organic lawn and plant care

I have earwigs, ants, spiders everywhere...I was trying to live with them, I have holes in all my flowers, shrubs, they have ruined my clematis, never seen it bloom in 3 years since I planted it because they eat it. Now they are eating my August Apples, I have to do something.
I have a 2 year old and would like organic recipes or product suggestions. I was thinking I should put something on the lawn in the spring?
And something around the parameter of the house throughout the summer?
I Googled and came up with dish soap which may or may not kill some plants?
Another said to spread powdered soap on your lawn mixed with diatomaceous earth, I have looked and cant find large quantities just the squirt bottles.
Any recipes that you have tried ?
--
CathyLee
They neigh I pay
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dirtdoctor.com has lots of articles and recipes. That's Howard Garrett's website. I have one of his books and I like his approaches and recipes.
John

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First, ants and spiders don't "eat" plants - actually, spiders are some of the most beneficial creatures in the garden and I wouldn't encourage their wholesale removal (although it can be very tiresome to walk through their webs constantly, specially at this time of year). Ants can be baited with sugar laced with boric acid if they become a problem, although other than farming aphids, they too are harmless to plants.
Earwigs can feed on flower buds, but they are more likely to chomp on decaying organic matter. You can trap them using a rolled up, moistened newspaper. Just place it in the garden in the evening where you think they congregate and collect in the morning and toss in the trash. They will have taken up residence overnight.
What is actually feeding on your plants is none of the above. It is difficult (and even irresponsible) to suggest controls when one doesn't even know the source of the problem. Most insect pests are nocturnal. Take a tour of your garden at dusk and inspect the plants most affected. Be sure to look under the leaves. Once you have located the real culprits, report back here and we can provide some targeted advice.
btw, lawn insect pests are not the same as those that bother other plants. Just treating your lawn will not deter other nasties.
pam - gardengal

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I respectfully disagree about the earwigs, Pam. They do quite a number on my flowers, plants and all, whern there are lots of them - they especially love torenia and mimulus :o( I've seen them in action! Thankfully they aren't numerous this year, it's been too dry. Then again, maybe I'd prefer some earwigs and rain!
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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expounded:

Do earwigs tend to arrive in waves? If yes, will they be dissuaded to any significant degree by being dislodged with spray from a watering wand or whatever?
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Dampness. I think the water would only encourage them. The best thing for me to do is to make sure the mulch is fine, and there's no debris laying around for them to hide under (in the moisture).
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Ann, I didn't mean to imply that earwigs are harmless - Lord knows thay have done some serious damage on dahlias and roses in my garden from time to time - but they are unlikely to have wreaked the devastation the OP describes unless present in remarkable numbers. I believe the damage is being caused by some as yet unidentified nasties. The earwigs are pretty darn easy to trap using the method described, tho.
pam
expounded:

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Pam. Love your suggestions!
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I understand, but in the past we've had people insisting that earwigs don't cause much harm in a garden, and they certainly can (as you know) if you've got a huge number of them. I agree with what you suspect about 'unidentified nasties' WRT this particular thread.
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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Two people have given you good answers so far. Another step would be to contact your state cooperative extension service. Google with your state name and the words "cooperative extension". Or, if you know of a REAL garden center, call them and ask who to contact. Some CE services are staffed with retired "master gardeners" who've seen everything over the years. You may be amazed at the kind of help they can provide, even with just descriptions of problems over the phone.
Chemicals are absolutely a LAST resort, and a lousy option no matter what.
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