Tips For Healthy Pesticide-Free Lawns'n'Gardens
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Weed Control

Spread fine compost
over lawn (esp. in Fall) to nourish lawns, encourage thick growth and to smother weeds (B1, B5)
Cut lawns to no less than 2.5 to 3 inches to help shade out weeds (B1, B5)
Corn Gluten Meal can be an effective pre-emergent weed control product, esp. for crabgrass (B2)
Herbicidal soaps, which contain special formulations of fatty acids but NO synthetic pesticides, can be used to spot treat weeds (B3)
Biodiversity, Crossplanting, Integrated Vegetation Management (ie introducing clover and native grasses etc into lawn environments) can help crowd out weeds, add needed nitrogen to lawns and add greater visual appeal (B4, B5)
Dethatch and aerate to encourage downward root growth and thicker grass... which helps crowd out weeds (B4, B5)
Consider heartier, native species which require much less maintenance and have superior resistance to pests eg; Little blue stem (B7, B8)


Basalt Dust (finely ground rock powders) or Diatomaceous earth (a non-toxic mineral product of fossilized shells) present as insect ‘food sources’. When consumed, they forces insects to dehydrate and die (B5, B6)
Insecticidal Soaps are solutions of fatty acids and contain NO synthetic pesticides, that kill aphids, mites, whiteflies etc. (make your own with 1-3 tsps of soap (NOT detergent) per gallon of water... spray conservatively every 2-3 days for 2 weeks on bad infestations) (B4)
Other homebrewed pest controls are: Garlic Oil (10-15 finely chopped garlic cloves soaked in 1 pint mineral oil for 24 hours); HotPepper Spray (1/2 cup hot peppers in 2 cups water, strain and spray); Bug Juice (1/2 cup of specific pest, mashed well, mix with2 cups water and strain, add a few drops of soap to strained solution and spray... wear gloves and protective clothing).
Beneficial insects can be very effective in controlling unwanted pests: Lady Bugs feed on aphids, mealybugs & spider mites; Ground Beetles prey on Cabbage root maggots, Cutworms, Snail and Slug eggs, some even attack Tent caterpillars; Tachinid flies suppress Tent caterpillars, Cutworms, Cornborers, Stinkbugs etc. There are a litany of beneficial insects that control most pest insects. Contact Natural Insect Control" RR #2 Stevensville, Ontario (905) 382-2904 (B4, B5)
Companion plants in your flower and vegetable garden will attract beneficials to, and pest insects away from your plants. Fragrant marigolds (repels nematodes), Mints (potted to prevent overgrowth- repels cabbage pests and aphids), Rue (deters Japanese beetles) Sweet Basil (controls tomato hornworm, repels aphids, mosquitoes, mites and acts as a fungicide and slows the growth of milkweed bugs), Tansy(as a mulch can repel cucumber beeteles, Japanese beetles, ants, squash bugs (B4, B5)
Interplanting in the vegetable garden: Combining tomato plants with cabbage controls flea beetles, cabbage maggots etc; Onions planted with carrots controls Rust flies and Nematodes; Horseradish planted with potatoes repels Colorado potato beetles; Radishes or Nasturtiums with cucumbers controls Cucumber beetle. There are a myriad of such solutions. Pick up Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening or similar publication for more information. (B4, B5)
Habitat Restoration (also known as naturalized gardens) is the most exciting shift in Canadian gardening. It suggests the re-introduction of species native to your region and boasts very low maintenance, low watering and extremely high pest-resistance. To find out more, seek out any of the many books by Torontonian, Lorraine Johnson, including "The Ontario Naturalized Garden" and "100 Easy to Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens". (B7, B8)

: EPA booklet "Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment" B2: "Corn Gluten Meal... for Weed Control" by Melissa Caroline McDade, Iowa State University, 1999 B3: Dr. Nick Christians, Iowa State University B4: Rodale’s "All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, Rodale Press 1992 B5 The Best of Organic Gardening, Rodale Press, 1996 B6: The New Organic Grower, Chelsea Green Publishing, 1989 B7: "100 Easy to Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens" by Lorraine Johnson, Random House Canada,1999; "The Ontario Naturalized Garden" by Lorraine Johnson, Whitecap Books 1995