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LAWN & GARDEN

How To Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Mosquito-Proof Your Yard

Did you know mosquitoes are the deadliest animal on the planet, causing more deaths annually than sharks, snakes, wolves, lions, crocodiles, tigers, bears and humans combined?

During the height of breeding season,  Mosquitoes outnumber every other animal on the planet, except for termites and ants. Unfortunately, mosquito bites don’t affect only humans, they also affect animals like dogs, cats and horses, too.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to protect your yard and family from mosquitoes. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these non-toxic tips to mosquito-proof your yard this mosquito season.

 

Remove Possible Breeding Sites
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The first and arguably most important step to keeping mosquitos out of your yard is to get rid of all potential breeding areas—which primarily means removing all sources of standing water. Mosquito eggs often remain attached to receptacles even after they’ve been drained, so be sure to thoroughly clean, not just empty, all areas where water has collected. Here’s what to do:

  • Remove pet bowls, buckets, tires, unused lawn equipment—everything that easily catches rainwater
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or, better yet, empty them during mosquito season
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water
  • Frequently check A/C drip pans for standing water
  • Keep pools well-maintained
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water
  • Cover or fill hollow tree stumps and other natural water-collecting reservoirs
  • Clean and remove all blockages from gutters and storm drains
  • Check flower pots and flower pot drip trays for standing water
  • Cover all trash cans and dumpsters
  • Remove all additional clutter from your backyard, such as appliances, unused tools, sporting equipment, children’s toys—anything that can potentially hold water

 

Maintain Your Yard
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Mosquitoes love hiding in tall grass, shrubbery and damp, unkempt areas like woodpiles. Keeping your grass short and yard well-maintained is essential to mosquito control.

 

Treat Your Yard
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Treating your yard with an a non-toxic, water-soluble insect repellent, especially before outdoor activities, will significantly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in your backyard. Cedarwood chips are also a natural insect deterrent; sprinkle them throughout your yard—especially along foundations and fence lines—for additional mosquito protection.

 

Avoid Peak Mosquito Hours
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Lack of wind, sunlight and heat make dawn and dusk ideal feeding times for mosquitoes. In the U.S., mosquitoes are least likely to bite in the middle of the day, and most likely to bite just after sunset. Limiting outdoor activity—particularly in wooded, humid and shady areas—during these periods will greatly decrease the chances of being bitten. Wearing clothes that match your surroundings—darker colors at night, lighter clothing in the day—has also been shown to limit mosquito bites. Wearing closed-toe shoes helps, too.

 

Use Outdoor Fans
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Surprisingly, outdoor fans have proven effective at reducing mosquitoes and mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide, body heat and body odor. Fans work by dispersing and redirecting these attractants throughout the air, diminishing not only the appearance of mosquitos in your yard but also the likelihood of getting bitten.

 

Use Mosquito-Repelling Plants
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The following plants are known to have mosquito-repelling properties. Place or plant them in areas where you spend the most time outside:

  • Marigolds’ distinct aroma is a natural insect repellent
  • Basil’s strong scent naturally deters mosquitoes and other insects
  • Catnip has been shown to be 10x more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET
  • Lavender, in both living and dry form, actively repels mosquitoes
  • Lemon balm attracts beneficial insects like bees, but repels mosquitoes
  • Peppermint’s smell helps drive away mosquitoes. It can also be crushed for use as an effective mosquito bite relief treatment
  • Rosemary has a long history of use as a mosquito repellent
  • Citronella’s strong smell can help mask carbon dioxide and body odor, in effect, hiding you from mosquitoes
  • Pennyroyal, both crushed and fresh, helps to repel mosquitoes

 

 

Team Up With Your Neighbors
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Regardless of how many preventative measures you take, if your neighbors don’t pitch in, they might not do any good. Managing and implementing mosquito control best practices—removing standing water, lawn care, etc—is almost always a team effort.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

8 Essential Pest Control Tips for Fall

Cedarcide blog post image, 8 Essential Pest Control Tips for Fall

The cool chill of fall is here. Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, but so are bugs—and they just can’t wait to get into your home. While summer pest control is more about weekly maintenance and daily prevention, fall pest control is about safeguarding your home from the dozens of pests now hoping to move indoors. Don’t want a bunch of nasty new insect roommates? Follow these 8 tips to keep your home bug-free this fall.

