Category: Home And Garden

Growing a Vegetable Garden Can Be Fun

download (21)I know what you’re thinking: gardening is too hard, it takes too much time, and how can anyone like me go about growing a garden when I know nothing about the subject? This is most people’s view on gardening, and is completely wrong! Gardening is easy and anyone can do it!

Imagine needing to make a salad, and walking out to your garden where you have fresh lettuce growing. You pick a head of lettuce, get it washed, and then realize you need some more ingredients.

Back out to the garden you pick some tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, onion, and peppers as well. Throwing this in your salad, you realize you are eating the tastiest salad you have ever had in your life! This is because you are growing the highest quality of fruits and vegetables, as well as getting it as fresh as possibly can be!

How to Start a Garden

But how can you start a garden? It’s simple! All you need is a spot of ground, some water, seeds, and some determination.

Start with tilling your garden. You will want to mix up the soil nice and good to mix the nutrients equally throughout the garden. This is also good as it gives the soil some shaking, which will allow your plants to grow deep roots.

Next, you can then make rows in your garden, and begin gently placing your seeds throughout your rows and covering it back up with dirt. Once the rows are covered, spread some fertilizer over the rows and begin to gently sprinkle some water over all of your rows.

Going Organic

It is also important to note here that not all seeds and fertilizers are created equal! I personally prefer to get Organic seeds, fertilizer, and pesticide.

Getting organic seeds for your garden allow you to have the most natural gardening experience possible. Not only will organic seeds taste better, they are better for the good bugs in your garden! Bugs don’t like non-organic pants!

As for fertilizer, be sure to get an organic fertilizer with plenty of nutrients. If you put the nutrients in the soil, the nutrients will be in your plants. If the nutrients are in your plants, they will be in your body! It’s like taking a vitamin supplement by eating delicious food out of your garden!

Being Careful with Pesticides

As for pesticide, be sure not to use chemicals and other hazardous material. Not only is it horrible for the environment, the bugs don’t like it and your plants don’t like it either. Additionally, it has been proven to present health defects in a human body, so try to find something organic to keep those pests off!

Growing a garden is fun and easy! Once you get out there, you’ll realize that it really comes down to making sure your plants are getting plenty of water and are staying weed free! So go ahead, plant your garden in that empty space in your back yard, and start enjoying all the wonderful health and life benefits that a garden brings!


Vegetable Garden Location and Layout

download (20)The selection of a suitable site on which to establish the vegetable garden requires considerable thought, for an ill-chosen spot can be a great handicap in the beginning. The average home gardener has little choice because of the relatively small size of urban plots but several points must be considered if the outlay of seed, fertilizer, manure and labor is to show profitable returns.

Level ground with good drainage or ground with a slight slope is just about ideal. If the ground is on a slight slope make the slope even by filling in any depressions with soil taken from obvious high spots otherwise some plants will suffer from excess moisture while others, a few feet away, suffer from the lack of it. It is difficult to obtain an even stand of seedlings on uneven ground, for germination is always patchy.

If the only ground is on a moderate to steep slope it will be necessary to construct a number of bench terraces to conserve soil and moisture. The grade of the slope will determine the number of terraces necessary. Moderate slopes need two or three wide terraces; steep slopes call for several narrower ones. On moderate slopes the terraces can be shaped with soil, but on steeper slopes retaining walls of concrete, brick or stone are essential to prevent severe damage and soil loss during heavy storms. For preference these terraces should slope back slightly from the retaining wall. At all costs avoid, if possible, low-lying ground which is likely to become waterlogged in the rainy season. These lower soils often attract amateur growers because of their dark color, and appearance of fertility.

Good drainage is essential in vegetable gardens for no crops of consequence will tolerate “wet feet” for long. Too much soil moisture is detrimental to plant growth because the roots must have moisture and air circulation to function properly. Saturated conditions also slow down appreciably the beneficial activities of soil organisms which, as with roots must have air to flourish.

In laying out a garden there are two generally used methods each with its advantages and drawbacks. One method is to dig over and prepare the whole ares allocated to vegetables and to grow the crops, in rows, side by side with no defined paths between. This is the usual system in temperate regions and has the advantage that the area is used to the full.

The alternative method, and probably the most used, is to grow vegetables in slightly raised beds with each bed devoted to a single crop. It may be worthwhile to practice the first method in the dry season for winter crops and then resort to the bed method during the wet months to assist with drainage, as was mentioned earlier in my article to avoid the “wet feet” syndrome.

