Gardens need thorough maintenance in order to retain their charm. Any degree of negligence by the gardener or the owner can become the cause of its gradual decay. Gardens in large office premises are typically cared by professionals. However, vast majority of people do not hire nor do they intend to hire gardeners for gardens at their homes. Gardening is a good habit and has beneficial effect on health too. However, owners indulge in gardening as part-time activity while the pests that destroy plants and soil do so round the clock throughout the year. So, the knowledge of safe, sound and proven techniques of gardening is important for everyone with any size of garden.
Pesticides and fertilisers are available in varieties for pest control in the market. However, people with fair understanding of ecology and ecosystem know how harmful regular chemical products can be. They are hazardous not only for the garden but for humans too. Most of the commercially available pest control chemical products affect soil and nearby water-bodies too. Thus, they are hazardous for those who take care of the garden as well as those who enjoy being in it. Especially, children are susceptible to the effect of chemical compounds as they play innocently in the garden.
Many people who know the hazards of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers switch to botanically derived solutions. However, botanically derived fertilisers and pesticides are not always good and certain types are more dangerous than synthetic counterparts, according to Linda Chalker-Scott, who is an extension horticulturist Puyallup Research Center of Washington State University. She elaborates that any pesticide can contaminate nearby aquatic and terrestrial systems. Home remedies should not be used either since its use may be illegal and fatal to several good creatures and entities in the garden. According to her, natural garden pest control using insect-eating insect is the best technique.
Chalker-Scott neither adds fertilisers nor uses pesticides. She rather relies on prevention by maintenance of healthy soil and insect-eating insects for natural control. She mulches her garden with woodchips, which is habitat for predacious ground beetles and other beneficial insects. Jessica Walliser notes that 99% of insects found in any garden are either benign or beneficial. The most illustrious example of beneficial insects is a ladybird, which eat up to 5,000 aphids in its lifespan on average. The key to maintenance of garden with the help of such insects is the knowledge of how to attract them and retain them in the garden.
Diversity in the garden and zero presence of pesticides is important to attract and retain beneficial insects. Flowers with exposed nectarines are crucial for the sustenance of beneficial insects that do not have specialised mouth for sucking nectar of tubular flowers. The aster family and the carrot family plants are great for the purpose to begin with. Garden owners can even buy beneficial insects at garden centres as well as online. However, one needs to observe which pests have infested the garden so that the beneficial insect can be bought or attracted in the accordingly.
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