Next Up

7 Steps to a Chemical-Free Yard and Garden

Bringing out the chemicals can be a rare event in the life of your yard and garden. Here's how to have a healthy landscape.

1 / 7

Build Your Garden on Diversity

Too many of the same kind of plant makes your garden look like a landing strip to bad bugs. Instead, mix and match: perennials and annuals of all sorts, deciduous and evergreen shrubs and trees or, in this case, tomatoes that mature at different times in the growing season. If you want to plant a lot of the same kind of vegetable, try dividing it up in different parts of the yard.

More photos after this Ad

2 / 7

Identify Infestations

They may not be serious. Every year, many homeowners worry when they see a large swarm of the box-elder bug on a tree trunk. In fact, the box-elder bug is a nuisance critter that causes little to no damage to your garden. If you're not sure what a bug is, take it to your local extension agent for identification.

More photos after this Ad

3 / 7

Spray Less, Not More

In fact, skip chemical sprays altogether. In gardens where no pesticides are used, many infestations of bad bugs are self-limiting. Most importantly, avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides; they kill the good bugs along with the bad — like this very beneficial praying mantis.

More photos after this Ad

4 / 7

Choose Pest-Resistant Plants

Before buying an edible or ornamental plant, do a little research to find out if it's particularly susceptible to insects or disease — check online, with friends and neighbors or with your extension agent — and find ones that have shown resistance.

More photos after this Ad