This time of year is when the pests seem to really decide to take over and ruin the natural beauty of our yards. After all the labor we put into them it doesn’t seem fair to lose it all to pests. Although if you have dogs, which I assume you do if you’re reading this blog, they aren’t much easier on yards but they sure are cuter!
I tell my clients that there is ALWAYS a natural alternative to conventional treatments – whether it is for your dog’s health or the health of your yard. Working with nature is always the best approach but until your yard builds up a natural, strong immune system able to resist pests, well the next best thing is to combat the pests with nature.
The word “combat” always brings up the image of “war” which isn’t the way I like to picture building a natural ecosystem in yards, but if you’re in the first stages of detoxing your yards off of toxic pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers you will need to go on the defense.
The reason to go natural to begin with is for:
1. The long-term health and well being of your dogs
2. The long-term health and well being of your personal environment
3. The long-term health and well being of yourself and your family
4. All of this is your contribution in setting the example for your neighbors, family and friends so they too will want to participate. That translates into a healthier city, state, country, world…or least it could.
Our Golden Retriever, Fridge, was the one who got me truly interested in organic gardening. It’s always been animals that have taught me how to be better and to do better (something I spell out in my book, Animals Taught Me That). Because he had so many allergies, which I now know were connected to the vaccinations he received year and after year not to mention the processed junk food (i.e., kibble) he was fed rather than a raw diet, I felt I had to at least stop using pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. That was my first step in the right direction.
At first it was so challenging because it seemed that our yards became infested with a variety of bugs, and it didn’t look as green. It also seemed as if all my plants were growing so slow compared to how they grew on the chemical stuff. And the bugs? Forget about it, they were awful! But I stayed the course only straying every so often out of sheer frustration only to regret my backsliding 🙂
I went through a lot of trial and error too. We have since moved from that house and all our hard work paid off before we sold the house – everything was so pretty, green, and pest-free. Alas, the new owners have since let it all go to hell in a handbasket but that isn’t something within my control.
In our new home we live in a high desert area and we’ve never used chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides here. And we don’t have a bug problem. Sure we get some leaf hoppers. We get some aphids, etc. But we have LOTS of ladybugs, garden spiders, lacewings, and lizards that eat the bugs. We have a wide variety of birds also that hang out. We also have LOTS of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds pollinating everything too.
I only feed compost from our Compost Tumbler to the gardens and a little liquid kelp from Gardens Alive. And while organic gardening usually produces smaller plants that aren’t always as vibrant in color, I have learned that is normal! The other isn’t so it’s all a matter of getting used to it and enjoying the awesome ecosystem you’ll create where you can rest assured your dogs are safe from any chemical onslaught as well as the birds and bees.
I use food-grade diatomaceous earth (www.earthworkshealth.com) and essential oils. Here is a great article by The Herb Companion that can give you even more great ideas on how to keep your yard pest-free naturally: Defend Your Garden with Herbal Pesticides
I even allow the ants to have more free reign than I ever did previously because I know they eat flea larvae! Learning to work with nature rather against her can help you keep your dogs healthy AND pest-free too.
I bet you never thought that keeping your yard healthy could keep you and your dogs healthy too WITHOUT chemicals!
Have a pawsitively tail waggin’, NATURALLY healthy day!
If you need specific help or guidance, be sure to obtain a canine wellness consultation from me by going to www.DrKimBloomer.org
Photo Attribution: Shadrach the Neo Mastiff by Dr. Kim Bloomer, Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved.