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Organic gardening products and services

The borough of Beaconsfield has banned free use of pesticides for aesthetic reasons.  Still, for homeowners who want to enrich the soil of their gardens or who need to battle common garden pests, there are ecologically-friendly products and services which can help.

We list here several organic fertilizers and products available in the Montréal area, as well as a few companies which provide non-toxic gardening and lawncare services.  Please note that:

  • These are not complete lists by any means, and are not meant to promote these products or companies as opposed to other organic products which we may not know about.
  • It is important to be clear when dealing with ANY lawn care company that you want only  truly organic fertilizers (not just "organic-based" which means other chemicals are also added).  Say no to any ANY chemical pesticides, broad-leaf weed herbicides, and insecticides.
  • BEC does not assume any responsibility for the quality of products or services listed or described in the listed companies

Organic fertilizers

100% natural fertilizers are available in most nurseries. Here are a few brands.

BRAND INGREDIENTS

Acti-Sol

Pure dehydrated granular chicken manure. Also available 100% natural ingredient mixtures:  bone meal, feather meal, sulphur-potassium-magnesium.

Canagro

100% natural mixtures containing bone meal, feather meal, sulphur-potassium-magnesium.

Distrival

Seaweed, crab and shrimp flour, bat manure, clay, powdered coal.

Nutrite

Chicken manure, shrimp and fish flour, bio-solids.  100% natural mixtures of bone meal, dried blood, natural minerals.

Granu-mix

Bio-solids

Harmony Products

Chicken manure, bio-solids, algae, dolomitic lime.

Terratonic

Shrimp and crab flour, seaweed, ...,basalt, mica, gypsum, lime, also 100% natural mixtures of feather meal, rock phosphate, sulphur-potassium-magnesium.

*The above list was  provided by Nature-Action Québec.

Low impact pesticides

A number of low impact or natural pesticides are available under various brand names.  Here are three commonly used products considered safe for human health which are available in most West Island nurseries:

  • Safer's soap: Insecticide and non-selective herbicide soap formulated with fatty acids. It is used to control a variety of insects including aphids, spider mites, soft brown scale, psyllids, and earwigs. 
  • Insectigone: Silicon dioxide, also called diatomaceous earth, is a powder composed of  tiny abrasive crystals, obtained by grinding up the fossilized remains of diatoms, microscopic algae. Effective against ants.
  • Nematodes: Naturally-occurring parasitic micro-organisms which devour white grub larvae. Once the pesky larva have all been consumed, the nematodes run out of food and die out.

A listing of numerous natural alternatives to toxic pesticides has been developed by the government of Quebec (2007).   

Note that just because a pesticide product is considered low impact for humans, it does not mean that other (non-targeted) species of animals do not suffer its effects.  This comprehensive chart, "Relative toxicity of the main active ingredients contained in pesticides for domestic use used for green spaces"(2009) breaks down the potentially undesirable effect of products on mammals, birds, fish and insects.

Where to buy natural fertilizers and pesticides

Many nurseries around Montréal carry at least some organic pesticide products.  If you don't see them, ask, demand will bring the supply eventually.

  • Jean Brunet:  organic product distributor in Montréal's West Island. Phone: 453-7937 Email: orgnatur@pubnix.net  Sells Organo-Veg in granular and liquid, yuca, fulvic and humic acid, mycorhiza, compost teas, beneficial insectes, seaweed basalt, rock phosphate, mica.
  • West Island Nursery, 4780 St. Charles Boulevard, Pierrefonds, (514) 620-2615
  • Pointe Claire Nursery and Landscaping, 261 St Jean, Pointe-Claire, QC H9R 3J1(514) 695-5110

There are more and more on-line stores offering natural pest control products. 

Where to get tools

Having the "right tool" can save a gardener from a considerable amount of unnecessary labour, saving not only our backs but also from the temptation of taking toxic shortcuts when gardening. 

Lee Valley Tools:  Excellent quality tools.  Even if you don't buy from here, look for inspiration in the gardening section of their online catalogue, under "fertilizing", "pest control", and "weeding".  Consider the fun factor of using a propane gas torch for burning weeds, a hydrolic dandelion-pulling tool, and other such gadgets.  

Who to hire

COMPANY/ INSTITUTION SERVICES CONTACT INFO

Eco BUG DOCTOR Inc.

provides pest control strategies and technologies that optimizes health for humans and the environment. Deals with spiders, ants, you name it.

e-mail:  info@ecoBUGdoctor.com phone: (514) 422-8457 address: 2040 Parkfield, Dorval, Québec, Canada,  H9P 1T9

BIOPLAN  

Wildlife habitat designer (concepteur d'habitats fauniques). Designing, planning and consulting to attract birds. (Conception, planification et consultation dans le but d'attirer les oiseaux.) 