 

Clean and De-Clutter Inside

Ants, fleas, flies, termites, roaches, mosquitoes—all seek shelter indoors as temperatures drop. Follow these simple preventative measures to help keep bugs out of your home this fall:

  • Keep your home clean and free of clutter—particularly the garage, attic, basement, kitchen, closets, all flooring, window sills and counter tops.
  • Items you don’t plan on using for the season should be organized and sealed in airtight plastic storage containers (cardboard boxes attract many pests).
  • Seal or get rid of stacks of magazines and other paper: bugs like silverfish and cockroaches are attracted to the smell of paper.
  • Seal all food in tightly closed containers. Keep all food storage areas free of crumbs and food residues (Tip: Wipe off all jam, sauce and honey containers, too).
  • Never leave food remains or dirty dishes in the sink.
  • Take out the trash regularly, and keep all trash cans clean and sealed.
  • Most bugs are prone to moisture loss and enter our homes to seek water and cool down. It’s important to remove standing water and other sources of moisture, such as leaky plumbing, basements, crawl spaces and A/C units (do this outside, too!).
  • Do not store lumber or firewood inside or right outside your home. Doing so attracts various types of bugs, including termites. Keep all woodpiles at least 20 ft. away from your home, and elevated if possible.

 

Clean and De-Clutter Outside

Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward keeping bugs out of your home as autumn approaches. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (moisture attracts nearly all pests).
  • Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight is lethal to many pests.
  • Many types of bugs need vegetation to hide, so we suggest regularly mowing, edging, weed eating, raking, and trimming the hedges until greenery begins to die for the season.
  • When mowing, bag the clippings and promptly dispose of them. Do not disperse them throughout your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or empty entirely during mosquito season.
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water
  • Keep pools well-maintained
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
  • Seal all trash cans, dumpsters and compost areas.
  • Clean out your gutters. As leaves begin to drop in fall, gutters can easily become clogged, leading to moisture buildup, which attracts pests.

 

Seal Your Home (Both Indoors and Outdoors)

With cold weather approaching, fall is often your final chance to seal your home’s exterior. Because most insects—and bug-carrying pests like mice—require only the smallest openings to enter our homes, this step is absolutely crucial to keeping your home pest-free this autumn. Checking both inside and outside, use caulk, cement or another suitable material to fill all cracks and holes.

Check the following: Baseboards, window sills, doorways, light switches, outlets, fixtures, vents, basements, roofing, utility lines, piping, attics, faucets, walls, and foundations. Screens or seals should be used to ensure windows and doorways remain firmly closed as well; be sure to repair or replace any damaged screens. For additional protection, consider installing a rubber seal at the base of your garage door, and weather stripping on any sliding doors in the home. Open drains can also be sealed using fine metal mesh.

 

Install a Chimney Cap

In addition to shutting out bugs, installing a chimney cap will help keep rodents, birds, bats and other insect-carrying hosts out of your home. This is important, because as the weather cools wild animals will look to enter your home in search of warm shelter.

 

Choose Decorations Wisely

Decorations come into play as we move through fall to the holiday season. Unfortunately, organic decorations like carved pumpkins, straw bales, wreaths, and garlands provide a food source and home for many pests. Going artificial with your Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations is one way to avoid this. Otherwise, it’s important to be diligent with upkeep as far as natural decorations go: you’ll need to check them every other day or so for signs of infestation (Tip: Check decorations before bringing them inside your home, too, as insects can ride these items directly into your house).

 

Use Plant-Based Indoor Pesticides

As fall approaches, it’s important to make your home unappetizing to insects interested in moving indoors. Plant-based indoor pesticides are your best option, as they are both effective and non-toxic. These naturally sourced pesticides can be used as both a spot killer and a preventative repellent.

 

Treat Yourself and Your Pets

Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our homes—even in fall. Before and after going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pets for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of non-toxic bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this process easier.

Having holiday guests over? Remember bed bugs often enter our homes through visitors’ luggage or clothing. Treating the outside of luggage with a travel size bed bug spray is a smart way to ensure pests don’t hitch a ride into your guestroom. If you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to treat your luggage before returning home to prevent accidentally introducing a bug population into your house.

