Chemical free tips to rebalance the eco-systems in your garden.
#1: Install a combination of companion plants and herbs.
Companion planting is a time-tested gardening method that enriches and protects vulnerable crops.
Planting ‘companion’ plants among other plants can help them to grow by either attracting beneficial insects, repelling pests, or by acting as a sacrificial plant to lure insects away.
Herbs are an efficient, natural way to deter insects away from the plants they find the tastiest. Many garden pests are attracted by scent so planting strong-smelling plants and herbs may repel them.
With the right combination of flowering plants and herbs, you can cover most of the common pests that potentially blight your fruit and vegetable crops:
- Alliums deter carrot root fly from carrots.
- Marigolds deter whitefly from tomatoes but beware, the white butterfly is also partial to marigolds so make sure you plant them away from the cabbage patch.
- Lavender encourages pollinators and deters insect pests due to its strong scent – works best planted with carrots and leeks.
- Nasturtium and Calendula lure aphids away from runner and French beans.
- Calendula can also help with the pollination of courgette flowers when planted around and under the courgette plants.
- Borage is said to improve the flavour of strawberries and attract pollinators.
- Chives deter aphids, carrot fly, and spider mites.
- Mint deters ants, cabbage moths, aphids and flea beetles. Plant mint in pots to stop it from spreading quickly and taking over areas of your garden.
- Rosemary repels cabbage moth and carrot rust flies.
- Coriander deters aphids and spider mites. Plant liberally through your vegetable garden as it works best when there’s a lot of it.
- Basil protects a number of crops by simultaneously attracting pollinators and deterring destructive insects like bean beetles, Japanese beetles, tomato hornworms and cabbage worms, allowing other plants to thrive. You can also plant basil and marigolds nearby one another to double up as a potent aromatic shield.
- Garlic is great to grow alongside members of the Brassica family, like kale, kohlrabi, cabbage, and cauliflower. Garlic helps to repel cabbage loopers, cabbage maggots, cabbage worms, and Japanese beetles from vulnerable crops.
Read other articles in the Chemical-Free Gardening series here.