The Thurston County Common Sense Gardening program is looking for residents
who would like to pledge to pesticide-free landscapes, yards, and gardens and place a sign in their yard stating you have a “Pesticide-Free Yard for Healthy Communities.”
The sign is free. All we ask is you sign a pledge that you practice Common Sense Gardening. If you would like to pledge to be pesticide-free, or if
you would like more information on Common Sense Gardening, please contact Jennifer Johnson at 360-867-2577 (TDD line 360-867-2603) or by
You, too, can have a "Pesticide Free Yard" sign in your yard!
East Bay Drive
In 2002-2003, Thurston County worked with 13 households along East Bay Drive
in Olympia to become a "Pesticide-Free Model Neighborhood." This committed each household to
Common Sense Gardening practices for one full year, creating a neighborhood that was pesticide-free as a model for other neighborhoods to follow.
We are happy to report that the Pesticide-Free Model Neighborhood Project has been a great success! Over 100 pounds of weed and bug killers — which can be
dangerous for children, pets, and the environment — were collected from 11 homes and safely disposed of at
HazoHouse (the free household hazardous waste disposal facility at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center).
Products cleared out included 2,4-D (in many weed and feed products), dicamba, glyphosphate (RoundUp), diazinon, and malathion. Least-toxic products were
provided to the neighborhood to replace the products they disposed. These products included mulching lawn mowers, compost, corn gluten meal, mulch, slow-release fertilizers, native plants, bug traps, and copper tape for slugs.
Neighbors learned about Common Sense Gardening through workshops and written materials. All participating households say that they will continue using natural and least-toxic methods to tend their gardens, lawns, and landscapes.
To read more about the project, see
A Pesticide-free Landscape in the Neighborhood
[PDF] (The Olympian, October 2003).
Langridge Loop NW
The City of Olympia sponsored a Pesticide-Free Neighborhood on Langridge Loop NW, on the west side of Olympia in 2004-2005. Langridge Loop is part of the
Allison Springs Wellhead Protection Area. By removing pesticides from their
homes, these neighbors are helping to protect groundwater, which most of us in Thurston County use as our source of drinking water.
The eleven households that made up this Pesticide-Free Model Neighborhood participated in a household hazardous materials collection. They safely disposed
of 300 pounds of weed and feed, slug bait, malathion, and quick-release fertilizers, which were brought to HazoHouse.
Neighbors learned about Common Sense Gardening through workshops and written materials. A year after the project was completed, all the households
indicated that they will continue practicing less-toxic gardening. Practices that they have incorporated include using mulch to keep down weeds, fertilizing with
slow-release fertilizers, incorporating organic matter (such as compost) into the soil to improve soil health,
using weed tools and bug traps to deal with pests, and many more Common Sense Gardening practices (see 5 Steps to Natural Yard Care).
We appreciate all of the households in Thurston County that are gardening with the health of our water and grandchildren in mind by choosing
slow-release fertilizers without added weed control and selecting plants that are well adapted to our area and
don't require a lot of extra water or pest controls to survive. If you'd like to pledge to garden without the
use of toxic pesticides, contact Jennifer Johnson at 360-867-2577 (TDD line 360-867-2603) or by