Environmental Tips

Gardening Without Toxic Chemicals 

by Ingrid Justick

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More than 70 million Americans will garden this year, spending billions of dollars to keep lawns green, and flowers and veggies free from pests and diseases. As concerns about tainted groundwater and contaminated food increase, gardeners are seeking more healthful alternatives to toxic chemicals.

 

By practicing organic gardening, we keep our plants healthy and pest resistant. Water is one of the most effective weapons against pests. Here are some eco-friendly insect sprays and tips:

 

Basic insect spray: Mix 2 tablespoons dishwashing liquid (not detergent) and 1 gallon water. Add sulfur to kill mites and insects (see packaged directions for amount). Add 1-2 tablespoons baking soda to this basic recipe and you will kill fungi and insects.

 

Hot pepper spray repels insects and alienates black-spot on roses. Mix 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, 1 quart water and 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing liquid.

 

Fungus-killing spray: Mix 2 tablespoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon vegetable oil and 1 gallon water, or, mix 1 tablespoon garlic juice and 1 quart water.

 

Peppermint repels ants and pepper mint tea is a good all-purpose insect spray.

 

Lemongrass repels wasps. Place some lemon grass in a vase on your picnic table and wasps will stay away.

 

Plants that repel insects: dill, onion, fennel, sage, thyme, parsley, garlic.

 

By gardening in an organic, chemical-free way, you give back to our environment that has given us so much!