Companion planting, an age-old practice, involves planting vegetables, herbs and flowers together in order to attract beneficial insects and/or repel pests that damage or destroy crops. Rather than using synthetic chemicals, a knowledgeable gardener can take advantage of flowers that produce insect-repelling compounds. Add the following flowers to your vegetable garden for an organic, environmentally friendly approach to pest management.
Flowering marigolds, the superstar of pest-repelling flowers, deter many insects and slugs. They tend to keep away cucumber beetles and cabbage moths. Marigolds discourage nematodes, soil-inhabiting microscopic worms that may damage may species of plants. Nematodes find the roots of French and African marigolds to be toxic. Take advantage of these beneficial properties of marigolds either by interspersing planted marigolds among the vegetable crop rows or by planting a thick crop of marigolds in an area the year prior to planting your vegetable garden there, according to Cornell University.
Plant nasturtiums for their many useful properties. They deter squash bugs, white flies and beetles and also serve as a trap crop for aphids. Nasturtiums grow well near any member of the cabbage family as well as squash, cucumbers and tomatoes.
Plant petunias near beans. They repel the beetles attracted to bean plants.
Perhaps you can’t bring yourself to plant dandelion, considering its weed status, but if you have any volunteers near your vegetable garden, keep in mind that they could prove helpful in repelling Colorado potato beetles.
Plant geraniums to repel the cabbage worm. Geranium oil prevents red spider mite. Geraniums also appear beneficial growing near corn.
Chamomile, an aromatic flowering plant, will also deter cabbage worms.
Sage deters carrot fly. This flowering herb grows well near cabbage, carrots, beans and peas, but don’t plant sage near cucumbers as those two are not so compatible.
Plant sunflowers near corn to reduce the chances of army worm invasion.
If you want to keep Japanese beetles away, then plant white geranium.
Basil is a great companion for tomato plants because it tends to keep away tomato hornworm, white fly, other flies, mosquitoes and aphids. Plant three basil plants for each tomato plant, advises Brigham Young University.
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