Phone: (514) 767-4335 address: 1713 Leclair, Verdun, Québec, Canada, H4H 2M9

Option-Eco-Option

provides organic fertilizing, weed and pest programs

email: eco.option@videotron.ca phone: (514) 693-9550 or (514) 693-9555. Fax (514) 694-3245 address: 65  Donegani, Pointe Claire, Québec, Canada,  H9R 2V9. 

MacDonald campus of McGill University 

has a vast selection of materials on pesticides at the library in the Barton Building and at the Ecological Agricultural Projects (EAP) resource centre. Photocopiers are available. They also provide some very useful & free consultation services on pest control. Phone for opening hours.

Barton Building (514-398-7877) Ecological Agricultural Projects (EAP) resource centre (514-398-7771). 

address: 21,111 Lakeshore Road,
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue,  Québec, Canada, H9X 3V9.  directions

 

 

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 Organic foods

When you buy organic food, you are not only giving your body a break from harmful chemicals, but also supporting farms which do not harm the environment with their chemical effluents. Health food stores like Heath Tree and Jessy Naturel in the West Island of Montréal offer a wide variety of products and some produce.  Following increase in demand, supermarkets like Loblaws, Maxi, Mourelatos, and Metro are starting to provide organic products and some produce as well.  

Here are a couple of local addresses which may provide you with some lower cost organic ingredients and produce. If you have any comments or suggestions on adding to this list, please e-mail us!

La Ferme du Fort Senneville is an organic farm in the West Island of Montreal which offers weekly organic vegetable baskets. The farms' stand is open on 145 Senneville road during the summer. They also have a stand at the St Anne de Bellevue boardwalk market on Saturday mornings (June-September). The farm's address is: 118 Senneville, Senneville, Quebec. Ph: 514-457-3606. Email: info@lafermedufortsenneville.ca

Wind Mill Point Farm is an organic farm located on Île Perrot near Quinn Farm and although it does not operate a distribution system, it is open to the general public every Saturday from 10:00 to 6:00.  Their produce includes fruits and vegetables as well as turkeys and chickens and more eccentric products such as hemp ice cream.  Ph: (514) 453-9189.

Que de Bonnes Choses is an organic food distributor in Hudson, Quebec. Produce, milk and grain products, everything you can dream of.  Their price list and ordering  is available through e-mail. Orders need to be picked up in Hudson, perhaps you could take turns with a few neighbours. Address: 33A Wharf, Hudson. Ph: (450) 458-4528. Email: qdbc@attcanada.ca.

Winter baskets nearby

Les Jardins de la Montagne Ph: (450) 469-5358  E-mail: brunet@total.net

Les Jardins de Tessa Ph: (450) 298-1227  E-mail: tessasgarden@sympatico.ca

Searching for organic farms near you?

Contact Equiterre, and give them your name, address and telephone number and they will send you a list of farms that distribute in and around your area.  The list of farms will be mailed to you in the spring (but you need to sign up earlier to have your place held) and provides specific information on each farm such as produce and pricing: Phone: (514) 522-2000.   Web-site: www.equiterre.qc.ca.

 

 

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  Organic cleaning ideas

There are a number of handy books and pamphlets available in libraries and on the internet. Here are just some common ideas:

  • Use baking soda for scrubbing your sinks, tubs and counters.

  • Use natural products (i.e. vinegar, baking soda) to make your own cleaners.

  • Use lemon juice and salt to clean copper pots.

  • use scrunched up newspapers to clean windows instead of paper towels.  They leave no fiber residue and can even be recycled afterward

  • Silver polish recipe:

  • aluminum foil

  • 4 cups water

  • 1tbsp baking soda

  • 1 tbsp salt

Roll foil into a loose ball. Place in an enamel or stainless steel saucepan.  Pour in water.  Add the baking soda and salt and bring to a boil.  Add silverware and, like magic, the tarnish will disappear from silverware and coat the foil.  Polish silver with a dry cloth.  Do not use on a patina design as accents may be removed.

  • For icy driveway use calcium chloride instead of salt to melt ice on our driveways is kinder to our lawns and gardens.  It also melts at lower temperatures.  However, more thoughtful handling is required.  Products such as Ice Blast carry explicit directions, which should be followed.  In general, care should be taken to avoid tracking the melting slush into the house - which we would normally do when using salt.  Twenty minutes after application, the slush should be scraped off walkways to lessen the possibility of pitting concrete. 

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 recycle symbolRe-use, re-cycle, and disposal ideas

When shopping

When it comes to acting responsibly towards our environment, the first steps begin at home.  Be a green shopper!

