Numerous alternatives to pesticides

Marigold companion planting in the garden. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Marigold companion planting in the garden. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

Pesticide use has always been a thorny issue.

Gardeners have a choice; pesticidal spray or biological and mechanical control.

Traditional training as a gardener includes different approaches to pests, disease and weed control.

I picked-up Rachel Carson’s early 60s’ publication Silent Spring, which alerted us to the dangers of using persistent, organo-phosphate pesticides. A decade or so later, Frank Graham Jr, in Since Silent Spring, assessed the situation thus: “Rachel Carson was right. What have we done about it?”

Countless books and articles have followed, each increasing my determination to eliminate pesticides from this garden.

Netting, enviromesh, pitfall traps, copper rings and sheep’s wool are part of the green approach. Hand-picking caterpillars with tweezers, companion planting and adding microscopic nematodes to the soil also helps protect edible plants.

Substantial vegetable crops have been raised without the use of pesticides that advise on safety periods between spraying and consuming edible crops.