Spring is just around the corner and preparing a healthy garden ensures that it’s beautiful and pest-free throughout the season. There are key things to remember when starting your garden:
- Choose the right plants – look for California natives that attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.
- Read the label and look for varieties described as pest- and disease-resistant.
- Before you buy a plant, check the roots to make sure it’s not root-bound or the root crown is soft or rotten.
- Create healthy soil by adding compost that will provide organic matter and the right nutrients to help grow strong healthy plants that can resist disease and insect attacks without pesticides.
- Don’t pile soil around the plant any higher than the root crown and cover bare soil with mulch.
- Use a mulch of leaves, bark, or composted manure and/or garden waste to provide organic matter to the soil and a steady flow of nutrients to the plants.
- If you need to fertilize, use organic, slow-release fertilizers.
- Get to know beneficial insects and their many stages of development. Juvenile ladybugs and other good bugs are often killed by mistake.
- Pesticides should only be used as a last resort. Choose the least toxic product designed to kill a specific target pest.
By creating a healthy, organic garden, you are preventing pesticides and herbicides from entering local waterways and negatively affecting wildlife and the environment.