 

Use Non-Toxic Outdoor Pesticides

Making your yard inhospitable to pests will greatly reduce the number of bugs you find indoors during the fall months. We recommend treating your yard with a non-toxic outdoor pesticide. Here’s how to do it:

  • Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Be sure to spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
  • When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard and home, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from entering your yard or home after treatment.
  • Spray front, back and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of your yard.
  • During the fall months, we advise spraying your yard at least once every 4-6 weeks, or more as needed

 

Tip: Cedarwood chips can also be used to create a repellent perimeter around your lawn and home. Simply sprinkle the chips along your home’s foundation and fence line, as well as any other insect trouble areas.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

7 Essential Lawn & Garden Tips For Fall

Cedarcide blog post, Essential Lawn and Garden Tips for Fall
Carved pumpkins, sweater weather, and gorgeous leaves are all things we associate with autumn. But when in comes to fall there’s something else to consider: Your lawn. The steps you take now during the fall months will determine the health of your lawn for seasons to come. By adhering to a handful of simple tips, you can greatly increase the chances you’ll experience a thriving, productive lawn once spring rolls around. Here are 7 essential lawn and garden tips for fall.

 

Keep Watering and Mowing

It might come as a surprise, but during fall you should continue to water and mow your lawn more or less as usual. In general, it’s a good idea to lower your mower’s cutting setting to approximately 2 inches in height, as shorter grass tends to fare better in autumn (shorter grass means more sunlight exposure, which makes for a healthier lawn).

 

Aerate the Soil

Oxygen, water, and fertilizer cannot penetrate the soil if it’s too tightly compacted. That’s where aeration comes in—and fall is the perfect time to do it. By puncturing holes in your lawn, and removing plugs of soil here and there, you give your yard the opportunity to absorb any surface nutrients it might have otherwise been missing. Tip: For best results, fertilize just after aerating your lawn.

 

Fertilize

An even blanket of dry fertilizer applied in mid to late fall is a smart way to ensure a healthier, more productive lawn through the rest of the year. We recommend going organic with your fertilizer if at all possible.

 

Rake Up those Leaves

As fallen leaves pile up on your lawn, they begin to choke the life out of your greenery. Robbed of oxygen and sunlight, the soil becomes less and less fertile over time. To give your lawn the best chance of flourishing in spring, keep it free of leaves through the fall and winter months.

 

Use Plant-Based Pest Control

Making your yard inhospitable to pests can save your lawn considerable damage during the fall months. We recommend treating your yard with a non-toxic outdoor pesticide. Here’s how to do it:

  • Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Be sure to spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
  • When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard and home, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from entering your yard or home after treatment.
  • During the fall months, we advise spraying your yard at least once every 4-6 weeks, or more as needed.

Cedarwood chips can also be used to create a repellent perimeter around your lawn and home. Simply sprinkle the chips along your home’s foundation and fence line, as well as any other insect trouble areas.

 

Kill the Weeds

Weeds are most vulnerable to herbicides in fall. If you’re hoping to finally conquer those pesky weeds, now’s the time. Be cautious when choosing an herbicide, however, as most are extremely toxic and unsafe for pets, people and the environment. Tip: Go with a non-toxic alternative instead.
 

10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

 

Fill in the Bald Spots

Thick, healthier lawns are less susceptible to harmful pests and weeds—and filling in your yard’s bald spots is one of the easiest ways to achieve a healthier lawn. In fall, the ground is still warm, there’s plenty of moisture and there’s less direct sunlight drying out the soil, so seeds are more likely to take hold now than summer or spring. We recommend consulting a lawn and garden store regarding your specific grass and soil types, but in general an all-in-one organic repair mixture is the most convenient option for naturally filling in bald spots.
 

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

How to Apply PCO Choice and Yardsafe When Rain is an Issue

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Apply PCO Choice and Yardsafe When Rain is an Issue

At Cedarcide, our naturally sourced outdoor formulas are among our most popular products. Our outdoor pesticide concentrate, PCO Choice, and its ready-to-use counterpart, Yardsafe, both help keep your yard free of troublesome pests without endangering your family, your pets or the environment.

While application of these products is rather straightforward (they’re best applied early morning or late evening, and can be used throughout your entire yard to kill and repel insects) there’s one issue that can complicate the process: Rain. We’re often asked questions like these:
 

  • “It rained after I used PCO Choice, do I have to apply it again?”
  • “It rained yesterday, can I apply Yardsafe today, or should I wait till the soil is dry?”

