Thursday, 12 March 2015

Great Minds Think Alike ?

I was recently contacted by Kari Arneson about a very interesting and helpful article published in the  number one bird and garden magazine "Birds & Blooms"
It is called Grow a Chemical Free Garden
A "why and how" to wean yourself from using chemicals in your garden to control pests and disease.

It is all too easy to think "I'm just using a little" or " just this one time won't hurt".
I can admit to thinking that way as well, not so long ago.
However ... I had to start thinking about the welfare of  the gorgeous Goldfinches and other birds we invite into my garden with seed stations ... they were not only eating the seed.
They were helping keep the bug population in check for me .. almost as a thank you for the seed.
OK ... maybe they love eating bugs and it supplemented my meager offerings in fact ?

So ... I had to do a full stop on all and any chemicals when my conscience kicked in (this was quite a few years ago mind you) ... and think about how to control the nasty factor in a natural way with gardening.

The first step, as in the article, is to nurture your plants with as much compost and organic matter to make them as strong as possible to ward off disease and bad bugs.
Not so hard right ? we do that step as second nature for gardeners ..
Next is another no brainer .. plants that entice good bugs ... we all want good bugs right ?
Such as the butterflies that lay eggs for the next generation of pollinators .
I have been thrilled with having the egg to caterpillar stage, go to chrysalis stage, to the actual butterfly.
It is something you have to witness and follow, to feel that amazement with such a tiny, yet totally impacting and profound event on the environment.

Planting dill, fennel and other herbs and perennials plus annuals, will draw in these tiny miraculous creatures.
Plus ? an added benefit, the dill I plant wards off bugs that can plague my roses.
Where ever I have roses they are always guarded by dill and other herbs .. bad bugs do not enjoy the same scents that we do.
See little stars below where I have some for the climbing roses.. yes, they are climbing .. eventually!

Aphids ? get your hose out to blast those little creeps .. it is almost a stress buster when I shoot them off plants.
All in all it is possible to have a great garden without the chemical factor .. use what nature has given us to combat the "bad guys" and save the "good guys" and the environment from man made chemicals.
Read the article ... read the magazine in fact ! ... well worth the time and effort !


Lona said...

I have been trying to use more homemade ways to keep away the insects too and planting more flowers for the bees and butterflies. It really scares me that the honey bees are so few around here anymore. I think that was my wake up call.I bet you are as anxious as I am to get with the gardening.I started some seeds and have been fighting with sol gnats. Girl I have not had those before and I cannot seem to get rid of them with sprays or vinegar like fruit flies. I have sticky boards coming and I hope they all get stuck. LOL! Take care my friend.

Country Gal said...

I don't use any chemicals in my gardens I just let mother nature do what she does and if it means loosing some plants oh well at least it wont harm the butterfly's , hummers , bees or birds . Great info , Thanks for sharing , have a good day !

NanaDiana said...

I try not to use any chemicals on my garden...but do resort to some stinky spray that I use on the hollyhocks that nothing else seems to work on. Otherwise the eat the leaves away so they look like lace.

Hope you had a good day- xo Diana

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Lona girl !
Yes the honey bee factor is something all of us keep in the back of our garden minds .. people who don't realize just how important those little creatures are will only feel the affect when it all comes crashing down .. mean while every little bit we can do helps!
Oh my gosh .. I found this link that might help
But I think you are doing everything it suggests .. so FRUSTRATING eh?
Good luck girl .. don't get too crazy with it all !

Hello Elaine girl : )
Yes way out there where you live is such a beautiful natural setting, that is the best way to handle things. I bet the snow is melting there ? we are supposed to have rain for the weekend .. fingers crossed.
I have a colossal mountain of snow on my daffs .. BIG sigh.. take care!

Diana girl hello there : )
You have me wondering what that spray is and why it is so stinky .. sounds like it could be natural because most man made products shield the smell to please the customer.
Hope is the volunteer work is going well ?
Take care !

Rose said...

A great reminder as we start the gardening season, Joy. I have grown in much the same way to appreciate all the good bugs and to be aware of how important it is to have a friendly place for the bees and butterflies. I don't use chemicals on my garden either and do some companion planting to keep the bad bugs out as much as possible. The only real problem I have each year is the squash bugs--I haven't found a natural remedy that really works on them. But they usually don't appear until later in the season when I've already harvested some squash, and I've resigned myself to them--after all, there's only so many zucchini you need anyway:)

rochefleuriegarden said...

I also let nature take its course. At times things do not look as good as they should but that is life!
As usual, your photos are great.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Rose girl : )
I think as we become more experienced gardeners we are more willing to accept the way nature works .. well, how life works in general maybe ? haha
Squash bugs .. sounds nasty and annoying and probably some years are worse than other years ? .. and yes! you can only eat so much squash .. mail me what you can't eat ? hahaha

Alain hello there and thank you : )
Yes .. the garden and life in general is going to do, what it is going to do ! no matter what our intervention is .. so taking the natural course is so much better for all of us in the end.

Nadezda said...

Hello Joy!
You're right, I try not to use any chemical methods but bees are very rare here now. I often plant tagetes between roses or veggies.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Nadezda girl !
Thank you for reminding me about marigolds .. they are an old fashioned plant but they are being bred for softer colours .. a beautiful soft yellow is one I have seen lately in garden catalogs .. in any case they are so useful as well to ward of bag bugs too !

Casa Mariposa said...

My garden is a completely organic pollinator garden. I don't worry about bugs. By creating an ecosystem the good buys will keep the bad guys in balance. But a lot of nursery plants are full of chemical pesticides and gardeners inadvertently bring them into their gardens. We have to be detectives to even find out if the plants we buy are safe for the pollinators we design for.

