Growing a Healthy Garden

August 5, 2014

Eco-friendly, by definition, means earth-friendly or not harmful to the environment. The term is typically used in the context of products and practices that help conserve critical resources like water and energy, thereby contributing to “green-living”. Adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle or running an eco-friendly business like Bee America also helps to mitigate polluting our air, water and land. But what is often overlooked in the equation is that eco-friendly is not only good for our planet, it is good for ourselves as well.

Part of an eco-friendly lifestyle should include how you take care of your garden or yard. Natural pest control is healthier for your family, the wildlife that shelters and/or lives in your garden, and the environment in general. It also has the added benefit of being less costly than purchasing pesticides or hiring a lawn service to apply them.

Astonishingly, homeowners use about three times the quantity of pesticides as do farmers, which amounts to approximately 136 million pounds of pesticides a year for residential use alone in North America. In fact, residential use of pesticides is primarily responsible for most surface water contamination and the majority of animal poisonings—both from pesticides.

The most straightforward means of averting insect damage to your garden is to deter an infestation of bugs in the first place and the best way to do that is to grow a healthy garden. Below is a list of some of the practices that we employ at Bee America to keep our gardens healthy for our honey bees and for our family. They’re relatively simple to implement and you should see almost immediate results with most of them.

• Eliminate weak vegetation as it will attract insect predators. Pull out the sick or infected plant and dispose of it far away from your garden.

• Establish healthy, organic soil by using natural composting methods, mulching and top-dressing your soil with compost or natural fertilizer.

• Strengthen your plants by using seaweed fertilizer. Seaweed contains trace elements that promote healthy development and disease resistance in plants. It also repels slugs, which is an added bonus.

• Reduce your garden’s attractiveness to insects by removing yard waste, debris and weeds, which are breeding grounds for insects.

• Keep leaves dry by watering early in the morning so that the foliage will be dry for the majority of the day. Wet foliage encourages insect and fungal damage to your plants.

• Clean your gardening implements to prevent the spread of insects from potentially infected to non-infected plant as you move to work in different areas of the garden.