 
To simplify things, Here’s an outline of when and how to use PCO Choice and Yardsafe when rain is an issue:

 

Applying Before Rain

If the forecast is predicting heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours, it’s best to wait to apply PCO Choice or Yardsafe until after the rain has passed and the soil has adequately dried (moist soil is fine, but soil saturated with water is too wet for application). Similarly, if heavy rain occurs less than 24 to 48 hours after you’ve treated your yard, we recommend an additional application. Note: light to medium rains do not necessitate additional applications.  

 

Applying After Rain

Let’s say it just rained, maybe a few hours ago or the day before. If the soil is dry or only slightly wet, you’re fine to apply PCO Choice or Yardsafe to your lawn. However, if the soil is muddy, saturated with water or otherwise extremely wet, it’s best to wait until the soil has had more time to dry.

 

Additional Guidelines For Applying PCO Choice

Using a Hose End Sprayer, it takes just 4 oz. of PCO Choice to treat up to 5000 sq. ft. of outdoor space. Avoid applications during peak sun hours—early morning or late evening is best. Apply monthly or as needed.


Dilution Instructions

  • Dilute PCO with warm/hot water; shake to mix until milky white
  • For Hose End Sprayers: Add 4 oz. of PCO per 20 gallons of sprayed water (treats up to 5,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space).
  • For Tank Sprayers: Add 2 oz. per 1 gallon of water
  • PCO can be diluted down to 1:1000 for larger, agricultural use

 

Additional Guidelines For Applying Yardsafe

Simply hook up the Hose End Sprayer directly to the bottle, then attach it to the hose and begin spraying. Avoid applications during peak sun hours—early morning or late evening is best. Apply monthly or as needed.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think!

10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Weeds

Cedarcide blog post image, 10 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Weeds
When it comes to weed control, the world’s on edge. Monsanto—producer of the most financially successful weed-killer on the planet, Roundup—is currently locked in a mess of legal battles. Rumor and science have it that Roundup’s active ingredient, Glyphosate, causes cancer. As the most widely used herbicide on the planet—on average, a pound of Roundup is used on every acre of cropland in the U.S., half a pound on every acre of cropland worldwide—these findings should alarm all of us.

This is yet another reminder why it’s important to seek out non-toxic alternatives to chemical-based herbicides and pesticides. The truth is when it comes to weeds, you can go natural and still get the results you’re looking for. Whereas traditional weed-killers endanger our soil, our water, family and pets, the following chemical-free alternatives threaten only one organism: Weeds!

 

Baking Soda

Sodium makes soil less hospitable to dandelions and other common weeds. To prevent weeds and other unwanted grasses from growing, use baking soda. Apply the baking soda at roughly 1 teaspoon per individual weed plant, being sure to cover the entire plant—including stem, leaves and flowers. Baking soda can also be applied by sweeping it into sidewalk cracks and other common problem areas. Tip: be careful and precise when using baking soda to eliminate weeds, as the sodium can also kill surrounding plant life.

 

Salt

Salt works the same way baking soda does: sodium helps kill and prevent weed growth. Mix a solution of 1 cup salt to 2 cups water, and apply it to any undesirable plant growth using a spray bottle. This solution can also be boiled and then applied for added weed-killing power. Caution: never use more salt than necessary, as considerable salting of soil can render it unhealthy.

 

Vodka

Have some extra vodka lying around? If so, you also have a free DIY weed-eliminator. Mix 1 oz. of vodka with 2 cups of water and a few drops of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture in the heat of the day, thoroughly coating the weeds’ leaves. This solution works by breaking down the weeds’ natural waxy coat, making them vulnerable to sun damage and dehydration. Note: this method does not work for weeds growing in shade.

 

Pull Them

The obvious tried-and-true method of pulling weeds by hand is still one of the best. This approach is easiest when the soil is soft and wet, like just after a light rainfall. For detailed instructions on how to properly pull weeds, click here.

 

Vinegar

Vinegar is a fast and highly effective natural weed-killer. Using a spray bottle, thoroughly soak both the foliage and lower stem of each weed plant. Apply with caution, as vinegar kills most types of plant life, not just weeds. If it rains shortly after application, you may need to reapply once the soil has dried out again.

