DIVERSIFY YOUR PLANTSIf you only have a few types of plants, you are more likely to attract the pests that love those plants. Having more types of plants not only ensures more food and habitats for insects (and most insects are not plant pests), it also creates a healthier environment for your plants in other ways beyond the scope of this article. There is no need to keep perennials and annuals separate in the garden either. In fact, planting them together creates less root competition for nutrients and water, since perennials almost always have much deeper roots than annuals.
Use Trap Plants
Once you know your pests, you can also use their favourite food against them. This works best if the pests are already there (otherwise you may attract them). Use a plant the pests particularly enjoy (e.g. flea beetles love bok choi more than anything), and plant a small clump of that food near the problem plants. Once the pests flock to their favourite food, you can vacuum them off with a shop vacuum, or spot spray them with an organic pesticide like Neem oil or diluted soap.
Plant some companions
Companion planting of vegetables with herbs and flowers is a great way to have a healthy garden!
Marigolds, nasturtiums, geraniums, dahlias, chrysanthemums or aromatic plants such as lavender, savory or garlic make great companion plants with your vegetable seeds and can also offer various benefits for your garden not only deterring the pests and thus having splendid vegetable, but getting your garden decorated with pretty flowers too.
There are some plants that pests just don’t like. Radishes will deter cucumber beetles, borage will deter tomato hornworms and cabbage moths, onions and garlic have a strong smell and can be planted throughout the garden. Some plants can be planted as a trap for pests. Sunflowers will keep aphids occupied and off other plants, hyacinth beans will do the same for leaf footed bugs. Some plants will attract beneficial bugs to your garden. Chamomile and buckwheat both attract bees and ladybugs. And guess what ladybugs like to eat….aphids. So mix up your beds, you don’t need to have nice neat row crops to have a successful garden.
Encouraging ladybugs in the garden helps to control aphids.
Experienced vegetable gardeners often use flowers shown above, and herbs such as sage, rosemary, basil, and horseradish to act as natural insect repellants in the garden. Borage and lemon balm can be used to help attract bees to the garden to help with plant pollination.
Learn which plants grow well together, and which plant combinations to avoid for best gardening results.
Follow traditional vegetable gardening methods by companion planting your garden.
Pick varieties that naturally discourage pests
If you have trouble with vine borers pick a variety of squash that has a thinner or harder stem; butternut squash, green striped cushaw, Dickenson pumpkin and summer crookneck are somewhat resistant to vine borers. To discourage earworms in corn choose tightly husked varieties such as ‘Country Gentlemen’ and ‘Victory Golden’. We’re not talking about GMO seeds, just varieties that naturally make it hard for pests to attack.