We wanted to make our garden organic. When we read about the concept of planting flowers and herbs to help deter pests from your vegetable garden, we thought why not give it a try.
Since we love to cook we already had a lot of herbs planted. Turns out that herbs are very useful for trapping and repelling pests. They also are good for attracting pollinators and other beneficial insects. Planting them aides in increasing the biodiversity in your back yard.
This is what we have planted because we like to use these in our meal preparation. It turns out that many of these also help with aphids and even tomato hornworms. We found that the mint especially deters rabbits that love to hop through the yard on occasion. Maybe that’s why they don’t stop here!
- Winter Savory
When we designed the yard, one of the raised beds was designated to be used for the cut flower garden. It would not only look pretty and attract pollinators, but it would help repel pests and attract other beneficial insects to our vegetable beds. When we are out harvesting our veggies for dinner, we can cut some flowers to make a nice bouquet for the table too.
Here is what we planted to help deter pests :
Lavender (perennial) – Love the fragrance almost as much as the bees!
Marigolds (annual) – they help repell squash bugs, thrips, tomato hornworms, and whiteflies. Some even exude a chemical that kills root nematodes in the soil. To do this though you have to leave the marigold roots in the soil at the end of the season. In addition to having them in the flower bed, we planted them at the base of our tomatoes.
Then we have our trap crops: Aphids be gone!
Nasturtiums (annual) – offer some protection from squash bugs and beetles. They also are favored by aphids. And it really works!! We love to put them on a salad as the flowers are edible as are the leaves. They look so pretty! We even make capers out of the seed pods. If we hadn’t read they were a trap crop, we would have been horrified how many aphids were on them, but since they aren’t on our vegetables we are pleased that this worked.
Calendula (annual) – or pot marigolds, are part of the daisy family and are not related to marigolds. This is considered another trap crop, but we have not seen evidence of it, like we have on the nasturtiums.
We have a collection of carnivorous plants around our pond helping with mosquitoes and flies. They are very effective as is our dragon fly!
We tried hatching some praying mantis too. We haven’t spotted them as we had hoped, so maybe they are still out there, as they are pretty stealth little creatures.
Nothing has been eaten too much by bugs in the yard thus far. We have found pincher bugs (earwigs) inside a few of our beaver dam peppers. They are generally good bugs as they eat aphids and other pests, so it’s hard to get too irritated with them.
So far so good on keeping the yard au Naturel!