 

Corn Gluten Meal

While corn gluten meal—a finely ground byproduct of the corn milling process—won’t kill existing weeds, it’s a miracle solution for preventing weed growth. In effect, corn gluten meal works by preventing weed seeds from germinating, and ultimately sprouting. Best of all, corn gluten meal doubles as a nutrient-rich plant food.

 

Boiling Water

When boiled, basic household tap water transforms into a weed-destroying formula. Simply pour the boiling water anywhere you’re experiencing weed troubles (careful—boiling water can also kill surrounding plant life if not applied directly to the weeds alone). Please exercise extreme caution when using this approach.

 

Mulch

As with other plants, weeds cannot grow without sunlight. Kill weeds by denying them of this essential element. Using biodegradable newspapers (most are), completely cover the weeds and then thoroughly coat the newspaper-covered weeds with a two-inch-thick bed of mulch. Note: any grass or plants similarly covered will likely die as well, so apply carefully.

 

Oil

Toxic, unnatural oils like motor oil are a big no-no, but new or used vegetable oil is both eco-safe and effective at killing weeds. Entirely coat unwanted weeds by carefully pouring vegetable oil on both foliage and stem. The weeds will be gone in no time.

 

Weed-Suppressing Plants

Like all living organisms, weeds have to compete for limited resources to survive (sunlight, soil, water, etc). Researchers at Cornell University found that certain ground-covering plants are especially good at robbing weeds of these necessary resources. Install the following plants to help keep weeds out of your garden:

  • Emerald blue moss phlox
  • Thriller lady’s mantle
  • Walker’s low catmint
  • Golden fleece dwarf goldenrod
  • Albiflorus creeping thyme
  • Herman’s pride false lamium
  • Majestic Lilyturf

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

What You Need to Know About Chiggers + How to Get Rid of Them

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What Are Chiggers and What Do They Look Like?

Red bugs, mower’s mites, berry bugs, harvest bugs, chiggers—the arachnids scientifically known as trombiculidae mites go by many names. Ranging in size from 0.3mm to 0.4mm (1/60 of an inch), chiggers are nearly microscopic organisms known for their extremely itchy “bites.” Most active during spring, summer and fall, chiggers have four life stages: egg, larvae, nymph and adult. But only the larval stage individuals—in other words, the babies—are parasitic.

Found in moist vegetation worldwide (like grassy lawns, bushes and forests), these red-orange mites attach themselves to a host—a reptile, rabbit, insect, or human for example—in order to feed on their skin. Contrary to popular belief, chiggers do not bite or burrow into their hosts; instead, they inject digestive enzymes into their host’s skin in order to create a hole from which they can feed. After sucking up this liquified skin meal, the baby chigger drops to the ground, where it matures into its next life stage.


What Do Chigger “Bites” Look Like?

Appearing 6-48 hours after the chigger has fed, chigger “bites” consist of red bumps infamous for their intense itchiness. These irritating lesions usually occur in clusters in or around areas where skin and clothing are in close proximity—like the waist, ankles, armpits, crotch-area and back. While the first several days are the worst, these bumps can persist for weeks, even months in a milder form.


How Do You Prevent Chigger “Bites?”

Like with mosquitos and ticks, you need to use a repellent when venturing into chigger territory. Because of the toxicity of traditional bug sprays, we recommend using only non-toxic pesticides & repellents. For the sake of your pet’s well-being, treat them to repel chiggers, too. For additional protection, we recommend wearing long clothing when walking in suspected chigger areas, being sure to tuck pants into socks, and shirt into pants. After returning from these areas, bathe immediately in warm, soapy water. All possibly infested clothing should be promptly washed in warm/hot water, too.

 

How Do You Get Chiggers?

This a two part question: (1) How does one get bitten by chiggers? And (2) How do chiggers get into our lawns. Walking through a wooded area, tall grass or weeds, or on lawns not treated with pesticides, is how most people pick up their first chigger “bites”. This is also a common way chigger populations are introduced into our yards, as chiggers readily hitch a ride on our clothing only to be dropped somewhere near our homes. Other common hosts such as rodents, turtles, small birds, and more also contribute to the spread of chiggers—which is why a regular outdoor pest-control regimen is encouraged during the warmer seasons.


