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Twelve great organic solutions for your yard and garden

Looking to grow a more natural lawn or garden? There are dozens of great products designed for organic gardening and yard care out there. The trick is finding out which ones will work best for you.

Below, we’ve selected 12 unique products including organic fertilizers, pesticides, and gardening gadgets that will work great for the serious or novice organic gardener. These products are safe for you and your family and in most cases are just as effective as chemically-based products.

1. Mycor Root Builder

Mycorrhizal fungi are tiny, harmless critters that attach themselves to plant roots and actually help plants to make use of organic chemicals in the soil. You can stimulate the growth of Mycorrhizal fungi and get them to work more efficiently with GreenSense Mycor Root Builder. Mycor Root Builder contains Endomycorrhiza, Ectomycorrhiza, Scleroderma, Kelp, Zeolite, and Humate.

It will work on all the plants you grow, including turf grass. You can use it directly on your new transplants or use a coring drill or auger to penetrate deeper into the soil for established plants.

2. Natural Insecticide

It's a fact of life that your plants will attract bugs. You can minimize this problem by growing plants native to your region. These plants are typically more resistant to pests. Companion planting is another solution for fighting off bugs. However, even with these simple techniques, you're still likely to have problems with pests at some point in your gardening experience.

Gardeners all over the world have found that natural citrus-based insecticides will kill off most of the pests you are likely to see in your garden. SharpShooter Organic Insecticide is a tried and true spray designed to kill common garden pests, including cut worms, caterpillars, snails, slugs, aphids, bean beetles, cabbage loopers, earwigs, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, leafhoppers, mealybugs, mites, rose chafers, scales, and adult whiteflies.

It is even safe enough to use indoors if you happen to have houseplants that you'd like to treat.

3. Hot Pepper Wax

Another way to keep insects and even animals out of your garden is with this Hot Pepper Wax spray. Animals and insects are instantly repelled by the strong cayenne pepper oils. The spray lightly adheres to the plants with a natural food grade wax, and therefore won’t run off when you water your plants or after a heavy rain.

This is the perfect product if you have a lot of edible crops to protect. It works to repel most insects and animals such as squirrels, gophers, chipmunks, and hedgehogs.

If it sounds like you’re going to be turning your vegetable patch into a salsa factory, not to worry! You can harvest your vegetables and eat them on the same day you spray your plants, without any spicy residue. They just need a good washing and they’re ready to eat!

4. Bat Guano

The Bracken Bat Cave in Texas is famous for being the cave with the highest population of bats on the planet (roughly 20,000,000 of these fanged, flying mammals). This means it’s a great place to harvest high quality bat guano, which is an ideal natural fertilizer. Why bat guano? It has a high humus content and works great as a soil builder and fertilizer. It's also 100 percent natural.

Farmers and gardeners have used bat guano for hundreds of years. It wasn't until recently that inorganic fertilizers have become popular enough for people to forget that there is a natural option that works just as well!

Additionally, the folks who make this product, make sure not to harm any bats during the harvest. They follow the high standards of Bat Conservation International, so you can feel good about buying this natural garden and bat-friendly fertilizer.

5. Organic Natural Fire Ant Killer

The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), is a major problem for many gardeners. They make big nests that can uproot turf and affect your mowing. Once they get established, fire ants can get into your compost pile, kitchen, vegetable garden, and even your electrical equipment. Moreover, if you've ever felt the sting of a fire ant, you know how painful it can be!

A natural fire ant killer with Conserve is just the thing to put an end to these pesky critters. This product comes in a shaker, and contains enough fire ant killer to treat 22 mounds (around 10,000 square feet). You just need to apply it to each mound and wait. You can also sprinkle it in your flower beds and around the outside of your home to keep the ants from coming inside. This fire ant killer is a synergistic blend of natural plant oils.

You can use the fire ant killer as part of the Texas A&M developed Texas Two Step fire ant control method. This product is step one of the process. Step two involves using a citrus-based liquid insecticide that will help keep the ants from coming back.

6. Grampa's Weeder

Weeding is one of the most important chores in gardening, but one of the least enjoyable, at least for me. Who wants to spend hours ripping up weeds, especially when they keep coming back! Grampa's Weeder is an extremely effective, easy to use and care free weeder that is based on a 1913 design.

