As I was walking through a local home improvement store to begin buying flowers for my backyard I noticed a large amount of gardening products that stocked the shelves just in time for spring. It occurred to me that there are a lot of rather expensive chemicals on the market that promise to do everything from kill 10 species of insects to making your petunias grow bigger and better. The problem with pesticides is not just their toxicity but also the frequency in which people use them. These pesticides end up in our air, soil, and water and can be harmful to your family and the environment.
No Chemicals AND No Aphids
Remove aphids safely
Are aphids attacking your roses? Knock the aphids off of your plants with a garden house attached to a high pressure sprayer. Once the aphids are knocked off they aren't able to climb back onto the roses. You can also mix a solution of 1 tbsp. of dishwashing liquid with 1 cup of vegetable oil and then dilute 1 tbsp. of this mixture with 1 cup of water and mix in a sprayer. Spray the solution onto your plants to help with aphids, spidermites, and mealy bugs. Compost
Pick up free compost
Pick up free compost at the local landfill to help your plants grow well this spring. One load of compost (up to three cubic yards) per household per day is free to Vacaville residents and is available from April through October at the Hay Road Landfill. Residents must shovel the compost themselves and bring a copy of a utility bill to prove their residency. Please call prior to going to the landfill to ensure availability 678-4718. Look for recycled content
Look for landscaping items made from recycled content. For example, some home improvement stores sell bender boards, weed barriers, mulch, etc. made from recycled plastic or recycled tires. These are great ways to promote an earth friendly garden. Check out the CalRecycle's website for a Recycled-Content Product Directory of vendors that sell landscaping materials made from recycled content www.ciwmb.ca.gov/RCP/
Practice "grasscycling" when mowing.
Practice "grasscycling" by mulching your lawn when mowing. Grass clippings will naturally and quickly decompose returning nutrients to your lawn soil and will not cause thatch buildup. Not only will this aid in the production of a beautiful lawn, it'll also cut back on the yardwaste generated each week as a result of throwing out grass clippings. It is not necessary to use a special mower. Cut your grass when the surface is dry and keep mower blades sharp. Mow your lawn more frequently so that no more than one-third of the length of the grass blade is cut in any one mowing. It's simple, easy and it works!
Check the reuse center.
If you must use a garden chemical, check to see if any is available at the reuse center located at 855 1/5 Davis St.Often paints and chemicals are dropped off at the center for recycling and are still in original containers and useful to other residents. Residents can pick up items free of charge every Saturday from 9am-3pm