Garden Aids for the Poison Free Gardener
by Barb Harris
UPdate Spring 2003

As Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) phases in the final year of its pesticide bylaw, residents can find help with lawn and garden problems at Clean Nova Scotia. HRM sponsors Clean Nova Scotia's Sustainable Landscaping program, which provides free information on pesticide free solutions to weed or insect problems. The program's approach is to address immediate problems while identifying the underlying cause. Common problems in HRM arise from  acidic soil, soil which is too compact, or a lack of soil depth. By building a sustainable yard, residents can avoid future problems, while addressing immediate ones. The Sustainable Landscaping Program can be reached at 420-3475.

Insect, Disease and Weed ID Guide, by Jill Cebenko & Deborah Martin 
Rodale Press, $36.95 (Can)

This is a great new book for lawn and garden health. Using a "field guide" format, the book has excellent pictures and well organized information. It distinguishes insect pests from insect helpers, invasive weeds from wild plants which attract beneficial insects. The Guide provides a holistic approach to garden problems, covering issues including timing of planting, attracting natural predators, when to use insect traps, how to dispose of diseased plant matter and more.  I "test drove" the Guide with several bug and disease problems from last year's garden. I identified the culprits easily, and found clear information on prevention and control. This book continues Rodale's tradition of excellent publications. (See also Rodale's
Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, an indispensable classic.)

Atlantic Superstores' Garden Centres will carry only chemical pesticide free lawn and garden products this year, including fertilizers, weed suppressants, dethatchers and other garden aids.  Educational material on gardening without chemical pesticides will also be available. However, transplants and shrubs at Superstore are not yet part of the chemical pesticide free program.