By Emma Cooper
In most places, summer means long days filled with sunshine – and plenty of bugs flying around. In the garden, that can mean pests munching their way through your plants, but most bugs are no more welcome indoors.
Planting a mixture of herbs and flowers in your garden can really make a difference to your pest problems. If you have a vegetable garden then planting large blocks of the same vegetable makes it easy for pests and diseases to track down their favourite dinner and then hop from one plant to the next. Mixing up the planting with herbs and flowers makes it harder for them to track down their food, and scented plants can even keep some pests (that hunt by smell) from tracking down the plants that are meant to feed you.
This is companion planting on a simple level – using herbs and flowering plants to attract beneficial insects into your vegetable garden, and to confuse some of the plants that might otherwise wreck your harvest. Some of the best companion plants are nasturtiums (which lure cabbage white butterflies away from your greens) and marigolds. Marigolds (both Tagetes and Calendula) can repel insects. French marigolds are great for planting among tomatoes to ward of white fly – or you could plant them around the greenhouse door. Dwarf types are perfect for this as they don’t grow tall enough to swamp your tomato plants.
The Shoo Fly plant is a member of the same plant family as tomatoes and peppers, but it’s a fast-growing, flowering annual that may deter pests from your garden. But many herbs do the same job, either when they’re growing or when the leaves are dried. Try adding chamomile, French tarragon and lemon balm to your herb garden – and the dried leaves to your potpourri. Having a herb garden outside the kitchen door is handy for the kitchen – but will keep pests at bay too.
For ants, try pennyroyal – but keep it under control because it’s a member of the mint family. If you’ve got cats and dogs then adding dried fennel to their bedding helps to keep them free of fleas. And nigella seeds make a great moth deterrent, and so can keep your linens safe.
Last, but not least, if your pests are of the four-legged variety then try the Scardy Cat plant. It’s a green-leaved, tender annual with a strong herb scent that cats and dogs hate – position plants at strategic spots in the garden to avoid damage from pesky pets.
Author Emma Cooper Resource: Emma Cooper is the author of Growing Vegetables is Fun. She also has a weekly gardening podcast, The Alternative Kitchen Garden, all about growing your own food in an environmentally friendly way. Check out her website for her gardening blog and more articles.
Article Source: Plants to repel pests
Article From: Organic Gardening Articles
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