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello there Tammy girl (I am writing this first thing in the morning so this could be dangerous? for proof of intelligent life on this blog!)
It has been a fantastic movement among gardeners to become chemical free I am very proud of us all : )
But yes surprisingly plant vendors from many sources do still saturate their plants with the deadly stuff .. So we do have to ask questions and make hard decisions at times !

Carolyn ♥ said...

Great ideas that I heartily subscribe to dear Joy. I'm back in the blogging world... missed you!

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello there Carolyn girl !
I was just over to your blog to say hi and welcome back ... your blog is looking so pretty : 0 VERY Spring like which is what I need in large doses!
Thank you !!

Susan said...

About the only thing growing in this new to me garden was roses and a sad looking lot in to the bargain. Time for some love-I hadn't heard about planting dill with them, which I will now do. I'm also trying some alliums and putting some cherry tomatoes in, what an eclectic bed. The tomatoes, so I've heard, cut back on blackspot.

Jennifer said...

I have always avoided chemicals. The only thing I use is insecticidal soap and that is mostly on houseplants ( my ivy often gets spider mites). I wanted to ask you about the hose trick with the aphids. I have issues with aphids every summer. I find if I spray them with water they come back by the next day. Am I doing anything wrong?

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hello Susan : )
I have found the dill does help and alliums surely should too .. anything that can be scented easily .. I have even crushed oregano and sprinkled it around the roses. I hadn't heard of the tomato thing but it might just be the trick too ! Good Luck !

Hello Jennifer girl .. the hose and aphid trick .. when you are blasting them with the water aim for the ground and rub or scrape the ground area .. lots of times I just take my fingers and run them along the infested area, squeezing as much as I can without harming the plant.
I really hate aphids ... if the area is just too big though .. insecticidal soap is about the best thing you can do I'd imagine .. or .. buy ladybugs .. we have had the new orange ones around here so that helps a lot !

Christine said...

My garden and all beds are and have been completely pesticide and herbicide free since we bought the place 25 years ago. I try to encourage ladybugs and other beneficial insects, including butterflies, but I must say it is difficult in our marine-influenced climate - me being less than a mile from the ocean. One thing I did not know about is planting dill among my roses. What a great idea! I'm off to find that magazine, too. Thanks Joy!! You bring such joy to the blog world. :-)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Christine girl you are too sweet !
Thank you ... and I certainly applaud you not using chemicals .. it is indeed difficult where you are situated.
We have the different type lady bugs that have a more orange body than the old fashioned ones with red body but they try their best with aphid population which seems to be working since I haven't had a bad infestation of them in quite some time !
Loved your shadow shot girl !!

RURAL magazine said...

I'm with you Joy, a pesticide free garden is a must! Never have, never will.

I do have lots of bugs up here, we grow em big in the Okanagan, that's for sure. But I also have lots of birds, and I am pretty sure bats flying around at night.

So goodbye bugs, hello happy birds.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Hi there Jen girl .. I know that some years are worse than other years for bugs and problems .. but then some years are fantastic as the pendulum swings ! .. Bats are amazing bug vacuums .. I toyed with having a bat house for a while .. but years ago we found one on the deck and it sort of creeped me out .. we don't know how it got there .. he/she seemed just a little stunned .. so we left it and after a while it disappeared, back to where ever it came from (Halloween Town ?) haha .. but it was interesting !!

Marguerite said...

Good for you Joy. Funny when you have a well balanced garden the bugs hardly seem a worry at all. I tend to forget about bugs altogether. My bigger issue is fungus. Powdery mildew, blight, those things really bring havock to my garden and I haven't a clue how to deal with them naturally. p.s. I put in my Canning Order already. Just couldn't wait. Asters and beautybush will be winging their way to me as soon as the snow disappears. (July maybe?)

Christine said...

Hi Joy, the clematis that currently sits on my blog header is called Mayleen. It's a Montana clematis and a prolific bloomer with fragrance! Here's a link:

Happy gardening! Christine

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Marguerite girl ! How are you surviving all that nasty weather ? I feel bad for complaining about mine when you have it so bad ! .. I put in my Canning order a few weeks ago .. a special hosta, clematis .. geranium, heuchera ... lord I could go on and on, it is shameful!LOL .. I know there are some natural remedies for powdery mildew (I have to look them up again and will let you know) blight ? is another problem altogether .. that is one tough cookie to crack girl .. but it keeps us on our toes and our minds working all the time to find remedies. I am so happy for you that Canning will be Santa Clause in a way ? haha

Christine girl ... thank you so much for the link ! I am going to investigate it now .. it is such a sweet flower and to have fragrance as well is a bonus !!


Slug bait is an imperative in my garden. Plus I do one tiny point-spray application on my hollyhock leaves when they're small to kill the hollyhock weevil because nothing else would work. And that is it. Great minds do think alike. And just about all gardeners have great minds. :)

Anonymous said...

Amen Sister!!! I don't "do" chemicals either. I wish more people would feel that way. All around me, they are used. I even had a beekeeper want to put a hive in my garden until he found out my neighbors spray everything. :(

ps love your blog header

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Grace girl you are trying your best and YES ! we gardeners share a communal soul with trying to keep the environment as clean as possible .. an uphill battle but we march on !

Kathleen girl thank you : )
Oh my .. what a disappointment to have neighbors doing that ... they have no idea that it is so harmful ??
I bet they do but don't want to change.
Some will never change until it is too late .. but we do make a difference so we true gardeners stick together !!