Gardeners practicing the bed method usually make the mistake of making the paths too wide and the beds too narrow and too high. The bed can be of any convenient length but should be at least four feet wide if the are to accommodate several rows of crops such as beetroot, carrots and lettuces. Beds of this size will still make it possible to allow for hoeing, thinning and harvesting to be done from the paths, which can be about fifteen to eighteen inches wide. Potatoes, sweet potatoes and other widely spaced crops are unsuited to bed culture because of the distance between rows necessary if adequate soil is available to earth them up.

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Things That Are Too Real For Gardeners

download (19)Gardening is more than just a hobby. Some people take it vigorously that the art has become an academic discipline for some of us. But above all else, it is a passion that those who are truly skillful can be worthy to be called gardeners and be awarded a ‘green thumb’ badge.

For us who do not understand the beauty and fulfillment of gardening, here are things that only passionate gardeners can relate to.

Under your fingernails can be garden beds

You have used the entire area of the backyard that you are tempted to plant on your fingernails because of the dirt accumulated the entire day. It’s not that you don’t clean yourself, but the constant gardening activities do not really equate to clean hands. Despite washing your hands and scrubbing them clean after a day’s work, you find yourself in the same dilemma day after day.

You think of naming your children Rose, Lily, and Daisy

Your love for flowers manifests in the different parts of your life. As of the moment, your SNS and blog usernames and passwords contain floral words and names. You are bordering on being obsessed with these beautiful creations. Yet, you decided to bring it up another notch and plan to name your future children with flowers. This is also a way to instill the value gardening while they are young.

Going out means visiting botanical gardens and plant expos

Spending a day in the garden still does not get you enough. A couple of your dates are spent strolling down the local gardens and only those who understand this passion is truly worthy of your love and attention. Sometimes, you just find yourself driving to these places to find peace and relaxation. Also, can you remember the time when you went out to buy grocery, and find yourself buying plants instead?

You can whip mean recipes from plants grown in your yard

You learn many things simply by growing plants and flowers. Incidentally, you learn patience and nurturing skills. More importantly, you learn practical abilities like cooking using fresh produce from your garden. You can perfectly whip out a dish, dessert or drink made from edible flowers and organic plants. Talk about a healthy diet.

You can name flowers better than you know the name of your cousins

While you love your family, you cannot match the names of your cousins to their faces. But with blooms, you could never go wrong. You devote most of your time growing them that you can name even the rare ones.

Gardeners are a different bunch of interesting people. There are realities that only they can understand. So, once in awhile, you may want to spend time with one and learn more than just planting and watering plants.


Creative Flower Planters to Express Your Creative Self

download (17)When you think that planting is all mud and dirt, then you have to rethink that thought. Time and again, gardening have been an avenue to express oneself. It may surprise you that it does not only give you relaxation and fulfillment in knowing that you are doing something that will benefit many people. But, gardening activities have a way to also bring out your creative self.

So, have some fun with gardening using these fantastic plant containers.

Snail Shells

Make sure that these shells are discarded by their owners. As an animal enthusiast, you can collect as many empty shells as you can to create an entire bunch of small flower planters that you can line-up on your window sill. This is perfect for those who are living and dorms and apartments, which does not have space for large plant containers.

Old Suitcase

If your life peg is wanderlust, then an old suitcase as flower planters suits your spirit for traveling. Look for a defective suitcase from your pile of travel essentials and enjoy creating planters made from it. Nothing says creative than marrying your interests in one craft project.

Rain Boots

Flowers have always been a staple motif for fashion. You are never caught in bad fashion, even when it rains. But, as the seasons change, we just threw away key fashion pieces. So, if you have rain boots with a missing pair, make use of it by repurposing it into artistic flower containers. Being a fashionista, this project has you written all over it.

Old Toys

One thing that Toy Story taught us is that we all grow and our most cherished toys will become a distant memory. Don’t just keeping them in the attic. Bring them out and make imaginative planters out of them. You can recreate scenes straight out from your childhood days.

Candle Holders

Some people are into scented candles and all those relaxation shenanigans. If you are one of these fanatics, you may have a couple of candle holders hidden in your storage room. These things will make magnificent flower planters that are effortlessly creative. You are rid of unused things, while having an artistic representation of your inner yoga diva.