You can figure it works if it has been around that long! It has a simple lever action and is made of durable metal. You can use it while standing up, which will save your back from the aches and pains of stooping over a garden plot. This will be a one-time purchase as this weeder will last a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grampa or a grand kid, this is one weeder you need!

7. Natural Organic Weed Killer

When you’ve got a serious weed problem or time constraints, you many not have the energy to manually weed your garden. However, instead of grabbing a bottle of harsh chemicals to kill off those weeds, try out a natural weed killer.

BurnOut is a citrus and vinegar-based liquid that will cause the weeds to wilt and die within minutes. If you have grass that’s growing into your garden beds or onto your patio, it will work to kill it off for easy removal. While perennial weeds may need a couple treatments, most annuals will be gone after the first application.

8. Organic Liquid Lawn Fertilizer

For a nice, lush yard without chemicals, try out HastaGro 12-4-8 Organic Liquid Lawn Fertilizer. This product is a precise blend of lawn food supplements, a natural soil activator, and Humate Liquid Humus. This means that you will stimulate the beneficial soil organisms that live under your grass.

You can use it to quickly green up your lawn, from spring to fall. It works a lot like other lawn fertilizers. Simply mix it, attach it to your hose, and spray. One container treats about 4,000 feet of turf grass.

9. Tumbleweed Australian Composter

Organic gardeners know that most problems in the garden go away when your plants are growing under the healthiest conditions possible. Having good quality soil with lots of organic compost mixed in is the first step to ensuring healthy, happy plants. Moreover, composting is a great way to recycle you organic home and garden waste.

To make high quality compost in your own home, you’ll need to follow a few tips. First, set up an area where you’re going to compost. Next, make sure you know what materials are safe to compost. Next, you’ll want to think about how you want to compost.

A tumbling compost bin is probably one of the quickest, cleanest, and most efficient ways to compost. The Tumbleweed Australian Composter is a unique patented design that will create large quantities of high quality compost in no time at all. If you spin it daily, you’ll get ready-to-use compost in less than 3 weeks.

And don't forget a Composting Book to go with it.

This simple, best-selling guide to composting will help you compost up to 30 percent of your family’s home and garden waste. This is the definitive guide to composting, written by folks who have dedicated their lives to organic gardening and compost education.

10. Rainsaver Rain Barrel

Water is a precious and expensive resource these days. By simply investing in a rain barrel and using stored rainwater to water your garden instead of water from the tap, you can save money and grow happier plants.

The water coming from your tap has been treated as drinking water for human consumption, which your plants don’t necessarily need. In fact, most garden plants typically prefer naturally “soft” rainwater, which is also free of chemicals, minerals, chlorine, and fluoride. After all, rainwater is what plants have been thriving on for millions of years!

An 80 gallon Rainsaver rain barrel will allow you to store more than enough water for your garden. You can use the excess water to water your house plants, or even wash your car.

11. Horticultural Corn Meal

Horticultural cornmeal is an organic way of controlling harmful soil fungi and problems with plant roots. If you’ve got vegetable crops, you may be familiar with these soil related fungal problems.

When you apply horticultural corn meal to the soil, it actually strengthens beneficial fungi such as Trichoderma, which will fight off the harmful fungi that can attack your plants. It also helps build up the quality of the soil, which will benefit all the plants in your garden.

Apply it directly to grass, soil, and all your flowerbeds. You don’t have to worry about over applying this product, as it will in no way harm your plants. Also, if you have a pond, you can use it to remove algae. However, read the instructions carefully on the package when you use it in your pond, as applying too much can cause oxygen depletion problems.

12. Electronic Soil Tester

If your plants are struggling and you don’t see any signs of pests or diseases, chances are you have a problem with your soil. The best way to treat the problem is to identify what’s wrong and correct your soil accordingly. For example, your plants may not be healthy if you have improper soil pH or poor drainage.

An electronic soil tester is a great little gadget that will easily diagnose the problem and let you know when you’ve got your soil just right. Multipurpose soil testers are easy to use and usually include readings like soil pH, soil moisture, total combined nitrogen and phosphorus levels, and potash levels. They’ll also tell you the intensity of the light hitting your plants so you’ll know if it’s too shady or too intense.

Once you have the proper pH, nutrient levels, drainage, and light levels, your plants will be able to efficiently make use of water and the nutrients in the soil. This will make them less susceptible to diseases and pests, and will save you time and energy taking care of them.

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