Many gardeners have an aversion to chemicals. These gardeners may be devoted to pesticide-free growing, want to plant (and eat) edibles, or simply like the thought of keeping flower beds naturally healthy. Whatever the reason, there are key steps you can take to get and keep the pesticides out of your garden.
Grow on a good foundation. Healthy plants love healthy soil – soil that’s regularly changed with compost or supplemented if it’s too sandy or clayey. Have your soil tested to discover its composition and add nutrients as needed. Each spring, dig in several inches of compost, protect your plants yearly or seasonally with a healthy layer of organic mulch, and clear out any dead plant material at the growing season’s end.
Match your plants to your growing climate. If you have plants that struggle and strain through the growing season, they may not be a good fit, either for the spot they’re in or for your climate. For example, sun-loving phlox may be more susceptible to wilt or mold if planted in a shady, wet location. Shrubs hardy only to USDA Zone 5 may struggle after a particularly difficult, long, and cold winter. Choose your plants carefully and site them where recommended on the plant’s label information.
Be diverse. Some plants need more of a certain kind of nutrient or mineral, such as nitrogen. If you plant the same thing over and over in the same spot, you’ll deplete your soil of the very thing the plants require. You’ll also encourage nuisance bugs to take up residence – think squash bugs that overwinter in the ground and feed on the same plot of melons each year. Your yearly garden plan should include a diverse crop with a variety of flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Rotating plants helps, too. In a veggie garden, swap out spots, moving your tomatoes and peppers from year to year and skipping cucumbers if squash bugs have taken up residence.
infographic by: www.fix.com