What To Do If You Have Chiggers

If you fear chiggers have invaded your lawn & garden, or if you want to prevent them from doing so in the first place, you’ll need to treat your lawn with an naturally sourced outdoor pest control solution. In the heavy chigger months between spring and fall, we recommend treating your entire yard at least once per month to help keep your home and lawn chigger-free.

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

5 Tips For Starting An Urban GardenđŸŒ”

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It’s well documented that gardening is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Which is great news for those with ample lawn space, but not so great news for those living in cramped urban landscapes. Urban Gardening—essentially, just gardening in urban spaces like apartments—is a way for those without yard space to enjoy the rewarding and therapeutic qualities of gardening. Because of the decreased sunlight and limited square footage associated with urban environments, an urban garden can be an intimidating and difficult project to start. But with a little know-how, some careful planning, and several visits to your local garden center, you can have a flourishing urban garden in no time. Here’s some tips to get you started.

 

Survey Your Space

How much space do you have—just room for containers like pots, or enough sq. footage for a garden bed or box? How much sunlight does your growing space receive each day? Do you want flowers, or something you’ll actually eat, like vegetables and herbs? These are the questions that will determine what type of garden you can grow, and how best to do it. Taking careful notes on sun exposure, physical space, and the types of plants you’re hoping to grow are important initial steps to planning your first urban garden. If you decide to consult a gardening professional (which we recommend), these notes will be essential in helping you both determine what growing methods are right for you and your space.

 

Pick A Growing Method

There are three main approaches to urban gardening: raised bed gardening, square foot gardening, and container gardening. Sunlight availability and the physical limitations of your growing space will determine which method is best for you. Here’s a short outline of each approach:

Raised Bed Gardening—If you have adequate space, this method affords the closest experience to traditional gardening. Raised bed gardening consists of isolating your plants using a large, raised container made from wood or brick. This approach offers additional protection from pests and elements like wind due to its elevated exterior. Raised bed gardening also allows for dense planting, and is a great choice for heat-loving plants like tomatoes and peppers.
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Square Foot Gardening—If you’re looking togrow as many plants/vegetables as possible in your small space, square foot gardening might be the option for you. While not entirely different from raised bed gardening, this popular approach uses strict guidelines, specific soil mixtures, and a carefully measured spacing grid to make the most efficient use of your limited growing space. For specifics, visit squarefootgardening.com.

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Container Gardening—If space is your biggest concern, container gardening—which requires the least effort, space, and setup—is likely your best bet. Using containers like small pots, this method allows you to grow various sorts of low maintenance plants within a limited amount of physical space. However, because you’re planting in a pot and not the earth, this approach will require that you water and fertilize your plants more often.  For more info on these growing methods, click here.

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Choose the Right Soil

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Because urban soils are typically filled with debris like rocks and sand, and tend to lack the required nutrients, organic potting mix is generally your best option. As far as fertilizer, organic is also the way to go. In addition to the known health risks associated with chemical-based growing practices, synthetic blends like Miracle Grow tend to overfill your garden with nitrogen, which can in turn attract more pests and reduce fruit and vegetable output. We recommend consulting your local garden center or nursery to determine exactly which organic growing mediums and fertilizers are right for you.

Why You Should Stop Using Synthetic Pesticides Today!

Choose Your Plants Wisely

The unique combination of your growing space’s size and exposure to sunlight will determine what plants can flourish in your urban garden. While choosing the exact right plants is best left to you and your local garden center, the following are low-maintenance plants that tend to do well in urban conditions, where sunlight and space are in short supply:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Onion
  • Hot peppers
  • Kale
  • Zucchini

For more info on growing vegetables in your urban garden, click here.

12 Foods You Should Always Buy Organic (And 15 You Don't Really Have To)

Go Natural With Your Pest Control
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Synthetic, chemical-based pesticides are dangerous to pets, people and the environment. Choosing natural methods for killing and repelling insects is not only more environmentally sustainable, but healthier for your garden, too. Healthier plants are more resistant to disease and the effects of garden pests, so consistent watering and organic fertilizers are the first step to safeguarding your urban garden against damaging bugs like mites and moths.

While there are many effective approaches to natural pest control, an eco-friendly, outdoor pesticide is the easiest and most hassle-free option. (Tip: when choosing a ready-to-use all natural pesticide, be sure that it’s both plant-safe and water-soluble).

