plants to grow.

  9. Years ago (about 30) a friend getting her Ph.D. in soil science told me of a study comparing the output of an organically maintained acre versus a synthetic product maintained one. For the first five years, the one using synthetics outperformed the organic. However, the output of the organic was increasing while that of the other was decreasing. By about the seventh year, the two acres matched production. After that the organic continued to increase production, eventually outperforming that of the synthetic’s best year, while the synthetic’s production remained low. How many of us have ten years to test this? On the other hand, despite a title to land bearing our names, do we really “own” it and have the right to do whatever we please, forgetting the rights of future generations? Of course, then I think of my other friends, fighting kudzu, who cut it back to two feet from the ground, stuck the end in Round-Up, and finally cleared their area of this pest, while their neighbors’ yards were a mountain of vines. (I know; way too long.)

  10. Yikes. Find your nearest hazardous waste disposal site and get rid of all of it. Roundup is quite evil too — the evidence is only now coming in.

    As a college student, I spent several sunny spring days during the year of the first Earth Day (1970?) sitting in front of the local Safeway store, collecting pesticides for the Sierra Club. No hazardous waste dump sites then — no one thought this stuff was bad, and I mean we collected plenty of DDT — we just took it to the landfill.

    Too bad we still deal with this stuff. MonSanto and Ortho’s evil advertising genius has outlasted the efforts of environmentalists and organic gardeners alike through the intervening decades. Money trumps common sense?

  11. I Like your selection. I worked in quite a few “Garden Centers” it was my job each season to pack and unpack these poisons.Gave me headaches so I went to work at a huge tree farm and then as a Master Gardener coordinator.

  12. The really scary part is that your situation is by no means unusual. Think about all the garages across the country and how many of them have similar collections.

  13. Wow. All I have is brush be gone that I got for the appearance of poison ivy. Now I use it to paint the leaves of the wild morning glory that sneak over from my non outdoor mainenance neighbors. I am too cheap and unorganized to use poisons and fertilizers. It costs how much?$? And I have to remember to do it once every “x” days and only if it is overcast, or not windy blah blah blah.

  14. Yikes–I’d dispose of all of it. And in response to Deidre’s comment, I would never in a million years use Sevin dust on my chickens. I eat those eggs! Plus, I care about them.

    Plus, a lot of this stuff is past its expiration date and in leaky containers. It’s the great irony of these nasty chemicals being sold to ordinary people–a farm inspector would have shut this closet down years ago, but nobody stops us from keeping it around.

  15. tibs is right about expiration dates. Some pesticides and other chemicals refuse to break down and persist in the environment, but plenty of the chemicals on that shelf will be breaking down, or the more volatile components will have evaporated. We don’t use chemicals from 15 years ago (or even 5 years ago) in my lab at work, and you shouldn’t use them at home.

  16. What Amy said. Also, in this country, we do have Hazardous Household Waste (HHW) Centers, usually at a city/county dump, where those things are properly disposed of.

    Also, in case you weren’t aware, no moving company would accept any of those for transport, and that actually covers most household cleaners as well, even though they are generally less toxic.

  17. More than once I’ve ranted on this subject, Susan. We go to the employee at the garden center, who gives us a bottle of “try this”. Next year, different problem, different employee, new bottle. Rarely (thank God) does anyone use more than 1/2 the contents of any of these containers. Am I right?
    And, Bob? oh… never mind.

  18. Wow what a collection! When I moved into my house the previous homeowner had left a similar pile. (old, dusty, some kind of leaky) It took a few years, but eventually we got it all to a hazardous waste collection. I love my “product” shelf now. It has liquid and dehydrated seaweed, two different dry organic fertilizers and a bag of dehydrated beneficial microrganisms. I would take nothing and start fresh.

  19. I wonder if Ortho has any info about properly disposing of their evil stuff. I will second the stump and vine killer because you can, without spraying, target it specifically to the invasive weed you occasionally need to kill such as a Hackberry in the middle of an Abelia or other shrub. Hollytone is a good organic fertilizer for acid loving plants. All Seasons oil is useful if you have fruit trees.

Comments are closed.