Go Organic: Creating A Child and Pet Safe Yard
So much of our lives we come into contact with chemicals and we can not control that fact. However, in our yards, we do not have to add chemicals. There are great ways to control bad bugs, fungus and even pesky critters without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
Think before you spray a pesticide
You may kill the insects that are helping you keep pests in check. This means you will have to spray more in the future. Also, insects benefit your garden by pollinating your plants, helping them grow and propagate.
How to make your good bugs feel welcome
Beneficial insects are more likely to remain in your garden if there is a ready food supply. While you can buy many of these predators, it's probably cheaper and more effective to encourage the ones already in your garden. Many beneficial insects need to sip flower nectar to survive. Plan your garden to feed beneficial insects by choosing a variety of plants that will bloom as many months of the year as possible. Here are some things you can do to support your beneficial insect population:
  • Plant nectar-producing flowers to further increase the food supply. Plants in the cabbage, carrot and sunflower family are especially attractive to beneficial insects.
  • Control ants, which may prevent predators from controlling aphids.
  • Don't use persistent, broad-spectrum, contact insecticides like diazinon, malathion and carbaryl. These provide only temporary pest control and are likely to kill more of the natural enemies than the pests. When their enemies are gone, pest populations may soar and become more of a problem than before they were sprayed.
  • Cover bare dirt in your garden with mulch of dead leaves or grass clippings, thick enough to shade the soil surface. This provides shelter for spiders, which are the number one predator on insects. (Most of these spiders are tiny.)
Plants that attract beneficial insects
Plants that attract beneficial insects include angelica, bee balm, buckwheat, calendula ,candytuft, ceanothus, chervil, cilantro, clover, daisy, dill, erigeron, evening primrose, fennel, goldenrod, gypsophila, lovage, parsley, Queen Anne's lace, rue, snowberry, sunflower, sweet alyssum, sweet cicely, thyme, valerian, and yarrow.
Don't forget the birds
Birds can also be very helpful with controlling pests in your garden. Trees, shrubs with berries, birdhouses and water features all encourage birds to visit your yard.
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