How to - Pests & Diseases

Eco-friendly pest control

Repel those unwanted garden visitors with these humane and environmentally-friendly methods.

Bears
Bears are tricky animal to deter from entering your garden since they are incredibly dangerous. "Exclusion is the best way to protect your garden [from bears]. Don't leave pet food outdoors, secure garbage cans, keep compost piles away from the house, and use motion detectors that engage loud music or flashing lights to scare bears off. Only electric fencing can reliably keep a bear out of the garden, though a very hungry bear may plow through despite shocks," says the National Gardening Association.

Weeds
"An excellent alternative to plastic is ordinary newspaper. It is organic; it can be turned into the soil the following spring and is a lot cheaper than rolls of black plastic. Use a layer about ¼- inch thick and wet it down as soon as you lay it to stop it from blowing away. Then cover the newspaper with a layer of straw," says CapitalDistrictCommunityGardens.com.

To keep weeds under control, the best and most accurate way to keep them at bay is to hand-pick any unwanted plants and use a hoe to turn the weeds into the soil.

3 tips to keep weeds under control without using pesticide:

1. Crop rotation – grow a variety of plants together to limit the number of plant-specific weeds
2. Compost - Non-composted manure can have weed seeds embedded in it. On organic farms only composted manure is used in the spring planting season according to Ministry of Agriculture Foods & Rural Affairs.
3. Mulch - "Mulch is an additional surface layer that suppresses weeds by excluding light - the most important method of organic weed control. It's also used as an aid to plant culture," says the-organic-gardener.com.

Pesticides are not only harmful to the environment, but also to your health, the health of your children and pets as well. Over-exposure to pesticides has been linked to reproductive and neurological health as well as some forms of cancer spurring the Pesticide by-law in Toronto, among other cities across Canada. So, green up and reap the benefits of a healthy garden and yard, worry-free.

Read more in How to and Pests & Diseases

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