What can you remember when you see baskets? Perhaps it will remind you of the picnics you had with family or friends or how your grandmother brings one while going to an early market shopping. For whatever use you have of the old baskets, these can also be good and decorative containers for plants and flowers.

Plastic Soda Bottles

Repurposing plastic soda bottles are big contributions to the preservation of the environment. Instead of throwing these non-biodegradables makes them into something sustainable. You can bring out the innate environmentalist in you and grow valuable plants from these bottles. Google has a lot to give you in properly growing plants from them. Also, don’t forget to unleash your creative side to decorate these bottles.


What Is Involved in Gardening Services?

download (16)There is always beauty in nature – those fantastic flowers and trees. What is so frustrating sometimes is when you’re far from the beauty of nature. How can gardening services help you?

Bringing nature outside your house does not sound bad.

Having a garden at home is what makes every person’s stay at home refreshing when the situation calls for it. Especially when you only want to stay outside your house and let some time pass by. A garden is also something that is a handful to take; more so if you’re a clean freak who wants everything to be in order.

If you are thinking about gardening as simply watering the plants, you’re missing a big part of the picture because gardening is more than just plants in a pot. This is the reason why getting gardening services will always be a good thing.

Each garden requires lots of care, from irrigation, watering, pest control, landscaping, mulching, lawn restoration, and a lot more, it’s truly one big work load for some. These are important for these reasons:

– Irrigation/watering

Everyone knows that unless the plant is a cactus, water is the most essential requirement of a plant. Without water, the plant will eventually die. So, one of the most important things in gardening is watering/irrigation of the plant. You wouldn’t want to mess around with all the watering through a pail and dipper, right? So, an effective irrigation system will be of big help.

– Weed/pest control

Since it’s unavoidable that at some point, there will be undesired visitors in the garden and those are the pests. It’s important that a control is in place. In the world of gardening, pests might not be welcome, thus you might have to hire a gardening service.

– Landscaping

When it comes to becoming aesthetically amazing, a garden would certainly look its best when landscaped by an expert. Landscaping is there to improve the physical look of a garden.

– Mulching

Everyone is well aware that all plants are planted on soil. It’s also true that the physical appearance is important in gardening; but this process – mulching – is also as much vital as that. This is because, mulching is about ensuring that the soil is healthy and appears clean and tidy.

Gardening may look lovely and an interest that might be a great one. But, this kind of activity requires lots of understanding, time and effort plus a hand from a number of experts who would give one hundred percent of their time making sure that they supply the quality Gardening Services that every garden owner needs. Because again, gardening isn’t just watering those plants in the pots – it is more about ensuring that plants look amazing but are healthy as well.


Keep Gardens Growing During July – Southern California’s Driest Month of the Year

download (15)Rainfall has been at a premium in southern California and with July traditionally the driest month of the year, gardeners must take extra care to keep their gardens growing and landscapes looking their best.

Deep Water Your Lawn: Some cities have lifted or plan to lift watering restrictions, but many cities still require residents and businesses to water only once or twice a week. A lawn can still stay green with limited watering. Water lawns deeply-for the maximum time allowed (usually 15 minutes) so water penetrates six to eight inches into the soil. Make sure sprinklers produce limited excess spray to avoid evaporation Aerate you lawn making it easier for water to soak in.

Rethink Grass: Lawns are a landscape’s biggest water guzzler. Many types of drought tolerant groundcover are available that can replace all or a portion of your lawn including lavender, ornamental grasses, sage, succulents, iris, geraniums and California fuchsia. Thoroughly remove the portion of lawn that will be replaced, till the soil and amend with compost before planting.

Add More Mulch: Organic mulch is usually made from recycled trees and other wood materials and comes in various chip sizes. Mulch naturally decomposes over time. Add mulch around plants and trees and make sure the mulch is about three inches deep. If less than that or if bare spots are showing, add another layer. Mulch is of particular value during summer because it keeps plant roots cool even during the heat of the day. It also reduces moisture loss and suppresses weed growth.

Encourage Vegetable Production: By now, the tomatoes, peppers and squash you planted in spring should be producing vegetables. Pick vegetables often, even if you don’t plan to use them immediately. Vegetables that stay past its prime on a plant will produce a chemical that inhibits further blossoming. Check plants daily during the summer. Some vegetables, especially varieties of squash, seem to grow an inch or two overnight.

