Yard Garden

The shelves of home improvement stores, department stores, and nurseries are lined with chemical fertilizers and a wide range of pesticides – herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides.

Pesticides contain toxic chemicals that are highly mobile and can poison the air, leach into soils, and contaminate water. Pesticides applied outdoors can also be tracked into the home.

Because the active ingredients in pesticides are designed to be toxic, they inherently have adverse health effects on animals and humans—even at low levels—and can remain present in the environment after the initial application. Even some of the “inert” ingredients in pesticide formulas have been shown to be harmful to health, but the EPA does not require pesticide manufacturers to list inert ingredients on product labels.

How we choose to address pests and weeds in our own yard can affect people, fish and wildlife well beyond our property lines. The good news is that there are safe and effective alternatives to pesticides.

Safer Alternatives

The chemical industry would have us believe that pesticides are the only solution for getting rid of plants and insects that you do not want in your yard or garden. The fact is you can prevent or minimize most pest damage and weed problems through organic practices. If problems do arise, there are safe, non-chemical methods of control.

The following suggestions may not be practicable everywhere in Alaska, but are possible in some of our communities:

  • Grow your own vegetables, herbs, and berries using non-toxic methods. Visit the Organic Methods section of our website for tips on healthy gardening. Learn to successfully manage weeds and pests without pesticides and to build and maintain soil health organically without synthetic chemical fertilizers.
  • Get involved with local organic School and Community Gardens.
  • Know where your food comes–buy directly from your farmer at one of Alaska’s local Farmer’s Markets.

For information on other ways you may be exposed to pesticides, please visit our Food page.