David Suzuki Digs My Garden

Community Gardens
Image by thegreenpages via Flickr

Does your garden have what it takes to be crowned Canada’s top pesticide-free garden? One week remains for Canadians to prove it in the 2009 David Suzuki Digs My Garden contest.

“This contest showcases Canada’s most bountiful and beautiful gardens and demonstrates just how easy it is to grow vegetables, fruit, flowers and shrubs without harmful chemicals,” says David Suzuki.

With The Digs My Garden competition now entering its final week, individuals and groups have only a few days to send-in photos and stories of their luscious lawns and gorgeous gardens. The goal of the campaign is to encourage gardeners to tell us how and why they maintain their gardens 100% pesticide-free. Novice and non-gardeners can also sign-up to receive tips on how to grow luscious lawns and gardens ‘drug-free’.

“Gardening with chemicals is largely unnecessary. Pesticide-free gardens are not only easy to maintain, but also safe for the environment, our health and our children’s health,” says Dr. Suzuki.

After submissions close on Aug. 4, Canadians can log-on and vote for their favourite garden. Last year more than 5,000 Canadians helped choose the winners. Top finishers that year included Toronto’s High Park Children’s Garden, Bobbie Palaniuk’s ornamental garden in Bentley, Alta, and Vancouver’s YWCA Rooftop Food Garden – where volunteers grew high-quality, organic produce to supplement the diets of some of the residents in Vancouver’s downtown eastside.

This year’s winners will walk away with the title of Canada’s Best Pesticide-Free Lawn & Garden, and prizes include a Robert Batemen signed print, a David Suzuki garden gnome, books and more.

Exposure to pesticides can lead to serious illness such as cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive problems. One popular lawn herbicide called “2,4-D”, can easily be found in products in many Canadian retail stores. Pesticides can also accumulate in the natural food chain, destroy bacteria and nutrients that improve soil and nourish plants, and kill off important insects such as ladybugs and honeybees.

Gardening is one of the most popular pastimes in Canada:

  • Nearly 75 per cent of Canadian households have a lawn or garden (2006).
  • On an average day, more than 10 per cent of Canadians aged 30 and over spend time working on their lawn or garden, with the average participant spending more than two hours doing yard work.
  • In spite of increased efforts to build awareness of the potential health threats of pesticides nearly 30 per cent of households in Canada still use pesticides on their lawns and gardens.

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