Rake or Shred and Insects

Putting the lawn to bed for the winter is one of the considerations of November.  The leaves have been falling.  Depending on the type of grass on your lawn and the part of the state your residence is in, you may want to mulch the leaves instead of raking and removing them.  Cool season grasses possibly used in the far northern part of the state need the fall sunlight to grow in fall therefore it is best to remove the leaves.  Warm season grasses more common to the rest of the state start to go dormant for the winter earlier and leaves can be mulched and spread on the lawn.  Although the mulch should not exceed 1 inch in depth   and the grass should be cut at 2 inches.  This allows the mulch to mingle in the grass and begin to breakdown in the sunlight.  The nutrients from freshly fallen mulched leaves can be beneficial to root growth and a healthy lawn in the spring. Do not fertilize in November. 

Shredded leaf mulch and be used in flower beds and gardens.  It may not look a pretty but it is free and adds nutrients to the soil.  You may see an increase of earth worm population which keeps the soil loose for root growth.  A thin layer of mulched leaves can be applied over the vegetable garden now.  There is still enough sunlight daily this time of year and in early spring to break it down releasing the nutrients to the soil.

Pine bark mulch is acidic and good to put in beds for Hydrangeas, Azaleas, and Magnolias. Add a small amount of Diatomaceous Earth to it to deter and kill insects.  Cedar bark much is not prone to insect infestation, but lacks the acidic quality.  

Potted plants that are brought in the house during the winter months can be dusted with Diatomaceous Earth insecticide to kill any insects that may be on those plants before you bring them into your home.  Dust the whole plant and soil about 48 hours before bringing them in.  You can then wash the leaves if you desire, as all bugs should be dead by then.  Dusting one of the Diatomaceous Earth Insecticides available around the perimeter of the house foundation, around windows and doors will keep insects that like to come in out of the cold out of your house. Dust around the door that comes from the garage and the garage.  

Check under your kitchen and bathroom cabinets where the pipes come through the wall into the house. If there is a gap, dust the area visible and into the wall as far as possible. Then seal the open area the best way you can, by boards, caulking, duct tape, etc.  Pure diatomaceous earth insecticides that have no chemicals added are safe to dust under kitchen cabinets or in the upper cabinets around dishes and in pantries.  It can be safely used in the home anywhere insects are found or tend to be seen or breed.  This type of insecticide is safe to be used as instructed around children and pets. 

Some of you buy a real tree or cut your own for Christmas.  Those trees sometimes come with spiders or other bugs in them.  The cool thing about Diatomaceous earth insecticides is they are white like snow and will not look funny on the tree.

Note it is important to use only diatomaceous earth that is amorphous silica or sold as an insecticide. The type of diatomaceous earth used in filtration for pools or other filtration has been processed in a way that crystallizes the silica. That form is unsafe to be used in the home, around your family and pets. It is not suitable for an insecticide in that form. I also do not recommend Red Lakes DE as it contains clay that makes it a great deal less effective and not suitable to be mixed with mulch, dusted on plants or used in your gardens. The clay in it causes soil to clump instead of staying loose and aerated like it does with the purer forms of Diatomaceous earth products available. I recommend Perma-Guard, Good Natured, Natures Creation, Natures Wisdom, Natures Guide, and Soil Mender Diatomaceous Earth products. 

I am thankful for many things in my life. I am thankful for Bob Funcanon editor and producer of this magazine for his work and heartfelt concern for our approach to the planet.  I am thankful that he has provided a medium through which the readers have the opportunity to learn how to create a cleaner, healthier, and beautiful environment in which to live without harmful chemicals.

I am thankful for businesses like Perma-Guard and the others who advertise in this magazine or have created a business that furthers the organic industry. I am thankful for those who take their time to provide the informative articles for this wonderful magazine. I am thankful for you the reader for your interest in a better way of life by living natural first.

by Patricia Byrne