Category Archives: pests and pesticides

Healing The Planet Together

Last week I visited several gardens where soils were powder dry after the long baking summer. Watching desiccated soil puff off a shovel like dust in the wind, I was reminded of the dustbowl days when foolish and ignorant farming practices destroyed native plants and soils. One highly productive thing we can do to help repair the ecological damage to our precious world is to amend impoverished soil. Healing treatments include deep mulching with aged compost and/or digested dairy manures, both of which help to renew soil tilth and texture as well as the nutrient balance. This fall, heap weary beds high with fallen foliage, shredding the larger leaves by running over them with a mower. A foot of leaves isn’t too much for empty or new beds, and it’s not too much for empty bays between larger shrubs or areas around trees. Do not till in these amendments; tilling is now considered an ultimately destructive practice. Just layer them on, autumn and spring. Every. Single. Year. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , | 8 Comments

When Ladybugs Might Bug You

When spring arrives and the air warms up, Korean ladybugs awaken and try to get back outside. For some folks, finding what might feel like an invading army of redcoats on the windows can trigger attempts to get rid of them. However, hungry ladybugs eat their weight daily in pests like aphids and whitefly eggs, and these little ladybirds can be terrific garden helpers. Put outside too soon, they’ll simply die for the lack of edible insects. Instead, tuck these beneficials away until spring is truly here. Continue reading

Posted in Gardening With Children, Moss, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | 4 Comments

Backyard Permaculture

One important consideration for all who are thinking about creating a more natural garden where insects and critters are welcome is the fact that all critters need water, food and shelter. Unless we have natural ponds or streams, we may need to provide shallow bathing bowls and keep them clean and full of fresh water. Food will be abundant wherever we offer a diversity of plants but providing food and shelter means allowing some visible “damage” to plants we may hold dear. It also means leaving much of the garden undisturbed in winter, when butterflies, frogs, toads and other creatures are hibernating. If you tend toward neatness over the natural, this may be painfully difficult, so one way to ease into a new way of caring for your garden might be to allow sweet disorder to reign in areas you don’t have to look at every day. Keep you entry and walkway as neat as you please and comfort your tidy self with the knowledge that letting go of a little control now will pay a dividend of flourishing garden life in the future Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Growing Berry Crops, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Gardening For Bees, Bugs and Butterflies

To forward this worthy agenda, many folks designate an area near orchards and vegetable beds to become home ground for beneficials. Organic growers call such areas “bug banks,” since they become storehouses of invaluable insect garden allies. In its simplest form, a slim strip of bug bank might line or abut each row in a veggie patch, holding perennial herbs such as oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary as well as annual flowers like feverfew and sweet alyssum. The greater the variety of plants on offer, the greater the assortment and quantity of insect helpers that will make themselves at home. Continue reading

Posted in pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged | 5 Comments