The simple life is an attractive one, especially in the garden. For the healthiest flowers and produce, organic gardening is the way to go.
Gardening organically involves more than just avoiding the use of chemicals. It includes understanding the way that backyard ecology works. Things like composting and water conservation are all part of the process because they use naturally occurring events like the breakdown of compostables and rain water to keep your plants thriving.
Having a plot that sticks close to nature also means having plenty of insects, parasites and other creepy crawlies nearby. Some of these are considered pests – they damage, destroy and transmit diseases to your plants. Others, like lady bugs, green lacewings, various wasps and even jumping spiders, are your friends. They are the natural enemies of the pests and parasitic foes that wreak havoc on your garden.
Many horticultural professionals suggest including native plants in your garden to attract these beneficial bugs and create a safer, healthier environment for your flowers and vegetables.
Planting things like the Canada Anenome (spring blooming), the Cup plant (summer blooming) and New England aster (fall blooming) will bring in the kinds of beetles, flying insects and spiders that you want. They will in turn attack and reduce the population of the unwanted bugs and parasites, efficient and organic gardening at its best.
As an added bonus, native plants are also hardy and generally require less water and maintenance than non-native varieties. Check out Evergreen.ca for an extensive list of native plants sorted by geographical area. Browse through different plant types and find out which invasive plants to avoid.
Certain other plants can also help to naturally deter pests. Traditional gardening wisdom suggests planting marigolds around your beds to repel hungry rabbits and scattering clumps of garlic and green onion plants to keep harmful insects away. In the vegetable patch, mustard plants may actually work to attract bugs away from other crops, making it simple for you to pick the leaves and dispose of the critters.
If you have pests already, check back on the next post for homemade, organic deterrents to help clear them out.