Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > August 2016 > IN THE DIRT with DOUG - PESTICIDE-FREE GARDENING / CAN IT BE DONE?

IN THE DIRT with DOUG - PESTICIDE-FREE GARDENING / CAN IT BE DONE?

In doing this blog I thought about myself.  I can’t recall when I last used any pesticides, other than putting an ant repellent around the perimeter of my house every year.  I looked in my shed and I don’t even own any pesticides.  So, how have I become a pesticide – free gardener?  Good question.
Can we all agree that not all insects are bad and that we do have many beneficial insects that we need for our plants?  More often than not, many homeowners look at any insect as being bad.  So, they resort to using pesticides recklessly.  Most pesticides cannot distinguish good insects from the bad insect.
Insects perform so many activities to all of our gardens.  And, insects are an important food for many animals, including birds, frogs, toads, and others. 
Bottom line:       WE NEED TO LEARN WHAT INSECTS ARE OUR ALLIES AND WHICH INSECTS ARE THE ENEMY
When it comes to insects, we need to encourage biodiversity.  Biodiversity is learning to live in harmony with natures’ creatures.
The very popular fall planting season is just around the corner.  I plead with everyone to use this time to study and learn about our need for encouraging beneficial insects to our gardens.
PESTICIDES – EVEN ORGANIC VARIETIES – ARE NOT THE SAFEST, HEALTHIEST, OR MOST EFFECTIVE NATURAL PEST CONTROL OPTIONS. 
So, you may ask – then what is the safest method(s) to being a pesticides free gardener?
Here are some tips to becoming a pesticide-free gardener:
1.GARDENING for INSECTS  -  I have been reading more and more articles about “gardening for insects”.  It seems to be growing in popularity – learning to garden with plants that invite the beneficial insects.  The 3 ‘P’s’ of beneficial insects are pollinators, predators, and parasites.   Pollinators, such as honeybees, fertilize flowers which increases the productivity of our vegetables and fruits.  Predators, such as the ladybugs and dragonflies consume pests as food.  Parasites will use insects as their “baby nursery”.  If you recognize and distinguish the good insects from the bad insects it is easier to appreciate their work and understand why it is best not to use pesticides. 
2.PLANT MORE NATIVE PLANTSnative plants are natural for our area and require little, if any, maintenance or fuss.
3.INTERCROP – Mix up your plants so those that attract beneficial insects are nearby those that need protection.
4.SOURSE OF WATER – Provide a source of water for the beneficial insects by putting a shallow dish of water with stones to allow them dry places to land
5.RIGHT PLANT / RIGHT LOCATION – Healthy, strong plants do not attract insects.  Insects seem to know when a plant is in stress and will attack.
6.HEALTHY SOIL – Create a good, organic-rich soil.  A healthy soil allows soil organisms to thrive.
7.SOAPY WATER BATH -  Using Ivory Soap and water to give plants a bath is a good, natural way to keep the bad insects from doing any damage.  And, at the same time, doing no harm to the beneficial insects.
BOTTOM LINE:  USE THIS TIME TO LEARN HOW TO “RALLY THE TROOPS”  TO YOUR GARDEN AND ELIMINATE THE NEED FOR ANY CHEMICAL APPLICATIONS.
                                                                                Happy Gardening
Posted: 8/24/2016 by Doug Hensel | with 0 comment(s)
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