Leave Garlic and Onion Bulbs Alone: If you planted garlic and onions in spring, you may notice their foliage beginning to turn brown. If you see healthy bulbs just beneath the surface, stop watering and let the plant dry naturally. To prepare the bulbs for harvest, bend the foliage around the bulbs so the bulbs develop dry outer layers that will enable them to be stored for long periods.

Plant Vegetables for Fall Harvest: Because planting season is just about year-round in southern California, you still can grow a variety of vegetables in July and enjoy vegetables by late summer and early fall. These include beans, beets, carrots, corn, cantaloupe, okra squash and spinach.

Keep Rose Bushes in Full Bloom: Rose bushes should be awash in color in July as buds form rapidly during warm weather. To stimulate more buds, remove dried flowers by cutting back to the first leaf after the flower cluster.


The Advantages of Aquaponics Gardening – Organic Fresh Food

download (14)I will be discussing the benefits of Aquaponics gardening over conventional soil based gardening.

So firstly we will look at the benefits then we will go into what you need to look at before you start your Aquaponics backyard garden.

The benefits of an Aquaponics System are:

1. Due to the fact you will not be using soil there is no weeding.

2. Watering is eliminated because water is circulated automatically from the fish pond to the grow bed. Aquaponics use about 10% of the water used by conventional gardening.

3. All fertilizers are supplied by the fish waste being circulated through the grow bed.

4. Soil pests are eliminated, no soil is used in an Aquaponics grow bed.

5. Your fruit and vegetables will grow at least twice as fast as conventional gardening.

6. Energy use is a lot less, estimated 70% saving.

7. More plants in the same area, up to 10 times.

8. All fruit and vegetables are totally organic.

9. Extremely low cost of growing your plants.

10. You have fresh organic fruit and vegetables to pick as you use them

Now what do you need to take into account when you are planning your DIY Aquaponics Garden?

1. What do you want to grow? It is important you know what plants you are going to grow so you know what size grow bed you need and how many fish you need to supply the nutrients required for you plants to grow healthily.

2. Where you are going to build your garden? It is important you know how much room you have so you can build your Home Aquaponics Garden to a size that will suit and choose the right design.

3. What is your budget? Aquaponics is very scalable and can be a very small indoor garden right through to commercial systems. If you are on a small budget there is a system for you.

4. The type of system you will use? This will be determined by many factors. Budget, space, what you want to grow, the area you live in and many other factors. It is very important you research and understand which suits your needs.

Probably something you really should consider is if you will start from scratch and build your own Aquaponics Garden. There is great deal of research involved in planning your DIY Aquaponics which is very time consuming. It can also be very expensive if you get it wrong. Why reinvent the wheel when there are people out there who have already done this. They have developed Aquaponic Gardens of all types and know exactly what to look for and how to put them together. Consider getting professional plans to guide you through planning and building your aquaponics system.


The Interesting Reason Behind the Obnoxious Smell of the Corpse Flower

download (13)Titan Arum, also called “Corpse Flower”, is one of the world’s largest flowers. Well, technically, it is an inflorescence – a group of flowers gathered around a spadix and surrounded by a spathe. Its scientific name is Amorphophallus titanum, which basically describes the flower’s distinct shape. Based on the Latin words amorphous (misshapen), phallus (penis), and titanum (giant), this flower can grow to around 10 to 15 feet with leaves typically spreading to a massive 13 feet in width. Titan Arum is also relative to the skunk cabbages, duckweeds, calla lilies, and jack-in-the-pulpits.

Why the flower smells so nasty?

It all comes down to science. Flowers need pollination for its species to thrive. The corpse flower’s way of attracting pollinators is through its stinky odor, dark burgundy color, and warm temperature reaching up to 98 degrees Fahrenheit. By imitating the nature of a dead animal, the flower is able to attract its primary pollinators – the carnivorous insects such as dung beetles and flesh flies, which love feasting on dead flesh.

Primarily, titan arum is so big it can take up to seven to ten years to fully bloom and then lives for only a couple of days – more or less four days. For that reason, the flower needs its strong stinky odor to draw the attention of the carnivorous insects that are hunting for food even if they are half a mile away. The insects will mistaken the flower for food. They will then fly inside this flower, crawl all over it, and with much dismay – as there aren’t any food inside it – they will fly off the flower with its pollens stuck on their feet.

