We start our own plants from GMO-free seeds, in locally produced mushroom compost. No pesticides, no herbicides, no preservatives, ever.
These are a few ways we control pests & encourage pollinators:
Mantis egg cases are commonly released by gardeners looking for general garden pest control without chemicals. They can be instrumental in beginning biological control as part of an integrated pest management program. Young mantids prey upon smaller soft-bodied insects, while adults graduate to larger pests.
Marigolds: The marigold is one of the most well-known insect-repelling plants and with good reason — they have a scent that will keep pests like mosquitoes, nematodes like cabbage worms, and other pests away. Plant marigolds to attract beneficial insects that attack and kill aphids.
Zinnias in High Tunnel #1, middle of October, still drawing the pollinators.
Violets for the very early pollinators in late March.