Q: Last fall I raked mulch off the garden and let it sit in a pile. After planting this year I re-spread it over the garden. Apparently over the winter a bunch of spiders nested in the mulch. I try not to use many chemicals but what can I use to kill all these spiders?
A: I hope I can persuade you to get over the creepy factor with the spiders and let them live. In fact, I mulch my vegetables with wheat straw specifically because this material attracts spiders.
The reason I like spiders is because they are excellent organic controls for garden pests like aphids, ants, and caterpillars. I note that you don’t like to use chemicals in your garden, so why not allow Nature to do some of the pest control work for you?
I admit that it’s unnerving to see a spider near your hand while working in a garden. But the good news is that none of the spiders you are likely to see are poisonous. Black widows might be found in rock piles or in your water meter box but they won’t be seen wandering amongst the tomatoes.
My bet is that if you can steel yourself to go in the garden a couple of times you’ll lose your fear and will ignore the spiders as much as they ignore you.