This process will ensure that there is an ample pollination of the species. The corpse flower relies on massive pollination to ensure that its species will never go extinct because of its significantly short life. It is worth remembering that this flower can only live to around four days after it has completely blossomed.

In the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, where a titan arum they cultivated bloomed recently, spectators noticed that the flower will release an aroma every after 20 to 30 seconds using its pulses. The aroma is very strong that it’s almost similar to a rotten flesh. After two to four days, its spadix died down followed by its flower that withered down into a compost.

When the corpse flower has fully bloomed and the pollination process has been completed, this will eventually contract and wilt. Then you will have to wait for a couple more years – or a decade – to see another titan arum in full bloom.

Who should we thank (or blame) for the discovery of this huge stinky flower?

The corpse flower was first discovered by a botanist from Italy, whose name was Odoardo Beccari, in 1878 while he was trekking the rainforests of Sumatra in Indonesia. Although the flower typically grows in the wild tropical forests of the Asian continent, its seeds have been distributed and have also been cultivated to grow on various botanic gardens around the world such as the Adelaide Botanic Garden in Australia, where it drew a large gathering of crowds.

In February of 2016, ten thousand people came to visit and see the corpse flower in the botanic garden. The flower, after years of cultivation, finally bloomed and all of its spectators never bothered themselves about its extremely stinky smell. People came to witness one of the world’s largest and stinkiest flower, which they might not be able to see in the next ten years, and for them, that was already rewarding.


What You Need to Know About Buffering Agents

download (12)A buffering agent helps prevent a rapid change in pH of a solution when other substances are added or mixed with the solution. For example, most shampoos are buffered so that they are slightly acidic. The buffer counteracts the alkalinity of soap. If either of these substances become too acidic or too alkaline, they could damage your skin and hair.

Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline (7.35 – 7.45). Below or above this range would cause symptoms and disease. If blood pH moves below 6.8 or above 7.8, cells stop functioning and the body dies. The body, therefore, continually strives to balance pH. Many forms of life will survive only within a relatively small pH range so they utilize a buffer to maintain a constant pH.

Another example of how a buffering agent is commonly used is in aspirin. Without buffering, aspirin can irritate the lining of the stomach and lead to serious medical conditions such as bleeding and ulcers. The antacid properties of buffering agents are thought to help maintain the pH balance and and may help prevent side effects. Whether aspirin buffers actually work is still controversial.

The most common problem with aquarium water chemistry is pH. Although most fish will thrive in a wide range of pH, rapid changes may cause stress leading to disease or death. Though some exotic fish such as Discus are more particular about pH, even most of these fish are only particular about pH when they are breeding. The fish will not spawn if the proper pH is not maintained. There is a growing trend to believe that the pH in a fish tank needs to be around 7.0 which in most cases in simply not true for fish. However, in aquaponics, we also have to consider the pH requirements of the plants. Plants, in general, in water that has a lower pH than ordinary tap water.

If your tap water contains buffers, and almost all tap water does, it probably keeps the pH around 8.0 or slightly alkaline. This can make it difficult to lower the pH in your tank. The water will maintain a high pH because of the buffers. You will need to add enough acid to neutralize the buffer. However, by the time you have added enough acid to overcome the buffer, you will have enough acid in the water to cause a precipitous drop in pH.

Water has a pH of 7 naturally, but the water you are using in your tank may be different because of the chemicals that are suspended or dissolved in the water. These chemicals fall into three categories: acids, bases, and buffers. Acids are chemicals that lower the pH, or make the water more acidic. Bases are chemicals that raise the pH of the water, or make it more basic (or alkaline). Buffers are chemicals that can prevent changes and keep the water at a specific pH. Different buffers will keep the pH at different values.

If you need to lower pH, you could add some type of acid. Muriatic acid is commonly used to lower the pH of swimming pools. If you need to raise pH, you could add a product that is alkaline such as sodium carbonate commonly know as soda ash.

In simplistic terms, a buffer would be something that has both acid and alkaline properties. When pH starts to rise, the buffer would release acid to reduce pH. If the pH begins to decrease, the alkaline agent would be released to increase the pH.

If you are Walter White (Breaking Bad), you will probably mix you own buffers. However, most of us will be better off buying a commercial product that is formulated to keep pH at a certain level. Seachem, for example, is one company that makes buffers that will work for most aquaponic applications.


