Safe gardens for children

Edwina von Gal, Founder of the Perfect Earth Project shares her wisdom and key tips on creating chemical-free gardens.


There are so many things to worry about when raising a child, and, whilst I am loathe to add to that burdensome list, the topic of safe gardens for children, is sufficiently important to tell you about.

Each year, over 255 million pounds of highly toxic, synthetic chemicals are applied to American gardens and landscapes.  They are absorbed through the skin and have been linked to a whole range of health problems including asthma, autism, cancers, endocrine disruption and nervous system disorders.  Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable.  Embryos and children absorb chemicals more easily and can’t process them as well as adults.

Using toxic chemicals in your garden is totally unnecessary. You can have both a beautiful lawn and garden without them.  It is widely believed that chemicals are essential for healthy landscapes and playing fields but this just isn’t so.  If your local garden center or landscaper tells you that toxin-free products cost more or don’t work, they are misinformed.  Sadly, the landscape industry has been chemical-dependent for so long that they have become “addicted” and so have their landscapes.

Toxin-free landscapes are not only better for us and our children but also for the eco-system – toxic landscape chemicals kill butterflies and honey bees and pollute our drinking water.

So how do you go chemical-free?  It is mostly in the soil. Healthy soil makes healthy plants.  Just as we are now finding out about the benefits of probiotics for our bodies, we now understand that plants also benefit from them too through their roots, supporting their nutrient uptake and their immune systems.  Making healthy soil isn’t difficult – just stop killing it.  Chemicals, like drugs, kill helpful organisms.   Replace chemicals with a healthy diet and you are almost there.

Here are the basics for a perfect lawn and garden:

  1. Mow high 3.5-4” to shade out weeds.
  2. Mow sharp, and leave clippings as free fertilizer
  3. Water seldomly and deep to encourage deeper stronger roots
  4. Aerate, rake and feed using a compost tea and seed, using resilient varieties, in the fall
  5. Embrace clover – it’s a great filler and provides nitrogen

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