Looking for an outdoor pest control solution?
We offer two: PCO Choice and Yardsafe. Click here to learn the difference.

How To Bug-Proof Your Yard Naturally

Cedarcide blog post image, How to Bug-Proof Your Yard Naturally
From mosquitoes and ants to ticks and fleas, bugs can ruin an otherwise peaceful lawn. Pool parties, BBQs and other backyard festivities are much less fun once the biting insects and other creepy crawlies show up. They’re not just nuisances either, bugs like mosquitoes and ticks for instance carry harmful diseases that put both your family and pets’ lives at risk. There’s no need to resort to toxic insecticides, either. Instead, follow these family-safe, pet-safe tips to bug-proof your yard this summer.

 

Maintain Your Yard

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Keeping a well-maintained and organized yard goes a long way toward protecting your lawn & garden against pests like fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, ants, chiggers and more. Here’s where to start:

  • Remove all clutter from your yard: woodpiles, yard equipment, brush, leaves, lawn clippings, tree stumps, unused dog houses, furniture, tires, and anything else that could collect water (mosquitoes use stagnant water to breed).
  • Engage in landscaping practices that expose your lawn to as much sunlight as possible (by trimming branches, tall grass, shrubbery, etc). Direct sunlight can be lethal to many bugs, like termites, chiggers, scorpions and more.
  • Many bugs need lush vegetation to hide, so regularly mow, edge, weedeat, rake, and trim the hedges.
  • When mowing, bag the clippings and dispose of them. Do not disperse them onto your yard—doing so helps create a bug-friendly environment, especially for ticks.
  • Change and clean bird bath water regularly, or empty them during mosquito season.
  • Fix leaky hoses, faucets, sprinklers, A/C units, and clogged drainage areas to prevent pooling water.
  • Keep pools well-maintained.
  • Regularly check and clean pool covers and other tarps—these often hold water, attracting bugs.
  • Cover all trash cans and dumpsters.

 

Treat Your Lawn With Naturally Sourced Pesticides

Traditional pesticides threaten not only the health of your yard, but also your family and pets. When treating your lawn, it’s important to go with a naturally sourced alternative. (Tip: The best time to treat is early morning or in the evening—this helps prevent evaporation, and gives the natural repellent/pesticide sufficient time to soak into your yard). Follow these guidelines:

  • Thoroughly spray the entire yard. Spray all hedges, shrubbery, flower gardens, bases of trees, and anywhere else bugs might hide.
  • When spraying, pay special attention to the perimeter of your yard, including all fencing, foundations and brick barriers. This will prevent bugs from re-entering your yard after treatment.
  • Spray front, back and side yards all in one session. It’s important that all areas are treated within a short window to prevent bugs from migrating to other sections of your yard.
  • During the spring and summer months, we advise spraying your yard at least once per month, or more often as needed.

 

Use A Mulch Barrier

A repellent mulch barrier (like those made from cedar chips) is an easy way to repel bugs from your yard. For this approach: surround your lawn and garden with a thick perimeter of dry mulch (anywhere from 1-3 ft.). Do not use damp mulches, as these can actually attract some types of bugs.

 

Treat Your Pets (and Yourself)

Pets and people are a common vehicle for bugs to enter our yards. Before (and after) going outdoors for walks, hikes, dog park visits, etc, it’s important to guard yourself and your pets against biting bugs like fleas and ticks (always check your pet for ticks, too!). Carrying a small bottle of bug repellent in your purse or pocket makes this easy process easy.

 

Deter Wild Animals 

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Wild animals are one of the primary ways bugs enter your yard. Treating and keeping your lawn maintained as discussed above is the first step to making your yard inhospitable to wild animals like bug-carrying rodents. From deer to possums to raccoons, here’s what you need to do to keep unwanted animals out of your yard.

  • Become a dog owner. Dogs and dog urine deter wild animals, as canines are a natural predator to many animals.
  • Consider installing fencing. If you already use fencing, check it thoroughly for holes, cracks and other openings animals might use to enter you yard.
  • Consider replacing plants that attract animals to your yard: such as roses, apples, beans, peas, strawberries, corn, chrysanthemums, tulips and more. Or, install chicken wire fencing around your garden.
  • Because ticks are especially dangerous, consider installing deer-repelling plants: such as iris, sage, chives, lemon balm, lilac, holly, and more.
  • Remove or repair sources of unnecessary moisture—such as standing water, leaking plumbing, drains, gutters, and sprinkler systems.
  • Firmly secure trash cans and trash can lids, or start storing trash cans in a garage or other outbuilding.
  • For more tips on keeping animals out of your lawn & garden click here.

