Tending gardens with
natural pest and 'weed' control

In an organic garden, pests are kept under control with nontoxic methods that work with nature. A number of natural, safe weed and pest sprays or formulas are readily available, as are biological controls such as beneficial insects.

Of course, you may find that weeding is an even more fulfilling task after reading about the super-nutritional value that many common weeds have as dietary supplements. While heading the international studies program at Cleveland State University, Dr. Peter Gail discovered a way to combate those adorable little yellow 'weeds' know as dandelions and violetseat them. In his recent book, "Violets in the Kitchen", he writes how easy it is to cook with these culinary giants.

"Europeans eat what we would call weeds every day as a normal part of their diet. Wanting to share what I had learned, I had my graduate students sort through my seven full file drawers of recipes and folklore for some 300 wild plants.

"We discovered that we had more than 50 recipes, each for some 26 common backyard 'weeds', and I decided to write a cookbook for each of them to pass this information along.

"The criteria we established to select the plant to start with was, first, that it had to be instantly recognizable by everyone and second, that it had to be popular enough to be represented by a large number of recipes. Two plants dandelions and Violets made the 'recognition' cut: of these two, dandelion with some 632 recipes from 43 countries, won the popularity contest. Violets came in second with 123 recipes...


  • EcoCity Cleveland's Organic Pest Control page
  • If you would like to start or join a community garden in your area and/or would like information on organic gardening, contact the Community Gardening Program of Ohio State University Extension in Cuyahoga County at 216-397-6046. OSU Extension offers workshops to community garden groups on organic gardening methods and on how to start a community garden.
  • Weed control without herbicide
  • "The Dandelion Celebration: A guide to unexpected cuisine" by Dr. Peter Gail (Goosefoot Acres Press, Cleveland OH)
  • EdibleWeeds.com
  • Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association
  • Rodale's organic gardening

Organic lawn care specialists:

Good Nature Organic Lawn Care, Alec McClennan, 216-351-9830.

Simple Yard Care describes itself as 100 percent pollution free, uses organic, natural pesticides, push mowers and this duo even tows their equipment on a bicycle trailer! Call Allison Hurley or Daniel Lake, 216-574-2550; 440-897-5530; or

Please if you know of a resource to add to this list.

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EcoCity Cleveland
3500 Lorain Avenue, Suite 301, Cleveland OH 44113
Cuyahoga Bioregion
(216) 961-5020
Copyright 2002-2005

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