Lee Valley Tools    Gardening Newsletter
   Vol. 7, Issue 4
    June 2012
   Gardening Without Pesticides
Evening harvest timeEvening harvest time
The rewards of evening harvest time in the organic garden

When it comes to gardening without using cosmetic pesticides, there are four areas of prime importance. These include plant choices, knowledge of plant enemies, managing environmental conditions (that are within our control) and preventive measures.

To a certain degree, plant choices can determine gardening success. I suggest researching potential plantings beforehand to save future heartache. For information, look to reputable websites, gardening books, the experiences and knowledge of gardener friends and neighbors, garden center staff and your local master gardeners' group. Choose plants that are disease and bug resistant, that are strong enough to compete with troublesome weeds, and that are zone appropriate.

  Garden helper
  Toads prey on insects, slugs and snails and are some of the best helpers you can have in the garden.

While plant choice is important, so is being able to identify your plants' opponents. When it comes to insects, this can sometimes be tricky, as some, such as lily beetles and their larvae, are outright enemies, while others, such as ladybugs and their larvae, can be beneficial in the garden. Other insects can be both detrimental and beneficial, depending on the circumstances. In great numbers, earwigs, for example, can destroy your plants, but in lesser numbers, they can help them by consuming rotted materials and aphids. It's important to remember that of the more than 2,000 different kinds of bugs in our backyards (not counting the soil organisms), most are harmless, and many are outright helpful. Tachinid flies, ladybugs, parasitoid wasps, assassin bugs, honey bees, butterflies, lacewings, mantises, spiders and syrphid flies are just a few of the wonderful little bugs, along with creatures such as frogs, toads, birds and snakes, that can help our gardens flourish.

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