Gardening Without Chemicals

Common Toad


By -Georgia Lund-

Organic gardening is not complicated and can be done in three easy steps; mulch, treat and get a toad. With the three easy steps outlined below, you can garden without the use of chemicals or pesticides and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Mulch is a Must

Mulch is a vital element for an organic garden. A four-inch layer of mulch placed on top of garden soil eliminates the need to use chemical weed killers. The mulch will prevent the growth of unwanted weeds while helping to retain soil moisture, so less water is needed for the growing plants.

Organic mulch, like tree bark, pine straw, hay, wood ashes or shredded leaves will also provide nutrients to the soil so that plants will be well-nourished without the use of chemical fertilizer.

The use of rough mulch, like tree bark and wood ashes, will also discourage several creeping garden pests like snails and slugs. These types of creepy-crawlies do not like to travel across rough, crunchy surfaces.

 Add mulch around the base of trees (leave 2 inches of mulch-free space around the trunks) and shrubs to prevent weed growth and the need to use herbicides to kill the unwanted grass.

Treat the Problem

The second step to organic gardening without chemicals and pesticides is to address the problem at the source. Become a detective and snoop around to discover the real reason behind the problem garden plants are having.

Look on the underside of leaves and hand-pick bugs off the plant before they can suck the sap from its stem. Be on the lookout for neighborhood cats and dogs that consider your garden to be a bathroom, and other small animals that feast on tender vegetables.

A border of marigolds planted along the garden perimeter will discourage many insects and small animals from entering your garden.

Create a Toad Habitat

One nocturnal-feeding toad can eat 100 insects per night, so they earn their keep. Invite them to live in your garden by setting up a toad habitat.

Make an indentation into the dampened soil and place a handful of leaves or mulch in the indentation. Next, cover the spot with a broken terra cotta planter or a small log. Make sure there’s an opening large enough for a toad to go through. Place the opening towards the garden and build a toad pond on the side by burying a large plastic bowl up to its rim in the soil and keeping it full of water at all times.

A happy toad will stay, attract a mate, raise a family and keep your garden pest-free.

Image by: Michael Lane

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