What are the alternatives?
Prior to the 1940s, synthetic pesticides did not exist. Instead, people created healthy and safe landscapes using cultural, biological, or mechanical methods. Many of these time-tested methods still work. Try them for yourself.
- Use gardening techniques that encourage vigorous plant growth and discourage pests.
- Choose pest-resistant garden plants that provide habitat for wildlife. Find local sources here
- Plant a variety of species.
- Rotate crops regularly.
- Try companion-planting. It’s a natural pest deterrent. For example, marigolds keep away many insects.
- Manage soil fertility, watering, and drainage to provide optimal growing conditions. Healthy plants are naturally more resistant to pests.
Welcome insects that eat or parasitize pests.
- Many insects are predatory and parasitic.
- Ladybugs control aphids.
- Use nematodes to control unwanted pests.
- For help, contact your local plant nursery
Attract helpful birds and bats
- Plant native flora. Native pest controllers love it.
- Install bird nesting boxes and bat houses [PDF - 2.3 MB]
Reduce pest habitat in your yard.
- Slugs, snails, and other pests like to hide.
- Get rid of debris, pots and boards and other objects.
Create barriers to stop slugs and snails.
- Crush eggshells and oyster shells.
- Use other prickly material.
- Hand crush insects on plants.
- Forcefully spray insects with water.
Reduce weed growth.
- Mulch between plants.
- Spreading cardboard or layers of newspaper between garden rows.
- Use cloth crop covers. Floating row covers keep pests away but allow light and moisture in.
- Hand-pull weeds. Do it before they go to seed for best results.
- Pour boiling water on the cut stalks of large, persistent weeds like thistles.
Prevent mildew on sensitive plants.
- Don’t water your garden with an overhead sprinkler in the evening.
Natural Pest Control Products
Try using a commercially available insecticidal soap.
- Spray onto plants to safely control harmful bugs when required.
Natural homemade fungicides controls many problems.
- Black spot on roses.
- Blight on tomatoes.
- Mildew and rusts on other plants.
Baking Soda Option
- Combine 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and horticultural oil.
- Dilute in 4 litres of water.
- Spray on leaves.
Milk Option for Mildew
- Mix a 50/50 solution of milk and water.
- Thoroughly spray plants at first sign of mildew.
- Repeat every 3 to 4 days.
- You can also use this weekly as a preventative measure.