Since 2014 Eat MY Shrubs has been about maintaining gardens and lawns in the Calgary and Foothills area completely without the use of harmful chemicals. Organic gardening teaches us that everything is in the soil for a reason. As gardeners, we have to figure out what that reason is. Then we can alter something in the soil to encourage the outcome we desire. We must work with the garden to come to an agreement as to what the space will look like. The best gardens are interplanted species, or polycultures. Some plants attract beneficial insects, or fool herbaceous animals away from other plants. All this achieved without the use of harmful chemicals.
This is how essential oils have become an important part of Eat MY Shrubs. They are what the plants use to defend themselves from pests and disease. Nothing foreign to throw off the chemical balance of the soil below.
When we use organic practices, the soil begins to come alive. When we give the good microbes and fungi the food they need, and deprive the bad microbes and fungi of their food. We stack the deck for the beneficial life to win, and in turn, we get the results we want. Rushed practices and instant remedies to our properties have stripped most of the life away from the soil. There is endless evidence of this.
Every spring herbicides and pesticides, unnecessary fertilizers and enhancers, are sprayed and sprinkled all over the soil, killing many beneficial animals, fungi, and bacteria. They then have to work all summer to recover their population. Just to freeze or go dormant in the winter, and be bombarded again in the spring with another dose of death. Endless pulling of plants and spraying compacted ground is not going to keep the tap roots like thistle and dandelions away. However, relieving the compaction and improving the microbial life to increase the water and air holding ability of the soil, that will. It just takes a bit of time.
For routine maintenance, hand pruners and reel mowers, when properly used and maintained, do a superior job than most gas powered tools. This year I have added an electric mower, blower, and trimmer/edger to the lawn care fleet as well. The indiscriminate cutting of motorized hedge trimmers and the rotational cutting of rotary mowers can tear and shred the plants, so it is always important to keep everything sharp. Dull blades leave more surface area for pests and disease to enter the plant. Dedicated pruning with hand pruners, and the scissor like cutting of reel mowers, leave cleaner cuts that heal quickly. The plants are therefore less susceptible to health problems
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“Not only are they beautiful. You can Eat MY Shrubs!”