 

 

Thoughts, suggestions, have your own tips to add? Comment below or head over to our Facebook page to let us know what you think!

5 Things All Pet Owners Should Be Composting

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If you’re like many of us, you try to make decisions to reduce your carbon footprint. But have you ever thought about the carbon paw prints that your pets are leaving? The size of their prints largely depends on us as pet owners.

Why you should compost:

  • It saves you money on fertilizer and naturally improves the soil
  • Reduces landfills and saves resources
  • Promotes water retention
  • Reduces the amount of chemicals that run into our water sources

What pet owners should compost:

Pet hair:Pet hair is a great source of nitrogen and can yield wonderful results in your soil. (Tip: Empty your vacuum or dustpan into your compost bin directly after cleaning)

Nail clippings: Like hair, nails are also a good source of nitrogen as long as they are free from polish.

Pet food: If you have old or stale pet food, consider composting it instead of throwing it out.

Feathers: Whether you’re a bird owner or you have old pillows that need to be retired, adding feathers to your compost bin is easy and one of the most nitrogen rich substances.

Manure: Manure from herbivores such as horses, cows, pigs, chickens, etc., contain a plethora of micro-nutrients and organic matter. This will not only aid in plant growth but will also minimize animal waste. (Note: It is not suggested that you mix cat, dog or any other meat-eating animals manure in your compost bin.)

Taking these easy steps will not only help preserve our planet but also help preserve your bank account by saving you money. For more pet and eco-safe products such as organic pesticides and mulches, visit www.cedarcide.com

Petscaping: Landscaping with your pets in mind

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Petscaping: Landscaping with your pets in mind.

Maintaining a beautiful yard while being a pet owner shouldn’t be that hard. Here’s a few tips you might be missing:

Paw-Friendly Decking/Fencing

Many common deck, fence and wood treatments, such as pressure-treated wood, can cause cause adverse health effects for people and pets after long term exposure. Over time, the chemicals (which includes arsenic) used to treat the wood will eventually seep into its surroundings, exposing it to all of its toxins. Pets who chew on the wood are at an even higher risk of being exposed. If possible, use organic wood treatments such as Cedarshield, a one-time treatment that is 100% safe for people and pets.

Eliminating Brown Spots

Have you been wondering why your lawn can’t seem to stay green everywhere? Those brown spots are likely caused by too much nitrogen in your pet’s urine. Watering the area where your pet uses the bathroom can help dilute the nitrogen and keep those pesky brown spots from popping up. Also, if you fertilize your yard, try to use a reduced nitrogen fertilizer.

Beware of Hazardous Plants

When planning to add plants to your lawn it’s important to consider which ones may be beneficial or harmful to your pets. Herbs such as Basil, Lavender and lemongrass all have benefits for your pets, while  common plants such as Azaleas, Lilies, Daffodils and Sago Palms are poisonous for them.  For a full list of hazardous plants, click here. 

Use Non-Toxic Pesticides

Many commonly used commercial and DIY pesticides have been proven dangerous to both people and pets. Symptoms such as fever, tremors, vomiting, depression, seizures,  increased heart rate and in some cases death can occur.  Using organic pesticides can safely eliminate bugs without the fear of any of dangerous side effects.

Designated Digging Areas

Many pets that are thought to be “problem diggers” are actually overheated pets just looking for a place to cool down. Make sure your pets have access to shade or a cooled area. If digging persists, try making a designated digging area and placing toys in the dirt to direct them there. After a while, most dogs will catch on and the digging in your garden will stop.

Know Your Mulch

Most people know that chocolate is poisonous for dogs but many are unaware that mulch can be just as dangerous. Cocoa mulch, which is derived from cocoa beans, contains Theobromine, the deadly toxin found in chocolate. Even small amounts can harm animals and cause side effects such as vomiting, tremors, nerve damage and more. Make sure to use organic, chemical-free mulch such as Cedar Mulch.

By paying attention to these small (but big) steps you can safely and beautifully landscape your lawn and enjoy it with your pets.

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