Non-Toxic Gardening During COVID-19

During the COVID-19 crisis, many of us are spending a lot more time in our yards tending to our gardens. And why not? Most gardens give us an easy opportunity to socially distance, we’re spending days upon days at home anyway, and we literally get to see the fruits of our labor. Some are also opting to grow their food in an attempt to spend less time at the grocery store. Sierra Club is calling the new gardens popping up across the country “Pandemic Victory Gardens.” 

Unfortunately, you might feel the need to use pesticides because these chemicals may seem like the easiest, quickest fix for pests. In fact, they can be remarkably effective at killing insects, but because they don’t change the conditions that encourage pests, they never actually solve the problem. That’s why people who use them often have to do so repeatedly.

Glyphosate, also known as Roundup, is one of the most popular and dangerous pesticides. Glyphosate has been linked to cancer and can disrupt a body’s hormones as an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC). Contrary to what many people think, it’s not hard or time consuming to tend your garden the natural way. Solving a pest problem means changing the conditions that allow a pest to thrive. Strive to keep your soil healthy and make use of natural measures.

Here are a few tips for a non-toxic garden during and after the COVID-19 crisis

Compost: Use all-natural compost or even start your own compost in the backyard. You can mix yard wastes such as grass clippings, leaves, and even weeds together to make natural compost.  It provides plants with nutrients, helps aerate the soil, and improves water retention.3.  

Companion Planting: This method makes use of plants that either have natural substances in their roots, flowers, and leaves that can naturally repel insects or are homes for useful insects that feed on pests. Using these specific plants as a border for your garden or dotted between plants can help with pest control. For more info. and a list of useful companion plants, click here.

Get Informed: Learn to recognize which insects are beneficial and which are harmful to your plants. Control pests by a variety of methods that are safe for you and your family.  Our Water-Our World and PANNA have helpful factsheets on specific pests and how to deal with them, as well as guides for where to buy safer alternatives to pesticides.