Quick Tip #1: Garden Naked … Warts And All
Seriously, did you think we meant you?
We’re talking here about gardening WITHOUT CHEMICALS.
Not even “organic” chemicals.
Leave Your Plants Naked!!
“Pesticides” and “insecticides” kill or impair ALL insects, event beneficial ones. It’s what they’re meant to do.
Why does it matter?
Populations of pollinators and birds are in drastic decline due to habitat loss and the use of weed killers, fungicides, and insecticides.
Since we humans love to have air to breathe and food to eat, we kinda need to have healthy and abundant pollinators that pollinate trees (which give us oxygen) and pollinate plants, fruits and vegetables (which either we eat or the animals we eat eat). (Read it again – that last sentence really does make sense.)
Remember the good old days when we had splattered bugs on our car windshields?
No more … there just aren’t enough bugs to splat.
(Shiny! Click here to see how to make your own windshield-washer fluid with Vodka!)
Garden Naked … Warts and All? So what “warts” will be on my naked plants?
Spots … chewed-up leaves … holes in the stems … and your garden will be alive all season with buzzing birds and bees and beetles and butterflies.
See how it feels to change your perception of what makes a garden beautiful. We believe that a garden that is home to healthy populations of pollinators is a glorious sight to behold, no matter what the actual plants look like. If you like a more manicured garden, read the Deep Dive to see how to spiff up the looks of a native garden and still benefit pollinators.
Think Monarch Butterflies are glorious? How about Monarch Butterfly caterpillars? They eat the leaves of milkweed plants – it’s the ONLY thing they will eat. These critters, if given enough chemical-free milkweed leaves, will turn into this orange and black icon of the insect world.
So when you see chewed-up leaves it’s time to do a little happy dance because you’ve just fed a pollinator!
There is a special class of chemicals, Neonicotinoids (yeah, we can’t pronounce it either), that is particularly destructive. It’s applied throughout the growing phases – even injected into the seeds of some plants – to control (meaning “kill”) insects over the life of the plant.
All insects that feed on or lay their eggs on a plant that has been treated with neonicotinoids will be negatively impacted.
Hint: If you ask the nursery manager if their plants have been treated with neonics (“nee-on-ics” – much easier to pronounce!) either onsite or by the original grower, and they get that glazed-over look in their eyes, let them know why it’s important and explain why you’ll have to buy your plants elsewhere.
Want to have a deeper conversation about this topics with your favorite nursery? Click here for a “Letter to My Favorite Nursery.”
If the plant was treated to kill aphids, white flies, beetles, and mealy bugs, well duh, it will also kill beneficial bugs – like the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar and this crazy-looking Milkweed Bug.
Quick Action Step:
Don’t use chemicals and don’t buy plants that have had chemicals applied – especially neonics.
Kid Tip: Healthy, Happy Gardens
Deep Dive: Garden Naked … Warts And All