Gardening Without Pesticides Is Practical

download (11)I have made it my determination never to use pesticides. This was not a decision that I made based on philosophy or even environmental consciousness. On the contrary, I bore witness to the extraordinary ease and effectiveness by which natural predators dispose of the most pernicious and damaging of garden pests.

In the mid-2000s, I began my first serious attempt at a large garden. I did the research about how to do as little work as possible. In the early fall, I put materials over the lawn to kill it. I dumped leaves into my beds instead of tilling. Allowing the biological process of decay do the work would invite a sturdy network of fungi to help bring nutrients to the plants. Finally, I used a technique called wintersowing to sow my seeds outside during the winter. I only planted native varieties, the idea being that they would be a boon to natural pollinators. Native plants would be able to care for themselves once established.

The real work came in the spring. Planting, watering new plants, only to plant and water more new plants, was a daily routine. I was sore in places I didn’t know had muscles, but the garden was doing very well. It was green, perfect, and all native.

The bees and butterflies came, but so did everything I had failed to anticipate. My new ‘serious’ garden began to be eaten before my eyes. There were all sorts of native leaf chewers: Aphids, slugs, and caterpillars to name a few. Leaves were mined and skeletonized and fell off. Flowers and buds were being sucked into oblivion.

However, the damage that really hurt my feelings was to the roses. When the Japanese beetles arrived, my roses were denuded of both foliage and flower. That was when I first felt the desperate fury that comes when a gardener is faced with crop failure. Up until now, I wanted nature to do the work. This time I felt like I had to do something.

However, the idea of spraying the roses still repelled me. I simply did not want to have roses that you had to keep out of the reach of children for fear they would ingest them. Therefore, I turned away from that idea and began looking for organic ways to help. There was not much I could do. Picking the beetles off the bushes with my hands and putting them in a bucket of soapy water was the best most had to offer. I got to work.

It did not help. I did not get a single rose that year. At the end of the season, I read that Fall and Winter would be a good time to solicit natural help in the form of birds. I put up a wren house, I put out the bird seed, and I put out water all winter long.

The fate of the Japanese beetles – and every other garden pest – was sealed the day I decided not to spray the roses. Predators had already moved in in numbers! But they weren’t at the right life stage to help. Syrphid flies, many wasps, and other insects are only predators as larva. However, because I didn’t spray, they laid eggs all over the garden.

I got an avian resident. A male house wren stuffed sticks in the wren house and sang until he attracted a female. The females are the ones who choose the nest site, and she chose my garden. In a few weeks, when the days were warming and I was fearing another attack by the pests, she laid seven eggs.

I am no expert on bird fertility, but it wouldn’t make much survival sense for her to be so fertile in the presence of little to no food. It was likely that both these wrens were already present in the garden and their bodies knew how many babies they could afford. Because I didn’t spray, I got to see them diving from the house, straight down into the leaves and running around like little feathery wolves and returning with all manner of caterpillars. They did this every day, all day long, the entire season. The wrens had to have devoured thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of insects.

The syrphid fly larva got to work on the aphids that were attacking my new growth. Centipedes got to work on the snails and slugs, as did the firefly larva who are surprisingly voracious and active hunters for worms. The snails and slugs would later attract garter snakes and a mole and a toad. Robins nested and had three chicks on the curve of my downspout. The wasps returned for the flowers and stayed for the hunting. They made off with plenty of insects, bringing them back to larva to eat. Spiders moved in. There were so many green crab spiders that I called the zinnia flowerbed the “Spider Condominiums”. Every zinnia flower and a spider in it.

There were so many predators that my pest problems vanished. I concluded that my ‘Garden Salad’ had turned into the ‘Garden of Death’. Pests who managed to survive long enough to chew and lay eggs would only have their eggs and larva eaten by something else. The lucky few who did manage to breed were inconsequential.

Gardening without pesticides takes time and, in my case, a crop failure, but I put away the mask and the gloves and the sprayer. Using them would have made things harder for myself, and easier on the pests. I learned that gardens need time to get established to thrive. Pesticides delay or prevent the garden from ever moving on from the “Garden Salad” stage to a healthy population of predator and prey. They are an expensive hindrance and can kill or discourage natural resources that help the garden be self-sustaining.

A pesticide-free garden continued to grow in variety of species of insect and served as a wonderful classroom for young children and adults who wanted to learn from what the plants attracted. Once a gardener experiences the joy of a garden free of pesticides, he will never be able to return to using them.