  • Take your own cotton bags for groceries (reduce plastic waste)  OR re-use your old plastic bags on your next shopping trip (keep them in your car under a seat).  In most grocery stores in Montreal, bringing your own bags saves you 3-5¢ per re-used bag!!  Say no to plastic bags for small purchases - use your purse/knapsack, etc.  At least 66 million plastic bags are taken from the grocery store every week - they eventually end up in landfills.
  • Buy in bulk where possible (reduces packaging waste). 
  • Buy large sizes of juice, drinks, yoghurt... then divide them into smaller refillable containers.
  • Don't buy packaging that cannot be recycled in your community (e.g. Styrofoam backing on meat and vegetables is not currently re-cyclable in Beaconsfield/Baie d'Urfé).
  • Don't buy food with lots of extra packaging (i.e. microwave dinners that come in individual servings, throwaway trays).  Tell the store managers and the product makers why you don't buy their product.
  • Buy unbleached, recycled paper whenever possible.  Dioxins used in bleaching paper can trigger a wide range of health problems, including suppression of the immune system and birth defects.
  • Buy quality products that last longer. Buy the "real thing" and not a disposable (i.e. razors, diapers, etc.)
  • Use cloth diapers for your babies: it will save you money and there are good health and environmental arguments well.

At home

  • Pass on newspapers and magazines to friends or neighbours, or better still, use your library
  • wash and re-use plastic containers or bags for snacks and lunches instead of buying new.
  • Donate small plastic containers, left-over material, to school arts and crafts classes
  • Donate your old furniture or sports equipment to charities - they will generally pick up.
  • Phone Salvation Army or other charities to pass on your old clothing which is still usable.
  • Bring your old rags to the "Household waste and old clothing collections" (see section below)

Household hazardous waste

Paints, solvents, scouring solutions, lacquers, varnishes, medicines, pesticides, oil, automobile batteries ... these are all products which contaminate the environment.  Do not toss them in the garbage can or empty them in the sink - more than 90% of the hazardous products collected can be recycled (as is the case for paints and batteries) or re-used (for example, motor oils which are re-used in industrial fuel-blending).  Isn't all this worth a little effort?   The West Island offers hazardous waste and old clothing collections in various depots including: Beaconsfield Shopping Centre, Pointe Claire Fire Station, Baie D'Urfe Municipal Garage and the Ballantyne Park in Dorval. The collection dates for each season are posted in borough offices and listed in local borough newsletters. The dates and collection addresses are also listed online.

Otherwise here are other places to dispose:

  • used oil: most Canadian Tire stores
  • oil and latex paints, stains: some Rona-Dismat retailers, including Boyer Hardware in Dorval.
  • expired drugs: Some drugstores, including Jean Coutu and Pharmaprix.
  • used tires:  Retailers or garages where you replace your tires.
  • electrical appliances, metal articles (cast iron, iron, copper, etc.): Metal recycler; contact Public Works at (514) 428-4500.

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Water Conservation

Indoors

  • Examine all water pipes and faucets for leakage; hundreds of litres of precious water can seep out in just one day
  • check the toilets for leaks.  As much as a litre of water can go to waste with each flush if water is leaking from the tank into the bowl.  Place a few drops of food colouring in the tank.  Wait for 15 minutes.  If the colour appears in the bowl, there is a leak.  Make the necessary repairs right away.
  • Install low-flow toilets and water-saving shower heads.  Another option is to fill a plastic one-litre bottle with water and place it in the toilet tank.  This reduces the amount of water used with each flush.  To keep the bottle in the bottom of the tank, fill it partially with sand or pebbles or fill it with water.
  • Turn the water off when you are shaving or brushing your teeth and take shorter showers.
  • Fill the dishwasher to its maximum capacity before using it.
  • Do not use your toilet or sink as a garbage can or to dispose of dangerous chemicals.

Outdoors

  • The city of Beaconsfield imposes the following outside watering restrictions.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks and driveways.  Cleaning these surfaces with water is costly and wasteful.
  • Place sprinklers so that they water the lawn, not the house, the driveway or the street.
  • Water the lawn early in the morning, once the dew has evaporated, or at dusk to avoid evaporation.
  • Cover the base of trees and plants with straw to retain humidity (or use wood chips available free of charge at Beaconsfield Public Works, 300 Beaurepaire Drive).
  • Landscape with plants that need less water and make a rock garden to reduce grass surface.
  • Know how to program automatic sprinklers so that they stop working when rain is forecast.
  • Consider installing a soaker hose around the base and roots of your plants.

Source: Réseau environnement

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