Belcarra Garden Club
BC, Canada


July 2022
Organic Gardening and Plant Protection

By Nora Boekhout and Les Bramley


If you look for a description of “organic plant protection” online, you’ll find:
“Plant protection in organic farming works with biodiversity rather than against it. Organic agriculture tries to implement holistic, agroecological strategies instead of simply replacing synthetic pesticides by other inputs.”

As a continuation of our May Meeting, this month we delved more into the benefits of composting.  Every year Canadians throw away nearly 2.2 million tons of food.  Not only is this incredibly wasteful, but it wreaks havoc on the environment!  Food waste, when buried in a landfill, generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In fact, landfills are responsible for nearly one quarter of Canada's methane emissions. Methane contributes to global warming and its concentration is increasing in the atmosphere, explains Mario Tenutu, a professor of applied soil ecology at the university of Manitoba. (  One of the many ways to decrease the environmental impact of landfill is to divert materials from going to them.

That's where composting comes in.  Compost is probably the better organic fertilizer.  Here are 10 reasons from
1. -improves the structure of the soil
2. -provides the correct amount of moisture
3. -well-drained soil makes for healthier plants
4. -provides nutrients for plants
5. -reduces chemical plant fertilizers
6. -is a sustainable way to recycle organic waste
7. -increases biodiversity and plant health
8. -means fewer garden pests
9. -creates best pH level for plants
10. -it saves you money to buy more plants!

Blood meal or dried blood used sparingly has 12 to 15% nitrogen, which is good for the compost pile. An added benefit is that deer will stay clear of gardens with blood meal or dried blood.

Sea Weed is high in potash & trace elements, and can be used as a mulch or worked directly into the garden or placed in the compost.

The Ecological approach to pest control is best known as IPM Integrated Pest Management
IPM focuses on prevention, observation, & intervention only when necessary, instead of reaching out for chemicals.  Proper soil moisture is a factor with many plant-insect relationships.  Either an excess or a deficiency of the soil moisture may cause the plant to tend toward the susceptibility to the insects.  Ample Humus in the soil is one of the best protections against drought short of irrigation systems.
Humus soaks up moisture during rains & then meters it out slowly in dry spells.

Wood Chips do a fine job of aerating the soil & increasing its moisture holding ability.  Take a look at the links below if you are going to add wood chips to your compost.  There are some special considerations.

Another aspect of organic gardening is using “Native Plants”.  At the meeting we distributed a handout taken from an excellent PDF (free!) from the Fraser Valley Conservancy, listing 40 native plants for our area, with specifics on their heights, sun requirements, blooming time etc.  (What an excellent resource!  See the link below!)  Did you know that many of our native insects and wildlife prefer native plants to the Garden Shop’s popular blooms?  Another excellent PDF (free! See the link below) targeted to our area can be obtained from the Pollinator Partnership.
We recently discovered a local (Langley) business that is also targeted to native plants!  “PlanBee Native Plants is a nursery that’s dedicated to creating a community of pollinator guardians. You can buy BC Coastal Native Plants that support the Native Bees, butterflies, birds and other wildlife.

That was a LOT to think about at our meeting.  And afterwards, there were so many interesting factors and possibilities to consider when we headed back home to our own gardens!



Organic Gardening

Canada Organic Trade Association
What does organic mean?  What is prohibited?  What is encouraged?


IFOAM Organics Europe


ICOPPFT 2022: 16. International Conference on Organic Plant Protection and Fertilizer Technologies
September 22-23, 2022 in Vancouver, Canada



Belcarra Garden Club – May discussion:  A Worm can Compost… Can you?

Why is composting good?

Here’s advice on beginner composting from “Men with Kids”

Epic Gardening: How to use Blood Meal

Using Seaweed as a Soil Compost or Manure

Homeguides: How to Compost Seaweed

Gardening Know How:  Composting Wood Chips

Composting HUB: Composting Wood Chips Fast


Organic Gardening

All About Gardening:  Organic Gardening 101 for Beginners

Gilmour: A Simple Guide to Organic Gardening

Better Homes & Gardens: How to Start an Organic Vegetable Garden


Garden Therapy: Sustainable Gardening

Companion Planting: my blog on a speaker at the PoCo Garden Club


What are Climate Smart Soils?

Here’s a fascinating report from a student in “Create Climate-Smart Soils” (U. of Manitoba).
(including some comments on the role gender and diversity play in agriculture research!)
The CREATE in Climate-Smart Soils (CREATE-CSS) is the first multi-institutional soil-centered program to address the need for highly qualified personnel training to sustainably lead Canada’s agri-food sector.


Native plants

Fraser Valley Conservancy: Native Plant Gardening

FVC:  Gardening with Native Plants in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley
a colorful downloadable PDF file!

Pollinator Partnership:  Selecting Plants for Pollinators
Another colorful downloadable PDF file!

BC Fuchsia and Begonia Club – my blog summary on “FVC - Planting for Pollinators” speaker

Nature Conservancy Canada: Native gardening 101

Plan Bee Native Plants (open on Saturdays only, in Langley)

Phoenix Perennials (Richmond, BC) 
Use the search for “native plants”

Pest Control

Integrated Pest Management

SoWe Grow:  Organic Pest Controls – Intro to IPM

Natural Pest Control in an Organic Garden

Natural Home Pesticides

WikiHow: How to Make Organic Pesticide

Gardening Channel: 11 Organic Pest Control Methods





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This page created August 2002.