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Garden Green

How to grow plants without the use of toxic chemicals

New Video on Removing Invasive Weeds Without Chemicals

Winter is the best time to remove invasive weeds from your property - while the ground is soft.

How can you get rid of Himalayan blackberries and English ivy without using toxic chemicals that can get into our salmon streams and Puget Sound? This video covers tools and techniques to make these jobs easier, when restoring a landscape taken over by invasive weeds. Along the way, it covers weed and native plant identification, the importance of replacing the weeds with other (ideally native) plants, and why English Ivy is one of the worst invasive plants in Western Washington. This project is funded by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, in partnership with the Vashon Nature Center.

Free Green Gardening and Stormwater Consultations!

Do you live in Vashon Island’s Community Sewer District—near downtown Vashon or at Bunker Trail? Then you are eligible for a free Zoom conference with Garden Green to brainstorm ways you can slow run-off, and green your gardening practices for enhanced wildlife and pollinator habitat and cleaner water. This free educational opportunity is funded by the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, through Garden Green and the Vashon Nature Center. The project, Vashon Community Waters, runs through 2021. 

Sign up for a Free Waterworks Green Gardening and Stormwater Consultation – through Zoom or in person with masks and social distancing

In this program we will spend 1 -2 hours going through your landscape with you giving you green gardening ideas and ways to control stormwater on-site. This will help you to ensure that your landscape practices are healthy and safe for your family, your pets, wildlife, and Puget Sound.

Here is what our first family had to say about the consultation:

“We wanted to reply to you sooner to thank you for the comprehensive report with tons of thoughtful, practical and insightful information in each attachment you sent. Please stay well and thank you and Diane for inspiring us to move forward with more knowledge and confidence.”

Contact Michael Laurie 206-406-7153, [email protected], if you have questions, or would like to sign up.

About Garden Green

Welcome to Garden Green! A place to come learn about common garden pesticides, and safer alternatives to their use. Our work focuses on the Pacific Northwest, but many of the resources you will find here are useful globally.

Thanks for visiting. Take a look around, and stop back regularly, as we will continue to add resources, reports, and more reference information.  

Also, please visit our Garden Green Facebook page

Support for Garden Green is partially provided by the Puget Sound Stewardship and Mitigation Fund, a grantmaking fund created by the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance and administered by the Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment.

Support is also provided by King County, through the Vashon-Maury Island Groundwater Protection Committee.

Vashon Pesticide Forum!

The Vashon Pesticide Forum was a Great Success! The presentations and the follow up discussion was videotaped by Voice of Vashon. You can see the entire forum here:


Michael Laurie- at beginning of video

Diane Emerson- Garden Green- begins at 9:20:22

Lianne Sheppard- begins at 32:37:05

Shannon Brittan- Seattle Univ. Grounds Dept.- begins at 42:25:28

Rob Peterson- Plum Forest Farm- begins at 57:01:28

John Yates- Vashon Ace hardware- begins at 1:14:09:01

Tanner Yelken- Island Lumber- begins at 1:20:21:08

Question and Answer begins at 1:22:45:09

Background on the Event:

Vashon Pesticide Forum: Safe, Effective Alternatives to these Toxic Three: Roundup, Weed & Feed, & Preen

We love our island nestled in Puget Sound. We are grateful to be living here, in this amazing and unique place: filled with wildlife and natural beauty, so close to a major metropolitan area. The safety of our island's wildlife, our sole-source aquifer, our streams, and our own family's health are important to us.

Many of us want to protect the safety and health of all island residents (including the wildlife), by not using toxic pesticides. Children are especially vulnerable to them. So we were delighted when Island Lumber pulled all their Roundup (glyphosate) products off the shelf permanently in September, 2018, and we would like to see it gone from all island shelves.

Costco, the 2nd largest retailer in the world, has recently decided not to purchase any Roundup or products containing glyphosate in 2019. The City of Seattle is going to ditch it, too. It is time for our community to also focus on safe alternatives to this and other harmful herbicides.

Let's get together and talk about this issue that affects us all. We will focus on the safe and effective alternatives to RoundUp, Weed & Feed, and Preen, as these three herbicides are the biggest sellers on the island, and people want to know what else they can use.


  • Diane Emerson, owner, Emerson Gardening Services, Manager, Garden Green, with 17 years experience in the specialty chemical industry. Diane will provide an overview of the 3 herbicides being covered in the forum, and safe, effective alternatives to them.

  • Shannon Britton, Grounds and Landscape Manager, Seattle University - where they have managed the entire 50 acre campus without toxic pesticides for over 20 years: Shannon will share how they manage their 50 acres of lawns, buildings, rain gardens, shrub and tree plantings, even their soccer and ballfields, without toxic pesticides. She will also cover the challenges they face with noxious weeds, and how they deal with them.

  • Rob Peterson of Plum Forest Farm: He and his wife Joanne Jewell have been working in the fields of sustainable agriculture, organic gardening and pesticide reduction for over 20 years. Their Vashon farm is certified USDA Organic. Rob will share how they deal with weeds, and why they farm organically. 

  • John Yates—Co-owner, Vashon Ace Hardware. John will cover why they still carry RoundUp and the other herbicides featured in the forum, the alternatives they also carry, and other steps Ace is taking to help the community move toward safer alternatives.

  • Tanner Yelken, Garden Center Manager, Island Home Center and Lumber Island Home Center removed all their Roundup glyphosate products in September 2018. Tanner will discuss why they made that decision, their substitute product - horticultural vinegar, and the reactions of their customers to the move.

Bring Your Questions

There will be plenty of time for questions after the speakers present, so please come with your questions. We will focus our discussion on herbicides. If we do run out of time to address your particular question, we will research the answer to your question after the event, and get back to you.


We will have many handouts for you: information on alternatives to pesticides, how to talk to your neighbors about their use of pesticides, the dangers of these 3 herbicides in particular, and a copy of the new Green Gardening Calendar

Organizers: Diane Emerson, Michael Laurie, Art Chippendale, and Tania Kinnear. Please contact Diane if you have questions, or would like to help: [email protected]

Endorsements: Vashon Nature Center, Sustainable Vashon

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